LOS ANGELES — Pet Center, Inc. (PCI), an all-natural dog treat manufacturer, received a warning letter from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) this past February. In the letter, the FDA detailed several violations of its Current Good Manufacturing Practices (CGMPs), Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls requirements.

Between June 21, 2021, and July 13, 2021, the FDA first inspected PCI’s Inglewood, Calif.-based facility. After finding several violations, the administration followed up with a second inspection between Sept. 21 and Oct. 8 of the same year, noting repeat violations and failure to take corrective actions.

The inspected facility manufactures various dog treats, including Bully Sticks, Chicken Breast Tenders and SuperChews.

Based on its most recent inspection of PCI’s facility, the FDA found several violations. In regard to Hazard Analysis and Risk-based Preventive Controls requirements, the FDA found that PCI failed to prepare and implement a food safety plan.

“You (PCI) told our investigator that you had not conducted a hazard analysis for any type of animal food manufactured at your facility and that you have not identified any preventive controls,” the FDA’s letter detailed. “You stated a consultant was working on your food safety plan, but you did not know when it would be completed. We note that this is a repeat observation from the inspection that was conducted at your facility in June through July of 2021.”

According to the FDA, PCI responded on these violations, which were reported during the FDA’s first inspection, stating completion dates for its pest control, sanitation preventive control, environmental monitoring, primary employee hygiene, supply chain preventive control and recall preventive control programs. However, during its most recent inspection, PCI failed to provide documentation on the completion of those programs.

The FDA also found several violations related to CGMPs. In the letter, the agency revealed that PCI did not take precautions in preventing animal food contamination by failing to clean food contact surfaces, utensils and processing equipment.

“An employee wearing rubber boots — which were worn while walking on the processing room floor soiled with blood and raw animal tissue — stepped into the cooker, onto the food contact surface, and in direct contact with in-process cooked beef backstrap, a SuperChews ingredient,” the FDA stated.

The facility was also found to contain many pests throughout its manufacturing, processing, packaging and holding areas. The FDA noted that it found animal feces, flies on raw, in-process products, and finished products exposed to the outside environment.

The FDA also detailed that PCI failed to maintain its food-contact surfaces, utensils and equipment within all sectors of its plant. Hook racks, plastic and metal clamps were found covered in a rust-like dust, which made contact with in-process pet products.

Though PCI responded to most of the violations and detailed corrective actions, the FDA found no evidence of such actions being adequate, and supporting documentation was never provided to the administration.

“Failure to adequately address this matter may lead to legal or regulatory action, including without limitation, seizure, and injunction,” the FDA concluded in its letter.

Founded in 1978, PCI’s products include offal treats, meat tenders, bully and meat sticks, animal bones, SuperChews, pizzle chews and more all formulated using chicken, beef, duck, fish, lamb or pork.

Read the full warning letter.

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