August 5, 2019

The following warning was posted on the FDA’s site on July 31, and additional information was provided to Pet Age by Anne Norris of the FDA.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is coordinating with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state agencies to investigate 127 human cases of salmonellosis related to several types of salmonella with a suspected link to pig ear pet treats, some of which originated from Argentina and Brazil.

The FDA and CDC are advising consumers to avoid all pig ear pet treats and retailers to stop selling all pig ear treats at this time. Lennox Intl Inc., a distributor of pig ear pet treats, has recalled some of the treats involved in this outbreak. Recently, Pet Supplies Plus also initiated a recall of bulk pig ears after samples tested by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development tested positive for salmonella.

“The FDA takes seriously our responsibility to protect both human and animal health,” said Steven M. Solomon, D.V.M., M.P.H., director of the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine. “Multiple products have tested positive for numerous types of salmonella resulting in two company recalls to date. Given this and the links to human illness, we believe the most effective way to protect public health at this time is to warn consumers to avoid purchasing or feeding their pets all pig ear treats and for retailers not to sell these products. We also continue to advise those who may have come into contact with potentially contaminated products to practice safe hygiene, including thoroughly washing hands and disinfecting any surfaces that have touched pig ear pet treats. The FDA will provide additional updates as our investigation further progresses.”

Pet Age spoke with Anne Norris, health communications specialist for the FDA. Pet Age asked for clarification on why just pig ear treats and not pig snout treats are targeted. Norris was unable to provide a clear answer and instead supplied a link to the CDC posting regarding the pig ear treat warning.

Pet Age also inquired about what all manufacturers should do who do not use ingredients for pig ear treats from the originated areas and instead supply it from local farms. Norris provided the following response:

“Given the severity and expanding scope of this salmonella outbreak, plus the finding of multiple strains of Salmonella in an individually wrapped pig ear pet treat that was labeled as irradiated, FDA believes that the best way to protect public health is for retailers to remove product from the market at this time. As the investigation unfolds, the FDA will release additional information.”

Norris also stated that due to this being an ongoing and evolving investigation, there is presently a lack of specification. However, manufacturers, retailers and consumers are encouraged to reach out to the FDA with any questions.

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