- Consumers are being urged against buying or feeding their pets any pig-ear dog treats, while retailers are being advised against selling the product for now due to possible salmonella contamination.
- A multi-state outbreak of salmonella infections tied to pig ears sold as dog treats has expanded since Pet Supplies Plus recalled the product earlier this month, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- At least 127 people from 33 states have now been stricken with the bacteria, with 26 of them hospitalized.
Consumers are being urged not to buy pig-ear dog treats nor feed them to their pets during an outbreak of salmonella that has expanded to 33 states and sickened 127 people, including 26 hospitalizations.
The warning issued Wednesday by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention comes amid an investigation that has prompted two separate recalls in recent days and weeks. The agencies also advised retailers to stop selling all pig-ear treats for now.
Lennox Group, one of two companies that have recalled the product, on Tuesday expanded its previous action, saying it knew of multiple cases of people getting ill from salmonella, with several people identifying Lennox pig ear treats as the brand they had purchased. In its initial recall notice, Lennox said it was aware of two cases in which its pig ears caused dog Illnesses.
Some of the pig ear pet treats originated from Argentina and Brazil, the FDA and CDC said.
The warning extends to pig-ear dog treats already in homes: "handling these treats could make people sick; eating the treats could make dogs sick," the CDC said in its own post. Tests have identified "many different strains in salmonella in pig ears from various brands and suppliers," according to the agency. It added that data on where ill people bought pig ears has not identified a single supplier, distributor or common brand of pig ear treats.
"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," Steven Solomon, director of the FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine, stated in the advisory. "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 its investigation progresses, Solomon added.
Salmonella can affect animals eating contaminated products as well as the humans who handled the sickened animals or the infected product. In people, the salmonella infection causes symptoms including nausea, vomiting, bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever; in rare cases, it can cause more serious ailments. Affected pets may become lethargic and have diarrhea, fever and vomiting.
Illnesses in the outbreak have been reported in the following 33 states: Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, North Dakota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin.