Pig ear pet treats blamed for human Salmonella outbreak

Pig ear pet treats have been linked to an outbreak of multidrug-resistant Salmonella infections in 13 states, according to an investigation report released today by CDC.

Forty-five individuals in California (1), Illinois (3), Indiana (3), Iowa (12), Kansas (3), Massachusetts (2), Michigan (7), Missouri (3), New York (6), North Dakota (1), Pennsylvania (2), South Carolina (1) and Wisconsin (1) have been infected with the outbreak strain, identified as Salmonella I 4,[5],12:i:-.

Twelve outbreak victims were hospitalized.

According to CDC, epidemiological evidence points to pig ear pet treats as a likely source of the illnesses.

Of the outbreak victims interviewed, 89% reported contact with a dog before getting sick and 71% reported contact with pig ear dog treats or with dogs who were fed pig ear dog treats.

In comparison, only 61% of healthy individuals reported contact with a dog, and only 16% reported having handled dog treats such as pig ears in the week before the interview.

Pig ear pet treats obtained from bulk bins at two Michigan retailers have tested positive for a number of different Salmonella strains, according to a report from the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD).

According to FDA, MDARD found four different strains – Salmonella London, Salmonella Typhimurium, Salmonella Newport, and Salmonella Infantis – in the pig ear samples.

FDA is working with CDC and state health partners to determine whether any human or animal cases of Salmonella illness may be linked to the strains found in the treats tested by MDARD.

Other brands of individually wrapped or bagged pig ears sold at multiple retail locations in the state tested negative for Salmonella.

Pet Supplies Plus (Livonia, MI) issued a voluntary recall after learning that MDARD found Salmonella in “…aging bulk pig ear product…” in one of the company’s stores.

The contaminated bulk pig ears were stocked in open bins in Pet Supplies Plus stores in AL, AR, CA, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, MA, MD, MI, MN, MO, NC, NE, NH, NJ, NY, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, TN, TX, VA, WI and WV. Prepackaged pig ears are unaffected by the recall.

The company has removed bulk pig ear treats from all of its stores and has stopped shipping these treats from its distribution center.

FDA is working to identify the source of the pig ear treats, how they became contaminated, and where they were distributed.

What consumers need to know

Salmonella can cause illness in both humans and animals. People infected with Salmonella can develop diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps. Most individuals recover without treatment. However, in some cases, the diarrhea may be so severe that hospitalization is needed.

In severe cases, without antibiotic treatment the infection may spread from the intestines into the blood stream and from there to other parts of the body.

Pets do not always display symptoms when infected with Salmonella, but signs can include vomiting, diarrhea (which may be bloody), fever, loss of appetite and/or decreased activity level. Infected pets can shed the bacteria in their feces and saliva without showing signs of being sick.

If you or a household member is suffering from symptoms of Salmonella, consult a healthcare provider.

If you believe your pet may be infected with Salmonella, consult your veterinarian.

How to alert FDA to a problem

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.

FDA encourages consumers to report complaints about pet food products electronically through the Safety Reporting Portal. This information helps FDA further protect human and animal health.

Possible Canadian Norovirus outbreak linked to imported raspberries

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is conducting a food safety investigation into the possible Norovirus contamination of products containing Individual Quick Frozen (IQF) raspberries.

At least one product recall has been triggered by findings emanating from a foodborne disease outbreak investigation.

In response to an inquiry from eFoodAlert, a CFIA spokesperson stated that the recall in question was associated with raspberries from Québec.

The Ministre d’Agriculture, Pêcheries et Alimentation de Québec (MAPAQ) has posted recall notices indicating the origin of the raspberries to be Chile.

As of June 5, 2019, the following recalls are in effect:

The current situation is reminiscent of a 2017 Norovirus outbreak that also was traced to imported IQF raspberries.

Between March 2017 and July 2017, the consumption of frozen raspberries imported from China was blamed for 615 confirmed cases of Norovirus in Québec. Many of the cases occured in seniors’ residences and child daycare centers.

Symptoms of Norovirus infection include nausea, vomiting and copious watery diarrhea, typically lasting from 24 to 60 hours in healthy adults.

Young children and the elderly are susceptible to severe dehydration. Approximately 1% of Norovirus victims may require hospitalization as a result of their illness.

Consumers who have purchased any of the recalled products should either discard them or return them to the place of purchase.

Compliments brand chicken strips linked to Salmonella illnesses in Canada

Sofina Foods Inc. (Sofina) has recalled Compliments brand raw, breaded chicken strips after the product was implicated in a Salmonella outbreak, according to a recall notice posted on the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) website.

The public is advised to avoid consuming the following product, and to discard the product or return it to the place of purchase.

Compliments brand Chicken Strips – Breaded Chicken Cutlettes – Uncooked (907g; Product code (Outer package) 2019 NO 24 / (Inner package) 3288M; UPC 0 57742 33687 0)

The chicken strips were sold nationally until May 1, 2019 but some consumers may still have the product in their freezer.

This is one of 17 Salmonella outbreaks traced to raw, breaded chicken products in Canada since May 2017. The most recent outbreak was declared over by the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) on May 13th.

Symptoms of Salmonella illness may include stomach cramps, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and low-grade fever. Typically, symptoms appear from six to 72 hours following infection, and can last up to a week.

The very young, the elderly, pregnant women and individuals with weakened immune systems may experience more severe symptoms, including dehydration or potentially life-threatening systemic infection.

Individuals who consumed a raw, breaded chicken product and experienced symptoms of Salmonella infection should consult a healthcare provider.

Frozen, breaded chicken strips or nuggets are raw products and should be handled with care. PHAC recommends the following precautions when preparing these products:

  • Do not eat raw or undercooked frozen breaded chicken products. Cook all frozen raw breaded chicken products to an internal temperature of at least 74°C (165°F) to ensure that they are safe to eat. Use a digital food thermometer to verify the temperature. Insert the digital food thermometer through the side of the product, all the way to the middle. Oven-safe meat thermometers that are designed for testing whole chicken and roasts during cooking are not suitable for testing nuggets, strips or burgers.
  • Microwave cooking of frozen raw breaded chicken products – including chicken nuggets, strips, burgers, popcorn chicken or chicken fries – is not recommended because of the possibility of uneven heating.
  • Always follow the cooking instructions on the package, including for products labelled Uncooked, Cook and Serve, Ready to Cook, and Oven Ready.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water before and after handling frozen raw breaded chicken products.
  • Use a separate plate, cutting board and utensils when handling frozen raw breaded chicken products to prevent the spread of harmful bacteria.
  • Do not re-use plates, cutting boards or utensils that have come in contact with frozen raw breaded chicken products to serve the cooked product unless they have been thoroughly washed.