3.10.2011

Another recall & a little editorializing ...

Good morning.  Hate to start out the day with news of yet another recall, but wanted to put this out there for anyone who might have these chews lying about.

The FDA reports that Jones Natural Chews Co is recalling over 2,000 boxes of pig ears due to possible salmonella contamination.  Direct from the FDA website:

They were shipped to distributors and retailers between September 15, 2010 and November 2, 2010 where they were available for purchase.
Jones Natural Chews Co Pig Ears 2pk bag with header card–item upc 741956001047 lot 2420
Jones Natural Chews Co Pig Ears bulk 100ct box-box upc 741956001139 lot 2490, 2560, 2630, 2700, 2840, 2910, 2980
Jones Natural Chews Co Pig Ears bulk 50 ct box-box upc 741956001504 lot 2490, 2840
Jones Natural Chews Co Pig Ears bulk 25ct box-box upc 741956001467 lot 2700
Jones Natural Chews Co Pig Ears 1pk shrinkwrapped-item upc 741956001146 lot 2700, 2840, 2420
Jones Natural Chews Co Pig Ears 10pk printed bag-item upc 741956001405 lot 2420, 2560, 2630, 2840
Blain’s Farm & Fleet Pig Ears 10 pieces bag-item upc 741956001405 lot 2560
Country Butcher Dog Chews Pig Ears 1pk shrinkwrapped-item upc 741956001511 lot 2630
Country Butcher Dog Chews Pig Ears 1pk shrinkwrapped-item upc 741956001146 lot 2420
Country Butcher Dog Chews Pig Ears 12pk bag-item upc 741956001245 lot 2910
No illnesses have been reported to date.
The recall was the result of a routine sampling program by Washington State Department of Agriculture which revealed that the finished products contained the bacteria. The company has no product left in inventory from this batch of pig ears.
Consumers who have purchased any of these pig ears are urged to return it to the place of purchase for a full refund. Consumers with questions may contact the company at 1-877-481-2663.

Now for a little editorializing.  First of all - I always hate to hear about recalls of any food, treat, or chew items pertaining to our pets.  The mass recalls of 2007 were eye-opening to many of us, and out there in the pet community, be it on message boards, mailing lists, or out here in the Blogosphere, just about everyone knows someone, (or knows someone who knows someone) who lost a pet in those tragic, mass recalls. For me, though I wasn't personally affected, it started the wheels turning, and I started not only reading labels carefully, something I'd always done, but researching behind the brand name on the bag.  As most of us know, a lesson learned all too well from the Menu Food recalls a few years back, just because Brand A's logo is printed on the bag does not mean that Brand A is the company responsible for actually manufacturing the food.  The word co-packer, a dirty word to many these days, is a term used to describe a company that takes the recipe and ingredients from Company A and actually manufactures the food in a large plant.  Co-packers often manufacture foods that are very questionable in quality in the same plants where quality foods are also manufactured.  Menu Foods, for example, was a co-packer.  What this means, then, is that in order to be really sure (or as sure as you can possibly be) about the safety of the food you're feeding, you need to know not only what brand of food you're buying, what ingredients are or are not in it, but also the entity behind the brand name you've decided to spend your money on.  It can get tedious and bewildering, not to mention extremely time consuming, which is why I eventually converted all of the kids here to a prey model raw diet.  (A decision, by the way, that in no way means I am passing any sort of judgement on people who are feeding commercial foods.) 

And this last, actually, circles me back around to the point I started to make in the first place.  The pig ear chews referenced above were pulled from the market due to possible salmonella contamination.  We all know that salmonella can make us sick, and truth be told, it's often due to the possible risk to the human population that prompts recalls due to salmonella, NOT the risk to the animals.  Why?  Because with their short, acidic, highly efficient digestive tracts, healthy dogs and cats are at a vanishingly small risk of getting seriously ill from exposure to salmonella.  Raw meat/organ/bone is so bioavailable and easily digested that it simply does not stick around in the digestive tract long enough to cause illness.  NOT that I'm suggesting to anyone that if they have these chews laying around that they should feed them.  Of course not.  And yet ...

I've tried really hard over the last several months not to turn this blog into anything remotely resembling a raw feeding agenda.  I've mentioned it a few times, but quite frankly one of the reasons I started this blog was so that I could still be connected to and enjoy the camraderie of the pet-loving community, but in a more freespirited, fun-loving way.  There is a delightful absence of politics in the Blogosphere, or at least it seems so to me, and I greatly enjoy that.  A long, seasoned, and sometimes battle-scarred veteran of mailing lists, message boards, and the like, it is refreshing to me that there is really none of the ugly stuff here.  Which is lovely.  At the same time, though, all the things I have always cared passionately about (such as making sure that I provide the safest, healthiest, most species-appropriate diet for my crew that I possibly can), I still care about, and recalls are serious business that could potentially negatively impact the health of a great number of animals, so I think it's important to spread the word. 

Also, in this instance, given that the issue for this particular recall was salmonella, I thought it was a good opportunity to bring up the point that for so many people, the sticking point to a raw diet is that they fear the risk of food-borne illness due to salmonella contamination, not just to their pets, but to themselves or their families.  I think this particular recall is a lesson that just because an item is packaged for sale, as opposed to being fed raw from a grocery case, does not guarantee that it is safe, or free of food-borne toxins.  Dry dog and cat food has tested positive for salmonella in the past.  The point being that unless a person is vegetarian or vegan, they handle raw meat all the time, prior to cooking it.  Provided the source they are obtaining the meat from is not suspect, and provided it is handled properly, they and their family are at no additional risk, and their  dog or cat is not either, even as he or she is chowing down on a raw chicken.  

Again, the point I'm trying, and I think mostly failing, to make here is not to tell anyone that they should feed their dog or cat a raw diet.  Based on my own personal experience, which pre-dates the five raw-fed animals I'm currently living with, it's the thing that makes the most sense to me personally, (and I firmly believe that Finn, for one, would not be here today, or at least would not be as vigorous and healthy as he is, without the benefit of a prey model raw diet) but for all sorts of reasons it is not necessarily the best fit for every cat-or-dog-loving person's individual circumstances.  What I am trying to encourage everyone to do, or rather not to do, is to blithely assume that just because a food, treat, etc. is commercially manufactured and has a list of ingredients and a guaranteed analysis, that it is healthy, safe, species-appropriate, or, as we've seen here in the case of these particular pig ear chews, salmonella-free.

May all of our furred family members be healthy and well!

Signed,

The MP

4 comments:

Two Pitties in the City said...

Thanks for the heads up. I think it is good to spread the word.

William said...

I think it's good that you're letting our moms and dads know about recalls and stuff...ever though I'm pretty sure I wouldn't eat a pig's ear. ;-)

Sam said...

It's a good message that you're sending regarding salmonella (so many vets even make this mistake) and I don't think you sure hide the fact that you feed raw or anything. Not everyone is able to, for various reasons, but education is a great thing.

Thanks for the heads up on the recall. Marge doesn't get pig ears, though. I'm pretty specific about what chews she can have.

Christina said...

Thanks for the heads up. We lost are dear Matisse with the 2007 recalls. She died from the pet food recall. It broke our hearts and now we only buy the highest quality of dog food for our 4 dogs. Sometimes we even cook them rice and chicken. I also pay attention to where the food originates (although you never know where everything in the food comes from). Hopefully no dogs will be ill from this recall.
Again thanks for the recall and also thanks for visiting us at The World According To Lexi.
Christina and Lexi