MOUNT VERNON — The Ohio Department of Agriculture and the Ohio Department of Health announced Wednesday to county health commissioners that the PetSmart pet product corporation is recalling seven types of dog biscuits under its Grreat Choice brand name. The biscuits contain peanut paste made by the Peanut Corp. of America, whose Blakely, Ga., plant is closed while investigations continue into salmonella contamination there.
PCA has already recalled the 35-pound containers of peanut paste that it sells to pet product manufacturers, as those have been found to contain salmonella as well.
An ODA news release states that “Although PetSmart is not aware of any reported cases of illness related to these products, it has removed these products from its store shelves and Web site and is conducting the recall as a precautionary measure.”
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Veterinary Medicine reports that “The FDA has not received any reports of illness associated with the pet food products.” In an update posted on its Website, the CVM recommends safety precautions to help prevent foodborne illnesses, “including salmonella-related illness, when handling pet foods and treats. These include hand washing with hot water and soap before and after handling pet foods and treats, and washing pet food bowls and utensils after each use.”
Jack Advent, executive director of the Ohio Veterinary Medicine Association in Columbus, said the organization has had no reports of dogs, cats or other animals that have contracted salmonella from ingesting products made with peanut butter or peanut paste.
“We have no specific reports,” said Advent. “Obviously there might be incidents in individual veterinarian offices, but it’s a little early to know if there are or have been any incidents in pets. But, at this point, we have no knowledge of any incidences involving pets. We’ll get our information from the American Veterinary Medicine Association, or individual veterinarians who would share that with us.”
Phala Chatwin, veterinarian at the Danville Veterinary Clinic, confirmed that animals can indeed contract salmonella.
“It depends on the amount of salmonella that is ingested, and the host [animal],” said Chatwin. “Sometimes the infections are sub-clinical and there are no signs at all, or so mild that you don’t notice any signs.”
Laurinda Morris, veterinarian at The Animal Care Center at Granville and who also maintains a practice at the Danville Veterinary Clinic, reports no incidents at that clinic.
“There have been none that we’re aware of yet, knock on wood,” said Kristen Lorenza, veterinarian assistant at the Granville clinic.
At Town & Country Veterinary Clinic, Kim Hale, veterinary assistant, said, “We haven’t had any reports yet, and we hope we don’t.”
Chatwin said very young or old animals, or those in poor health or with immune system problems, more easily contract salmonella than healthy animals.
She added that salmonella can be passed from animals to humans when proper cleaning techniques and precautions are not practiced.
The CVM states that “pets with Salmonella infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting. Some pets will have only decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. Well animals can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian.”
The products recalled by PetSmart include only the following types of Grreat Choice Dog Biscuits sold between Aug. 21, 2008, and Jan. 19:
•Small Assorted 32 oz., UPC 73725702900
•Small/Medium Assorted 4 lb., UPC 73725700601
•Small/Medium Assorted 8 lb., UPC 73725700605
•Small/Medium Assorted 10 lb., UPC 73725702755
•Large Assorted 8 lb., UPC 73725700638
•Extra Large Assorted 8 lb., UPC 73725700779
•Peanut Butter 4 lb., UPC 73725700766
PetSmart advises that customers who purchased the recalled products should discontinue use immediately; they may return the product to any PetSmart store for a complete refund or exchange.
For more information visit www.petsmartfacts.com or call PetSmart Customer Service at (888) 839-9638.
A searchable list of all products being recalled can be found at http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/peanutbutterrecall/index.cfm which includes a separate category of pet food product recalls http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/peanutbutterrecall/index.cfm#PetFood.