FDA Public Health Alert: Salmonella illness in kittens linked to raw pet food

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is cautioning pet owners not to feed their cats two lots of Darwin’s Natural Pet Products raw cat food after Salmonella was recovered from the products.

The products are identified as:

  • Darwin’s Natural Pet Products Natural Selections Antibiotic & Grain Free Chicken Recipe for Cats, Lot 9116, manufactured on May 2, 2022.
  • Darwin’s Natural Pet Products Natural Selections Antibiotic & Grain Free Turkey Recipe for Cats, Lot 9121, manufactured on May 4, 2022.

The items were manufactured by Arrow Reliance Inc of Tukwila, WA (dba Darwin’s Natural Pet Products).

The raw cat food is associated with reports of diarrhea in three kittens in a single household.

All three sick kittens consumed the suspect products, and Salmonella was recovered from the stool of one of the sick kittens. A fourth kitten in the same household did not consume the food and did not become ill.

The FDA sampled and analyzed unopened packages of the two lots of raw cat food. Salmonella Typhimurium was found in the turkey product, while the chicken product contained both Salmonella Typhimurium and Salmonella Kentucky.

The FDA recommended that Arrow Reliance Inc. voluntarily recall these products and notify the public, but the company has not done so. 

Instead, on July 29, 2022, Arrow Reliance filed a request for a temporary restraining order to prevent the FDA from issuing a Public Health Alert for these products.

Why Salmonella in pet food matters

There have been multiple documented instances wherein contaminated pet food has caused illnesses in humans and their pets.

  • In 2007, dry dog food contaminated with Salmonella Schwarzengrund caused an outbreak of 62 cases of human salmonellosis.
  • In 2007, an outbreak of Salmonella Montevideo and Salmonella Give in military kennel dogs was traced to contaminated commercial dry dog food.
  • In 2012, dry dog food manufactured by Diamond Pet Products was responsible for a 49-case outbreak of Salmonella Infantis in the US and Canada.
  • In 2018, Blue Ridge Beef recalled one lot of its Kitten Grind raw pet food after the product was linked to the deaths of two kittens. One of the dead kittens was confirmed post-mortem to have suffered from Salmonella septicemia.
  • In 2018, two children in a single household developed infections with Salmonella Reading. The same strain was recovered from four samples of Raws for Paws Ground Turkey Food for Pets that was used to feed the family dog.
  • In 2018, the FDA issued a Public Health Alert notifying consumers that the agency was investigating six complaints of illness and/or death in animals that have eaten previously recalled Darwin’s Natural Selections and/or Darwin’s ZooLogics products.

What consumers should do

If you have either of the two Darwin’s Natural Pet Products Natural Selections Cat Foods listed above, stop feeding it to your pets and throw it away in a secure container where other animals, including wildlife, cannot access it. 

Consumers who have had this product in their homes should clean refrigerators/freezers where the product was stored and clean and disinfect all bowls, utensils, food prep surfaces, pet bedding, litter boxes, toys, floors, and any other surfaces that the food or pet may have had contact with. Clean up the pet’s feces in places where people or other animals may become exposed. Consumers should thoroughly wash their hands after handling the product or cleaning up potentially contaminated items and surfaces.

People who think their pets have become ill after consuming contaminated pet food should first contact their veterinarians. Veterinarians who wish to have pets tested for Salmonella may do so through the Veterinary Laboratory Investigation and Response Network (Vet-LIRN Network) if the pet is from a household with a person infected with Salmonella

The FDA encourages consumers to report complaints about pet food products electronically through the Safety Reporting Portal or by calling their state’s FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinators.

Learn more about a variety of food safety issues in TAINTED. From Farm Gate to Dinner Plate, Fifty Years of Food Safety Failures, now available in digital, print and audiobook editions.

TAINTED formats 3
“Reads like a true crime novel” – Food Safety News

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