The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an import alert for some pet treats, saying it will detain, “without physical examination,” pig ear dog chews or other pig ear pet treats that are suspected of containing Salmonella.

“The purpose of this is so that the Agency will have confidence that future shipments/entries will be in compliance with the Federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act),” the agency stated.

This is linked to a continuous issue with pig ear pet treats from Canada, Brazil and Argentina that were imported to the United States and contaminated with Salmonella. The first cases occurred in September 1999 and were imported from Canada, and subsequent cases starting in July 2019 were linked to pig ear pet treats imported from Canada, Brazil and Argentina.

Last year’s Salmonella outbreak linked to pig ear dog treats led to 145 cases of human illness, of which 27 were children under the age of five and 35 overall were hospitalized. It started with a recall by Pet Supplies Plus on July 3, 2019 and persisted until late October 2019.

The FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) is requesting more information from these products before allowing them to enter the United States market, including providing documentation of corrective and preventive action against the risk of Salmonella, such as measures resulting from the FDA’s investigations into contamination. Documentation should include a description of current processes, verification of those processes and measures taken to prevent recontamination.

The FDA is also asking for three separate production records from suppliers including, at a minimum, their processes, quantities of product processed, lot numbers and processing dates.

Suppliers of these pig ear pet treats are required to provide private laboratory analysis results using a representative sample of each shipment, to prove the product is safe and does not contain Salmonella. Shipments of a single product will require five consecutive, compliant shipments and the appropriate private lab testing documentation. Shipments of multiple products require at least 12 consecutive, representative and compliant shipments and lab testing results, the agency stated.

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