Recalls have been issued for pet food that was contaminated with bacteria, horse meat, toxic mold, beef thyroid hormones, and deadly drugs. In recent years, a growing number of pet owners have filed lawsuits for injuries and wrongful deaths.
UPDATE: Sportmix Pet Food Recall Expands After 70 Pets Die of Toxic Mold Poisoning
In January 2021, Midwestern Pet Foods expanded a pet food recall after at least 70 pets were poisoned to death, and another 80 pets were sickened, by a toxic mold on the corn ingredients called aflatoxin.
Pets who show symptoms of aflatoxin poisoning may suffer from sluggishness, loss of appetite, vomiting, jaundice (yellow eyes or gums), bruising or bleeding, diarrhea, liver damage, and death.
Pets may not show any symptoms, but still have liver damage that could cause sudden death. Pet owners should take their pet to a veterinarian immediately if the pet has eaten any recalled food.
The expanded recall includes dry dog and cat foods with Expiration Dates on or before “07/09/22” and the number “05” in the date/lot code, which means it was made in Oklahoma:
- Pro Pac Adult Mini Chunk
- Pro Pac Performance Puppy
- Splash Fat Cat 32%
- Nunn Better Maintenance
- Sportstrail, 50 lb. bag
- Sportmix Original Cat, 15 lb. bag
- Sportmix Original Cat, 31 lb. bag
- Sportmix Maintenance, 44 lb. bag
- Sportmix Maintenance, 50 lb. bag
- Sportmix High Protein, 50 lb. bag
- Sportmix Energy Plus, 44 lb. bag
- Sportmix Energy Plus, 50 lb. bag
- Sportmix Stamina, 44 lb. bag
- Sportmix Stamina, 50 lb. bag
- Sportmix Bite Size, 40 lb. bag
- Sportmix Bite Size, 44 lb. bag
- Sportmix High Energy, 44 lb. bag
- Sportmix High Energy, 50 lb. bag
- Sportmix Premium Puppy, 16.5 lb. bag
- Sportmix Premium Puppy, 33 lb. bag
The original recalled on December 30, 2020, also includes several types of Sportmix® pet food:
- 50# Sportmix Energy Plus Lots Exp 03/02/22/05/L2, 03/02/22/05/L3, 03/03/22/05/L2
- 44# Sportmix Energy Plus Lots 03/02/22/05/L3
- 50# Sportmix Premium High Energy Lots 03/03/22/05/L3
- 44# Sportmix Premium High Energy Lots 03/03/22/05/L3
- 31# Sportmix Original Cat Lots 03/03/22/05/L3
- 15# Sportmix Original Cat Lots 03/03/22/05/L2, 03/03/22/05/L3
Albright’s Raw Dog Food Recalled for Salmonella Risk
In November 2020, Albright’s Raw Dog Food (Chicken Recipe) was recalled due to a risk of Salmonella contamination. One animal illness was reported, but no human illnesses. FDA tests on the product were positive for Salmonella, according to the recall notice.
The product is frozen raw dog food, labeled “Albright’s Raw Dog Food Chicken Recipe for Dogs,” packaged in 2-pound chubs/rolls with “Lot number C000185, Best By 19 May 2021” and distributed from 7/8/20 to 8/27/20.
Sunshine Mills Expands Pet Food Recalls Due to Mold Toxin
In October 2020, Sunshine Mills expanded recall for a variety of dog, puppy, and cat foods that may contain a poisonous mold toxin in the corn ingredients.
Sunshine Mills issued the original recall in September 2020 for certain Family Pet®, Heartland Farms®, and Paws Happy Life® dog foods.
