Bravo Packing enjoined from producing raw pet food

Company and the US Food and Drug Administration enter into consent decree

A federal judge has entered a consent decree of permanent injuction against Bravo Packing, Inc., a manufacturer and distributor of raw pet food based in Carney’s Point, New Jersey.

(Bravo Packing is not related in any way to Bravo LLC / Bravo Pet Foods, located in Manchester, Connecticut)

The consent decree requires that Bravo “stop selling, manufacturing and distributing raw pet food and come into compliance with the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act).”

The backstory

On September 12, 2018, Bravo Packing announced a voluntary recall of Performance Dog frozen, raw pet food (manufacturing date code 071418) after the FDA found Salmonella in a sample of the product during an inspection of the manufacturing facility.

In addition to the Salmonella-positive sample, FDA Investigator Michael Rosner also documented several issues of concern, including:

  • Some condensate drip and ice buildup was observed on several boxes of finished dog food product in one of the firm’s freezers. 
  • The air curtains entering the dog food processing room were observed to be soiled and in disrepair. 
  • The firm was using a santiizer product at an incorrect dilution level, which reduced the sanitizer’s effectiveness.
  • Some of the claims on the firm’s website were potentially misleading.

By the time the FDA returned to Bravo’s manufacturing facility in July 2019, the situation had deteriorated. This time, the FDA labs found Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes in samples collected during an investigation that lasted from July 22nd to August 6th.

According to the Inspection Observations report (FDA Form 483), issued by Investigators Teigan Mule and Kyle Coville,

  • after cleaning had been completed, the elbow portion of the feeder pipe from the mixer still had a buildup of dried, dark, crusty meat-like material
  • a film residue remaining on the sides of a mixer exit chute after cleaning
  • greasy buildup of animal fat remaining at the output of a grinder after cleaning
  • black residue on the inside surface of buckets used to hold cut meat
  • condensate drip and ice buildup on boxes of finished raw dog food products in a freezer
  • cardboard boxes used to pack finished product observed to have bird droppings on the tops and sides
  • apparent mammalian (rodent?) droppings adjacent to stored, palletized boxes
  • inadequate training of employees on how to clean and degrease processing equipment after processing.

Although Bravo agreed to recall the contaminated Performance Dog Food product, the company never provided the FDA with the usual draft customer notification letter, distribution list, or draft press release.

In the absence of documentation from the company, the FDA issued its own Consumer Advisory on September 26, 2019, cautioning pet owners “not to feed their pets any Performance Dog frozen raw pet food.”

The FDA followed up its actions with a formal Warning Letter, issued on March 16, 2020. The letter reiterated and expanded upon the observations contained in the inspection report and requested a written response from the company within fifteen working days of receipt.

Downward slide accelerates

On March 3, 2021, Bravo issued yet another recall notice after Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes were found once again in the company’s products.

The recall was expanded on March 16th to include all pet food and bones in all package sizes.

When the FDA returned to inspect Bravo’s production plant in May 2021, Investigators Kyle Covill and Sean Duke found a situation that had deteriorated further.

  • a shovel used to push meat into the grinder was covered with residual dried, black meat-like material from the handle down to the shaft and all the way to the end of the blade
  • a meat hook covered with cobwebs and other extraneous material was used to move deboned meat from raw ingredient barrels into the grinder during production
  • the grinder contained heavy rust on the inside walls, basins and screw augur
  • a piece of meat from a prior production run was left in the exit portion of the mixer, which also contained a pooled black liquid and white fat-like deposits, and the mixer was subsequently used during production without any further cleaning
  • one of the owners was seen spitting chewing tobacco on the floor of the deboning room
  • two cats were observed urinating on the outside of a raw ingredient barrel that was subsequently used (without undergoing cleaning and sanitizing) to produce Performance Dog ready-to-eat raw dog food
  • the floors in multiple rooms of the production plant, including the processing room, had large cracks, holes and depressions, which contained pooled blood and water
  • uncovered barrels of deboned meat were stored directly beneath a metal beam and brackets covered with flaking rust.

The bottom line

The consent decree prohibits the defendants (including the company’s owner and secretary, Joseph Merola, and its president, Amanda Lloyd) from receiving, preparing, processing, packing, holding, labeling, and/or distributing pet food unless and until the company undertakes and completes a comprehensive list of corrective actions.

The decree also allows the FDA to order a shutdown, recall, or other corrective action in the event of future violations and requires the defendants to pay the costs of inspections performed pursuant to the decree. Failure to abide by the agreement can also lead to civil or criminal penalties.

