Food Recall Resource

Dangerous Pet Product Recall: Pig Ears are Making People Sick

A growing list of pet food manufacturers are joining in a large product recall of pig-ear dog treats.  The popular dog treats being recalled are linked to a massive salmonella outbreak that has at least 125 people ill.  The outbreak is impacting 35 states, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are warning consumers not to buy pig ears.

Product Recall Continues to Expand

The CDC is continuing to track salmonella cases across the U.S.  The product recall came after the CDC noticed a unifying factor between victims.  Everyone who reported illness reported exposure to pig ear dog treats.  The CDC and the FDA have issued a joint statement urging retailers not to sell pig-ear treats either.

Salmonella from the pig ears has sent 33 people to the hospital so far, 26 of whom have been children under the age of five.  This is likely because children that age see dog treats and toys as something interesting.  Children touch the pig ears and then touch their mouths, which spreads bacteria.

As best practice, CDC recommendations for safe pet care include:

  • Everyone, but especially children under five, should wash their hands after playing with or feeding their pet.
  • Discourage pets from licking human faces after eating or after licking open wounds.
  • Store pet food away from human food to avoid contamination.

The joint warning from the CDC and FDA came within days of the latest product recall of pig ear dog treats.  It was the fifth such recall prompted by FDA and CDC investigation.  Now, the federal agencies are hoping their blanket warning against all pig ear products will stop the outbreak.

Product Recall Information for Consumers

The CDC investigation was extensive, but necessary.  With so many people sick in such a widespread area, it was imperative to track down the source.  Here’s what federal agencies are doing to keep consumers safe:

  • The FDA says certain pig-ear treats associated with the illness came from Argentina and Brazil. Samples available for purchase tested positive for salmonella.  Three companies issued a product recall as a result of the initial investigation.
  • The FDA is working with individual firms to remove all potentially contaminated treats from the market.
  • Both the CDC and the FDA are testing samples. So far, three separate strains of salmonella have been identified: Infantis, London, and Newport.

A Breakdown of Each Product in the Recall

  • In July, Pet Supplies Plus notified the public about a recall of all bulk pig ear products. Several different vendors including Lennox Intl, Inc.  supplied treats to retail locations.
  • Also in July, Lennox Intl, Inc. issued a public notice about a product recall applying to pig ears.
  • In August, Dod Goods USA LLC recalled non-irradiated bulk and packaged Chef Toby Pig Ears.
  • In August, the FDA announced the names of three companies that presented salmonella-contaminated pig ears for import to the U.S.
    • Custom Pet S.A.S from Colombia
    • Suarko SRL from Argentina
    • Anabe Industria e Comercio de Proteinas from Brazil
  • Also in August, Brutus & Barnaby issued a recall of all variation of the Pig Ear Natural Treats for Dogs.

Advice for Dog Owners

If you are a dog owner, you have likely purchased pig ears at some point.  These treats are incredibly popular.  In order to keep your family and pets safe, the FDA and CDC offer the following advice for dog owners:

  • Do not purchase any pig ear treats or feed any you have at home to your dog. Discard them in a secure container to prevent pets, neighborhood pets, or wildlife from consuming them.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly after touching or discarding pig ears, and disinfect any surfaces where the products were stored.
  • Do not allow children under five to touch dog food or treats at all.
  • Even if some of the pig ears you have fed to your dog did not make your dog sick, and no one in your home became sick, discontinue use. The risk of salmonella may continue in the days after exposure.
  • Practice good hygiene with dog treats by:
    • Monitoring your pet while they have the treat
    • Picking up and discarding the treat when your pet is finished with it
    • Keep treats out of reach of small children
    • Disinfect surfaces the treat touched
    • Keep pets from licking you, any surfaces in the home, or any family members after eating.
  • When shopping for pet supplies, always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and hot water after touching dog food or treats.

What Consumers Should Know about Salmonella

Salmonella is a robust bacteria that can make animals and humans sick.  In humans, salmonella infection can be painful and cause days or weeks of discomfort.  Most people experience symptoms including:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach cramps
  • Fever

Most people recover without medical intervention, but salmonella can be very dangerous for children under five, the elderly, and women who are pregnant.  It is important that consumers know the signs of salmonella, and when it is necessary to seek medical care.

If you regularly purchase pig ears, the CDC and FDA ask that you report any illness related to these dog treats.  You can report illness to your local Health Department, or use the FDA’s Safety Reporting Portal.  You may also find it helpful to contact Bad Food Recall if you or a loved one has become ill due to salmonella.

If you have questions or concerns about this pig ear product recall and your legal rights as a consumer, contact us to schedule a free consultation.  Call 1-877-534-5750, or contact us online via our email form.



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