The expanded recall includes:
- CHAMP® MINI CHUNK DOG FOOD BEEF AND CHICKEN FLAVOR
- FIELD TRIAL® COMPLETE NUTRITION PREMIUM DOG FOOD
- GOOD DOG® DOG FOOD HI-ENERGY FORMULA
- HUNTER’S SPECIAL®
DOG FOOD HI ENERGY FORMULA
- HUNTER’S SPECIAL®
DOG FOOD MAINTENANCE FORMULA
- HUNTER’S SPECIAL® FARM & RANCH RECIPE SUPER CHUNKS DOG FOOD
- OLD GLORY® DOG FOOD HEARTY BEEF & CHICKEN FLAVOR
- PAWS HAPPY LIFE® NUTRITIONALLY COMPLETE DOG FOOD
- PET EXPERT ALWAYS FIT FORMULA
- PRINCIPLE SUPER PREMIUM NATURAL DOG FOOD BREEDER PACK
- RETRIEVER® BITES & BONES ADULT COMPLETE NUTRITION SAVORY CHICKEN FLAVOR
- RIVER BEND DOG FOOD BASIC NUTRITION
- RIVER BEND DOG FOOD SELECT
- SPORTSMAN’S PRIDE® MAINTENANCE ADULT FORMULA DOG FOOD
- SPROUT® BITES & BONES
- SPROUT® HI-PROTEIN
- SPROUT® MAINTENANCE
- SPROUT® PUPPY
- THRIFTY® ADULT DOG FOOD
- TOP RUNNER® PREMIUM DOG FOOD
- WHISKERS & TAILS ADULT RECIPE COMPLETE DOG FOOD
Billy+Margot Wild Kangaroo Dog Food Recalled for Salmonella Risk
In September 2020, Real Pet Food recalled Billy+Margot Wild Kangaroo and Superfoods Recipe Dog Food (4-lb bags) after a random sample tested positive for Salmonella. No illnesses were reported. The recalled bags have Lot Code V 07 Feb 2022.
Family Pet®, Heartland Farms®, and Paws Happy Life® Dog Food Recalls
In September 2020, Sunshine Mills issued a recall for 3 varieties of dog food that may have high levels of aflatoxin, a toxic mold byproduct. Pets who eat a lot of aflatoxin may seem sluggish, lethargic, reluctant to eat, vomiting or diarrhea, and have a yellowish tint to their eyes or gums. The recalled products include:
- Family Pet® Meaty Cuts Beef Chicken & Cheese Flavors Premium Dog Food
- Heartland Farms® Grilled Favorites Beef Chicken & Cheese Flavor
- Paws Happy Life® Butcher’s Choice Dog Food
Nature’s Menu® Dog Food Recall
In August 2020, Sunshine Mills Inc. recalled certain lots of Nature’s Menu® Super Premium Dog Food with a Blend of Real Chicken & Quail after a 3-pound bag tested positive for Salmonella contamination. No illnesses in pets or people were reported.
Natural Balance® Cat Food Recall
In July 2020, a recall was issued for the canned cat food “Natural Balance® Ultra Premium Chicken & Liver Pate Formula” after cats got sick due to unsave levels of choline chloride. It was sold in 5.5-ounce cans with UPC Code 2363353227, Lot #9217803 and a “Best By” date of 08-04-2021.
Aunt Jeni’s Frozen Raw Pet Food Tests Positive for Salmonella; FDA Issues 2nd Warning
In February 2020, the FDA warned pet parents after a store-bought sample of Aunt Jeni’s Home Made All-Natural Turkey Dinner Dog Food tested positive for Salmonella. It is sold in frozen 5-pound containers.
In August 2019, the FDA previously warned pet parents after 2 samples of Aunt Jeni’s frozen raw dog food tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes and Salmonella contamination.
Quest Beef Cat Food Recalled for Salmonella
In November 2019, Go Raw, LLC recalled 2-pound frozen bags of “Quest Beef Cat Food” after a sample tested positive for Salmonella. The cat food was distributed nationally through retail stores. The bags are marked with Lot N128 and UPC 6-91730-17101-8. No illnesses have been reported to date.
Raw Organic Pet Food Recalled for Salmonella
In May 2017, a recall was issued by SmallBatch Pets Inc. for certain 2-pound bags of frozen raw organic “Chicken Blend for Dogs and Cats” after it tested positive for Salmonella.
The product contains raw meat and it is not cooked to kill bacteria. It was sold at pet food stores in California, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington.
SmallBatch Pets also recalled frozen raw organic “Dog Duckbatch Sliders” in March 2016 after the products tested positive for Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes.
Dogs and cats who are infected with Salmonella may appear lethargic (less active) or suffer bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting. Some pets have no symptoms, or only mild fever, decreased appetite, and stomach ache. These animals can still spread infections to other animals or people.
