FDA finds Salmonella in Aunt Jeni’s raw pet food sample

FDA is cautioning pet owners not to feed a specific lot of Aunt Jeni’s frozen raw pet food after finding Salmonella in a retail sample.

The contaminated product is described as: Aunt Jeni’s Home Made All-Natural Raw Turkey Dinner Dog Food, 5 lb. (2.3 kg), lot 175331 NOV2020.

FDA obtained a retail sample of this product in January 2020 and has confirmed the presence of Salmonella Infantis in the sample.

Aunt Jeni has not recalled the contamination product.

Salmonella can cause illness and death in humans and animals, especially those who are very young, very old, or have weak immune systems. Common symptoms include diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps. Most people recover without treatment, but in some people, the diarrhea may be so severe that they need to be hospitalized.

Infected pets may show symptoms that include vomiting, diarrhea (which may be bloody), fever, loss of appetite and/or decreased activity level. Although pets do not always display symptoms of a Salmonella infection, they can shed the bacteria in their feces and saliva, contaminating the environment and potentially spreading the infection to other animals and to people.

This is the second time in less than a year that FDA has reported finding pathogens in products from this company. In August 2019, FDA reported the presence of Salmonella and/or Listeria monocytogenes in two samples obtained during an inspection of the company’s premises. The contaminated products were not recalled.

What Consumers Need to Know

  • The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act requires that all animal food, like human food, be safe to eat, produced under sanitary conditions, contain no harmful substances, and be truthfully labeled. Without an effective control for pathogens, such as cooking, animal food is more likely to contain pathogens such as Salmonella. Refrigeration or freezing does not kill the bacteria.
  • If you think you have symptoms of Salmonella infection, consult your health care provider.
  • 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) 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.

FDA finds pathogens in Aunt Jeni’s dog foods. Warns pet owners

FDA is warning consumers to avoid feeding certain lots of two Aunt Jeni’s raw, frozen dog foods to their pets, due to possible contamination with Salmonella and/or Listeria monocytogenes.

The warning comes after the agency detected the pathogens in samples of the dog food analyzed as part of a routine inspection of the company’s production facility.

The recalled products
  • Aunt Jeni’s Home Made, Turkey Dinner Dog Food (5 lb / 2.3kg; lot 175199 JUL2020)
  • Aunt Jeni’s Home Made, Chicken Dinner Dog Food (5 lb / 2.3kg; lot 1152013 JUL2020)

The Turkey Dinner sample tested positive for Salmonella Infantis. The Chicken Dinner sample tested positive for both Salmonella Infantis and Listeria monocytogenes.

The Maryland Department of Agriculture issued a stop sale for these products on August 20, 2019, preventing their further distribution.

Aunt Jeni’s Home Made products are sold frozen, and are available on-line and through retail locations. The company is based in Temple Mount, Maryland.

The health implications

Salmonella can cause gastrointestinal illness in both people and their pets. In many cases, dogs may become infected and may shed Salmonella in their feces without showing any outward symptoms.

Common symptoms of Salmonella in people include diarrhea, low-grade fever, and abdominal cramps lasting several days. Dogs may experience vomiting, diarrhea (sometimes bloody), loss of appetite, and/or decreased activity.

Although many Salmonella infections are relatively mild and self-limiting, children and the elderly are especially susceptible to the effects of dehydration resulting from diarrhea.

Listeria monocytogenes does not often cause illness in dogs, but occasionally can do so. Typical symptoms may include mild to severe diarrhea; anorexia; fever; nervous, muscular and respiratory signs; abortion; depression; shock; and death.

Dogs that are infected but asymptomatic are still able to pass their infection along to human handlers.

Children, the elderly, pregnant woman, and individuals with weakened immune systems are especially susceptible to severe symptoms as a result of a Listeria monocytogenes infection.

What consumers should do
  • If you have any of the affected product, stop feeding it to your pets and throw it away in a secure container where other animals, including wildlife, cannot access it. If you  have had this product in your home, you should clean refrigerators/freezers where the product was stored and clean and disinfect all bowls, utensils, food prep surfaces, pet bedding, toys, floors, and any other surfaces that the food or pet may have had contact with.
  • If you think you have symptoms of Salmonella or L. monocytogenes infection, consult your health care provider.
  • 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) 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.