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January 01, 2020

Pig ear treat–linked Salmonella sickened 150 plus

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A Salmonella outbreak linked to pig ear treats appears to be over, federal health authorities said.

A Food and Drug Administration notice issued Oct. 30, 2019, indicates the treats likely sickened at least 154 people and sent 35 of them to hospitals. Three companies issued recalls of treats imported from Argentina, Brazil, and Columbia.

Investigators found seven Salmonella serotypes, some of them resistant to multiple antimicrobials.

“If you choose to feed pig ear pet treats, you should exercise caution and practice good hygiene to prevent human exposure by: monitoring your pet while they have the treat, picking up the treat when they are done with it, keeping treats away from small children, cleaning the areas the treat contacted, washing hands, and not allowing your pet to lick you, your family members, or surfaces in your home,” the FDA notice states.

Officials with the FDA, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and state governments investigated the outbreak.

Pet Supplies Plus, Lennox Intl, and Dog Goods USA issued recalls for pig ear products in July and August because of the outbreak. FDA officials said Brutus & Barnaby and TDBBS also issued recalls of their pig ear products in August and September after positive test results for Salmonella, although those products were unconnected with the outbreak. Hollywood Feed also issued a recall of pig ear products sourced from Dog Goods USA after positive tests for Salmonella.

“FDA reminds pig ear pet treat retailers, manufacturers, and distributors of their responsibility to ensure that they are sourcing, producing, distributing, and selling a safe product,” the FDA update states.

FDA officials maintain a list of imported pig ear treats and other pet treats that should be seized at ports because of a history of Salmonella contamination, and they added pig ear products from five suppliers to the list between Aug. 22 and Nov. 1, 2019. Those companies are located in Argentina, Brazil, Columbia, and Germany.

The affected companies need to provide laboratory-backed analyses that their products are free of Salmonella to secure their release.

The list started with an alert issued in 1999 connected with pig ear dog treats made in Canada. As of early November, that list included products from 90 firms in 23 countries.