In commenting on the consent decree, Steven Solomon, DVM, MPH, director of FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine, said,

The food we give our pets should be safe for them to eat and safe for people to handle. The FDA has taken this action to protect public health because, despite multiple inspections, notifications of violations, and recalls, this firm continued to operate under insanitary conditions and produce pet food contaminated with harmful bacteria. We will not tolerate firms that put people or animals at risk and will take enforcement actions when needed.”

Recalls and Alerts: March 15-16, 2022

TAINTED formats 3

Here is today’s list of food safety recalls, product withdrawals, allergy alerts and miscellaneous compliance issues. The live links will take you directly to the official recall notices and company news releases that contain detailed information for each recall and alert.

If you would like to receive automatic email alerts for all new articles posted on eFoodAlert, please submit your request using the sidebar link.

Interested in learning more about food safety and the history of foodborne disease outbreaks and investigations? Click on the TAINTED menu at the top of the page to read a short excerpt, then follow the buy links to add a digital, print or audio copy to your personal library.

United States

NEW OUTBREAK INVESTIGATION: FDA has opened an investigation into an outbreak of 59 cases of Salmonella Saint Paul illnesses. The source of the outbreak has not yet been identified, and there is no information yet available as to the geographic or demographic distribution of the victims.

OUTBREAK INVESTIGATION UPDATE: FDA reports that the number of confirmed cases of Listeria monocytogenes in an outbreak under investigation has increased to 16. The source of the outbreak still has not been determined.

Canada

Food Safety Recall: Longsheng (Canada) Agricultural Products Ltd. recalls Golden Medal brand Enoki Mushroom (200g; Batch code 300511; UPC 6 953150 100684) due to possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination.

Europe

Allergy Alert (Austria): Wojnar recalls Green Heart Bio Frischecreme Natur / Organic, unflavoured fresh cream (Lots 39,46 & 54; Best before 06.04.22, 13.04.22 & 21.04.22, respectively) due to undeclared soy.

Allergy Alert (France): CASINO recalls Casino Choucroute garnie / sauerkraut (800g; Lot F 2F 040 E; Best before 31/03/2025) due to undeclared pistachios.

Allergy Alert (France): HENRI RAFFIN recalls HENRI RAFFIN Excellence des Saveurs brand Spécialité de viandes sechees 100% Jambon / Specialty dried meats, 100% ham (Lot 20115036; Best before 11/04/2022) due to undeclared nuts.

Allergy Alert (UK – Northern Ireland only): Lidl Northern Ireland recalls Culinea Paella (750g; Batch code L1354-2; Best before 20 June 2023) due to undeclared crustacean, fish, milk and molluscs.

Food Safety Recall (Belgium): Hax Trading recalls African Special Pépins de melon / Melon seeds (400g; Lot 1921; Best before 01/12/2023) due to aflatoxin contamination.

Food Safety Recall (France): CASINO recalls Casino Filet de bacon fumé au bois de hêtre / Beechwood-smoked bacon filet (150g / 12 slices; Lot 025130 17; Use by 10/04/2022) due to Listeria monocytogenes contamination.

Food Safety Recall (France): LAGARDE SA INTERMARCHE recalls intermarché pamiers brand TETE PERSILLE AUX CORNICHONS / Parsley head with pickles (Use by 08/03/2022) due to Salmonella contamination.

Food Safety Recall (France): Maison Milhau recalls Maison Milhau Pâté de tête aux cornichons pur porc / Pork head pâté with pickles (200g; Lot 068201; Use by 14/04/2022) due to Listeria monocytogenes contamination.

Food Safety Recall (Germany): Eurogroup Deutschland GmbH recalls Simply Sunny Erdnüsse in der Schale, geröstet / Roasted peanuts in the shell (400g; Lot L2122723; Best before 02.08.2022) due to aflatoxin contamination.

Food Safety Recall (Ireland): Dunnes Stores recalls Baxter & Greene Smoked Salmon Pate (185g; Use by 17.03.2022) due to possible foreign matter (plastic pieces) contamination.

Food Safety Recall (Norway): Nortura SA recalls multiple cold cut products due to inadequate heat treatment. Please refer to the recall notice for a complete list of affected products.

Food Safety Recall (UK – Northern Ireland only): Lidl Northern Ireland recalls Culinea Paella (750g; Batch code L1354-2; Best before 20 June 2023) because the product contains cooking instructions which are not written in English. This means the product may be unsafe to eat if not cooked correctly and may cause illness if consumed.

Food Safety Recall (UK – England only): Lidl GB recalls Alesto Californian Pistachios Roasted & Salted (200g; Batch code LP200N22004; Best before 04 October 2022) due to Salmonella contamination.

