TDBBS announced they are recalling their pig ear pet treats sold through Amazon.com after routine surveillance by the Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development found their product tested positive for Salmonella. The product was shipped to customers between April 22, 2019, and August 13, 2019, and sold through Amazon.
|TDBBS, LLC USA Thick Pig Ear 8 Pack||TDBBS, LLC USA Thick Pig Ear 20 Pack|
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|Best By Date: 8/05/2021 Lot Code: 2179T1|
UM, WHY IS THIS STILL HAPPENING?
As I stared in disbelief at the announcement published on the US Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Recalls, Market Withdrawals, & Safety Alerts page today, I had to ask myself: Why are these pig treats – which the FDA has said in no uncertain terms should be removed from the marketplace – are still on the market?
WAIT, SO NEARLY TWO MONTHS AFTER THE WARNING THEY ARE STILL FOR SALE?
On July 31, 2019, the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) jointly advised Americans to stop feeding pig ears to their dogs, to throw out all pig ear treats, to disinfect their homes and for retailers to yank every brand off store shelves and out of bulk bins until the source of the contaminated pig ear treats could be identified.
But almost two months after the announcement and while the investigation into a multistate outbreak of human illness connected to contaminated pig ear dog treats is still underway you can go to Amazon.com and Chewy.com right now and load up on pig ear treats for dogs – by the case if you like.
ARE AMERICANS STILL AT RISK? YUP.
And the recalls for contaminated pig ears still keep coming. And presumably, so are the risk to consumers, the risk to their children and their pets for exposure to contaminated pig ears that have been responsible for the multidrug-resistant Salmonella infections affecting people in 35 states — a risk which is not only still possible, but very likely to continue.
HOW FAR BACK CAN WE GO IN ASSIGNING BLAME?
The first thing I ask myself is, who is to blame for this continuing debacle?
My immediate afterthought is, how far back can I go? Because – really – today’s problems are not new, they are the same ones that have plagued the system of commerce since the beginning of the Industrialized Revolution.
But, I promise not to go back that far.
Today, we are dealing with a humble little treat for dogs, the dehydrated raw pig ear. Something that none of us would have imagined could wreak such havoc and destruction on peoples lives and on the pet treat market. But how, we wonder, did all of this happen?
WHO’S AT FAULT FOR THE OUTBREAK?
Do I start with the worldwide export of contaminated animal byproducts into the US, or the US pork producers who also produce and sell contaminated pig ears?
Do we blame the US Customs and Border Patrol who – with their limited resources – for not catching the contaminated product before it passes customs?
Do we fault the American co-packer who, either by fault of ignorance, indifference or greed, repackages the contaminated treats and offloads them onto an unsuspecting public, without consideration of the consequences of their actions?
Do we blame the retailers who, out of greed, continue to sell the contaminated treats?
Do we blame state and county regulators and health officials, who with lack of resources do not have the workforce to search retail and online establishment for the offending products?
NOT TO SOUND PARANOID, BUT WHO CAN WE TRUST?
What kind of trust can we have in a system so fragile it is easily broken by a lack of resources? So tenuous as to allow the greed and ignorance of importers, manufacturers and retailers to pawn their contaminated product onto a vulnerable public without consequences?
CAN WE COUNT ON AMAZON AND CHEWY?
In particular, I wonder why two of the largest and most influential retailers in the US, Amazon and Chewy, are incapable – with their vast resources – of protecting their customers from unsafe products. Products that, according to the US government, should not be sold. But they are still being sold – and in vast numbers by various brands without caution or care.
IS THERE A BRIGHTSIDE?
The one bright spot in this tragedy is the investigation into the multistate outbreak of salmonellosis tied to pig ears would not have been possible without the cooperation of the FDA and the CDC. I applaud their efforts because they have been tremendous, with their communications, with their outreach and education.
So, maybe – just maybe – the next time you think of bashing the FDA – think again. Because, although every government system is not without its flaws, right now the FDA and your local state regulators are the only protection you have between what you buy for yourself, your family and your pets comes from their power to uphold the laws of the Federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act.
A SNAPSHOT IN TIME OF THE OUTBREAK
|Snapshots||By the Numbers (as of 8/30/19)|
|Outbreak Investigation Summary
Advice for Consumers
READ MORE ABOUT IT
The following links provide more information on the FDA’s ongoing investigation of Salmonella contaminated pig ears and their link to human illness:
- FDA Fast Facts: FDA advises consumers not to purchase or feed, and retailers not to sell, any pig ear pet treat
- Pig Ear Pet Treats: Q&As for Retailers, Distributors, Importers, Suppliers, Manufacturers
- FDA Investigates Contaminated Pig Ear Pet Treats Connected to Human Salmonella Infection
- Get the Facts about Salmonella!
- CDC Salmonella
- CDC Investigation Notice: Outbreak of Multidrug-Resistant Salmonella Infections Linked to Contact with Pig Ear Dog Treats
- MDARD Consumer Advisory: Pig ear pet treats sold in bulk distributed in Michigan potentially contaminated with Salmonella
- Pet Supplies Plus Issues Consumer Advisory for Bulk Pig Ear Product
- The Lennox Intl Inc is Voluntary Recalling Natural Pig Ears
- Dog Goods USA LLC To Conduct A Voluntary Recall of Chef Toby and Berkley & Jensen Pig Ears Treats Because of Possible Salmonella Health Risk
HELP KEEP POISONED PETS INDEPENDENT
Seldom does a day pass when a pet parent asks me what should brand of pet food do I recommend. I wish I could tell them, but I can’t. The answer isn’t as simple as they would like it to be, because to their disappointment, I don’t recommend brands.
I can’t recommend any brands because that would be considered a conflict of interest. What that means is that I can’t have relationships – whether financial, professional or personal – with a pet food company. If I did, then I couldn’t remain objective.
Instead, I depend on you, for support of my work. Independent reporting – like you read on Poisoned Pets – can only exist with the help of private individuals like you.