Party Animal Cocolicious Dog Food Recall
In April 2017, Party Animal recalled canned dog food that tested positive for the tranquilizer drug pentobarbital after reports of a pet who experienced discomfort after eating the product.
The dog food was manufactured and sold in 2015. The food tested positive for pentobarbitol at a laboratory at Texas A&M. The recall involves the following products:
- 3-ounce cans of Cocolicious Beef & Turkey dog food (Lot #0136E15204 04, best by July 2019)
- 13-ounce cans of Cocolicious Chicken & Beef dog food (Lot #0134E15 237 13, best by August 2019).
Evanger’s, Against the Grain Dog Food Recall: Tests Find Horse DNA and Pentobarbital
In March 2017, Evanger’s and Against the Grain recalled all “chunk beef” dog food after unopened cans tested positive for horse meat and the deadly euthanasia drug pentobarbital.
Pentobarbital is a sedative that is used to rapidly kill horses. The symptoms in a dog or cat might include drowsiness, dizziness, excitement, falling over, nausea, jerking eyes, coma, and death.
The FDA has received at least 10 complaints. The problem was discovered by a woman who fed Evanger’s “Hunk of Beef” to 4 of her dogs. All of the dogs got sick, including a pug named Talula who died.
The recall involves the following dog food:
- Evanger’s Hunk of Beef
- Evanger’s Braised Beef
- Against the Grain Pulled Beef
FDA Warning: Beef Thyroid Hormones Can Kill Your Pet
In March 2017, the FDA warned pet owners and veterinarians that high levels of beef thyroid hormones in pet food can kill a dog or cat.
The warning was issued after 3 dogs were diagnosed with hyperthyroidism after eating certain brands of canned dog food. All of the dogs got better after switching to another type of dog food.
The FDA tested the dog food and found thyroid hormones and iodine — sigs of livestock gullets (throat meat) in the food. Livestock gullets get into pet food when slaughterhouses do not remove the thyroid gland. This part is not allowed in meat for human consumption.
Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism
Long-term exposure to thyroid hormones in dog food can damage the heart and cause death. The symptoms of hyperthyroidism include:
- Excessive thirst
- Frequent urination
- Weight loss
- Eating more than usual
- Fast heartbeat
- Fast breathing
- Trouble breathing
WellPet Wellness Beef Dog Food Recall
WellPet recalled Wellness canned beef dog food that tested positive for beef thyroid hormones. The recall includes Wellness 95% Beef Topper for Dogs with “Best-By” dates of 02FEB19, 29AUG19, and 30AUG19 printed on the bottom of the can, and UPC #076344894506.
Blue Buffalo Dog Food Recall
Blue Buffalo recalled canned dog food after tests found high levels of beef thyroid hormones. The recall includes 12.5-oz cans of BLUE Wilderness® Rocky Mountain Recipe Red Meat Dinner Wet Food for Adult Dogs with a “Best-By” date of June 7, 2019 printed on the bottom of the can and UPC #840243101153.
Blue Buffalo Dog Food Class Action Lawsuit Settlement
In 2016, Blue Buffalo paid a $32 million class action lawsuit settlement for falsely advertising dog and cat food as “poultry byproduct-free” when tests showed that they actually did contain poultry byproducts. Over 100,000 consumers filed claims by the April 14, 2016 deadline.
Pig Ears Recalled for Salmonella
In March 2017, EuroCan Manufacturing recalled pig ears that may be contaminated with Salmonella, a bacteria that can cause food poisoning in dogs and people handling the product.
The recalled pig ears were packaged as individually shrink-wrapped, 6-pack, 12-pack and 25-pack bags in the Barnsdale Farms®, Barnsdale Farms®-Select, Houndstooth® and Mac’s Choice® brands. The recall includes Lot Number 84. No illnesses have been reported.
PetSmart Grreat Choice Dog Food Recall
In February 2017, PetSmart recalled one lot of “Grreat Choice® Canned Dog Food” due to metal contamination that could potentially be a choking hazard to pets. The recall was issued in response to consumer complaints. No pet injuries were reported.
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