Pet Food Safety Recall (UK): Republic of Munchery Limited recalls several Wilsons brand pet food products (multiple package sizes and Best before dates) due to Salmonella contamination. Please refer to the recall notice for a complete list of affected products.

Recalls and Alerts: March 8-9, 2022

TAINTED
Click on the image to start reading now.

Here is today’s list of food safety recalls, product withdrawals, allergy alerts and miscellaneous compliance issues. The live links will take you directly to the official recall notices and company news releases that contain detailed information for each recall and alert.

If you would like to receive automatic email alerts for all new articles posted on eFoodAlert, please submit your request using the sidebar link.

Interested in learning more about food safety and the history of foodborne disease outbreaks and investigations? Click on the TAINTED menu at the top of the page to read a short excerpt, then follow the buy links to add a digital or print copy to your personal library.

United States

OUTBREAK INVESTIGATION UPDATE: FDA has determined that there is not enough information to definitively link the single case of Salmonella Newport infection to Abbott Nutrition powdered infant formula. As of now, this investigation is focussing on the investigation of Cronobacter sakazakii infections. The FDA and CDC are continuing to monitor for Salmonella cases and consumer complaints related to this incident. 

Allergy Alert: Damascus Bakery OPCO LLC recalls Bantam Classic Bagels (Lot #12031; Best by May 27, 2023) due to undeclared egg.

Allergy Alert: Stutzman Farms recalls all products containing einkorn due to undeclared wheat. Please refer to the recall notice for a complete list of affected products.

Europe

Allergy Alert (Germany): TOFUTOWN.COM GmbH recalls Viana Bio Veggie Hack / Veggie mince (250g; Lot #347211; Best before 24.04.2022) due to undeclared celery.

Allergy Alert (Ireland): FSAI advises that Donnybrook Fair Sweet Raspberry Balsamic Glaze and Donnybrook Fair Purple Fig Balsamic Glaze (200 ml; All batches and best before dates) contain undeclared sulphites.

Food Safety Recall (France): PIERRYDIS LECLERC recalls Nos Régions ont du Talent brand Véritable Rosette de Lyon dried sausage (Lot #522040008; Use by 11/04/2022) due to Listeria monocytogenes contamination.

Food Safety Recall (France): Boulangerie YONG recalls Boulangerie Yong brand Pizza Jambon Porc Rond PAC surgelé / Ham and round pork frozen pizza (2 x 140g; Best before 15/08/2023 & 16/08/2023) due to foreign matter (metal fragments) contamination.

Food Safety Recall (France): LICQUES VOLAILLES SECRETS VOLAILLES recalls SECRETS VOLAILLES brand NUGGETS DE POULET DES HAUTS DE FRANCE / Chicken nuggets (Lots 92205207 & 92204805; Use by 14/03/2022 and 10/03/2022, respectively) due to foreign matter (pieces of a broken pen) contamination.

Food Safety Recall (France): NOJEGRAND SA INTERMARCHE recalls ONNO brand Jambon le TORCHONAY / cooked ham (Lot #9920450190; Use by 02/04/2022) due to Salmonella contamination.

Food Safety Recall (France): SAJ INVEST Dietethik recalls Oat King brand Barre d’avoine Milk & Honey / oat bar (Lot 777; Use by 20/09/2022) due to possible Salmonella contamination.

Food Safety Recall (France): Société Bellegardienne d’Abattage recalls Diot Agneaux / Uncooked lamb sausages (4-pack; Lot #12035; Use by 12/03/2022) due to Salmonella contamination.

Food Safety Recall (France): CSF CARREFOUR-MARKET recalls Darne de thon vendue au stand traditionnel / Tuna steaks (Sold between 21/02/22 and 22/02/22) due to histamine contamination.

Food Safety Recall (France): LES ATELIERS recalls La Belle Prairie brand Steak haché spécial hamburger 20% / Ground beef hamburger, 20% (2 x 180g; Lot #22061-9517; Use by 10/03/2022) due to Salmonella contamination.

Food Safety Recall (Germany): Prinsen Berning recalls Max Balance Sport Protein Bar 50 % Protein Schoko-Brownie-Geschmack / Chocolate brownie flavour (45g; Best before 07/2022) due to possible foreign matter (pieces of glass) contamination.

Food Safety Recall (Luxembourg): Food Safety Authority orders recall of Nuts & Berries brand Cashew Apricot bar (30g; Lot L21301) due to elevated aflatoxin level.

Pet Food Safety Recall: Sneyd’s Wonderfeeds Ltd recalls several pet feed products due to Salmonella contamination. Please refer to the recall notice for a complete list of affected products.