October 4, 1999
U.S. Food and Drug Administration Issues Warning
About Contaminated Pet Chews
Washington, DC (SafetyAlerts) - The Food and Drug
Administration has issued a nationwide public health warning alerting consumers about a
number of recent cases in Canada of human illnesses apparently related to contact with dog
chew products made from pork or beef-derived materials (e.g., pigs ears, beef jerky
treats, smoked hooves, pigs skins, etc.).
These products may pose a risk of bacterial
infection such as Salmonella infantis which can cause flu-like symptoms (e.g., nausea,
vomiting, abdominal pain and diarrhea) in normally healthy people, but may cause far more
serious - even life-threatening injury in immune-compromised patients.
FDA is urging pet owners who have these products
to handle them carefully. Anyone who comes in contact with these treats should wash their
hands with hot water and soap. Elderly people, young children, and people with weakened
immune systems are particularly at risk from exposure and should avoid any contact with
Initial reports of illnesses came from Canada and
involved Canadian products, but subsequent examination of similar products produced in the
U.S. indicate that all pet chew products of this type may pose a risk.
FDA is working with other U.S. and Canadian health
authorities on this issue and has issued an import bulletin on products that have been
directly linked to illnesses. The import bulletin focuses FDAs attention on imported
pig ears at ports of entry for possible sampling and analysis.
FDA is also examining the manufacturing processes
for products containing pig ears to determine how this product, and similar products, can
be made safely.