Last week, Kasel Associated Industries “voluntarily” recalled more than 50 varieties of dog treats sold by Target, Petco, Costco and other stores because of the possibility they were contaminated with Salmonella.
But according to an NBC News report yesterday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) actually had to threaten the company with a mandatory recall – the first such recall in FDA history – when Kasel initially refused to voluntarily recall the tainted products.
The FDA was given the authority to issue mandatory recalls two years ago as part of the 2011 Food Safety Modernization Act.
The Salmonella was first discovered when the Colorado Dept. of Agriculture tested a retail sample of a Boots & Barkley bully stick made at Kasel’s Denver, Colo., manufacturing facility.
After a follow-up inspection of the facility in September 2012, the FDA found that virtually all of the dog-treat product samples, along with 48 out of 87 environmental samples, tested positive for Salmonella.
In fact, more than 10 different species of Salmonella were discovered in the Kasel products and facility, “indicating multiple sources of contamination,” according to the FDA. The FDA also found evidence of rodents and insects in the facility.
On Feb. 14, the FDA issued Kasel a final warning to voluntarily recall the products made at the facility. If the company refused, the FDA would issue its first-ever mandatory recall.
Five days later, Kasel announced a voluntary recall. On Feb. 21, the recall was expanded to include Kasel products sold by Nutri-Vet, Costco and Sam’s Club.
Salmonella can affect both animals and people who don’t wash their hands after handling contaminated pet products. While severe Salmonella infections are rare in adult dogs with healthy immune systems, they can be lethal to puppies whose immune systems are not fully developed, and older dogs with weakened immune systems. The most common symptom of Salmonella poisoning in dogs is diarrhea.
The FDA reported that it has received “a small number of complaints” of dogs becoming sick after they ate the recalled treats.
A complete list of the recalled Kasel products can be found on the FDA website.