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Stella & Chewy’s recalled for Lysteria contamination, dog & cat food affected

Stella & Chewy’s is voluntarily recalling four of its products sold in the U.S. and Canada due to concerns of a possible presence of Listeria monocytogenes. The recall was prompted by a positive test confirming Listeria monocytogenes in Stella’s Super Beef Dinner Morsels for Dogs, during routine surveillance testing by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

On Thursday, December 10, Stella & Chewy’s was notified by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development that it had issued a stop sale order on the recalled product because it tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes.

Although uncommon in cats and dogs, Listeria monocytogenes can cause Listeriosis, a serious infection usually caused by eating food contaminated with the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes.

Unfortunately, when Listeria bacteria get into a food processing factory, they can live there for years, sometimes contaminating food products. Even though Stella & Chewy’s uses High Pressure Processing (HPP) to kill pathogenic bacteria, cross contamination can occur post processing.

As a precautionary measure, Stella & Chewy’s is recalling selected products, as listed below.

Additionally, they are also recalling two additional products that may have been exposed to the affected lot (even though they have not tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes), as listed below in the second chart.

Product Description Size UPC Lot # Use By Date
Frozen Stella’s Super Beef Dinner Morsels for Dogs 8.5 oz. 186011 001554 165-15 6/25/2016
Frozen Stella’s Super Beef Dinner Morsels for Dogs 4 lb. 186011 001370 165-15 6/25/2016 & 6/26/2016
Frozen Duck Duck Goose Dinner Morsels for Cats 1.25 lb. 186011 001455 165-15 6/25/2016

The following products which may have come into contact with the affected lot:

Product Description Size UPC Lot # Use By Date
Frozen Chick Chick Chicken Dinner Morsels for Cats 1.25 lb. 186011 001448 160-15 7/2/2016
Frozen Chick Chick Chicken Dinner Morsels for Cats 1.25 lb. 186011 001448 152-15 7/2/2016

Stella & Chewy’s answers questions about the recall

Q: Why were the products recalled?

Listeria monocytogenes was discovered in an off-the-shelf package inspection of product during routine surveillance testing by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. As a precautionary measure, we chose to expand the recall list to include products that may have been exposed to the affected lot.

Q: What should I do with products that are being recalled?

Consumers should look at the product descriptions, UPCs, lot codes, and “Use By” date printed on the bag for an exact match to determine if it is subject to the recall. People who have purchased these products are instructed to dispose of the food or return it to the place of purchase for a full refund.

Q: Where are the products sold?

The products included on the recall list were shipped to the United States and Canada to wholesale distributors and retail stores for resale to consumers.

Q: What should I do if I believe my pet has been exposed to the recalled product?

Your pet’s health is one of our highest priorities so we strongly encourage you to have your pet examined and treated by a veterinarian to determine the cause of the symptoms. We’d also like to speak with you further and learn more about what your pet is experiencing and discuss how we might be able to help. Please contact Customer Service at info@stellaandchewys.com.

Q: How did the Listeria contamination occur?

We are in the process of working with a third party expert to identify how the organism had entered our production area after the HPP process.

Q: Does High Pressure Processing (HPP) eliminate the risk of Listeria?

Yes, scientific studies show that HPP inactivates Listeria. We’re in the process of working with an independent third party expert to identify how the organism had entered our production area after the HPP process.

Q: Does Stella & Chewy’s test for Listeria?

Yes. Listeria monocytogenes is considered an environmental pathogen. Environmental testing is conducted for Listeria in our production process after the HPP environment, which is the recommended method for identifying the organism.

Q: What is Stella & Chewy’s doing to correct the situation?

As a precautionary measure, we have issued a voluntary recall of the entire affected lot as well as additional product that could have been exposed to the affected lot, and we are working collaboratively with the FDA to further investigate and address the situation. Furthermore, we are in the process of working with a third party expert to conduct a root cause analysis and identify how the organism had entered in the production area after HPP.

Q: What steps have been taken since the last recall?

Significant enhancements in food safety processes have been taken in the past five months to minimize any potential issues.  It is important to note that the product associated with this recall was made prior to the most recent and current food safety steps, including testing for Listeria monocytogenes.

Q: In which part of the manufacturing process did the incident occur?

It is important to note that the problem occurred in packaging of the product only, and only affected frozen products.

Q: Can I feed my pet the food that is NOT on the recall list?

We have no reason to believe any product other than what has already been voluntarily recalled is affected; the production area is cleaned and sanitized nightly. As soon as we were made aware of the positive sample, we began an investigation which included additional intensified testing for Listeria in our post-production HPP area. However, Stella & Chewy’s has an unwavering commitment to stand behind our products. If customers feel any hesitancy in feeding our food, please visit your retailer for a full refund of the purchase price.

Q: Where do I find the lot number and “Best By” dates?

The lot numbers and dates are printed on the back of each bag of all Stella & Chewy’s products.

Q: What if I have a product with the same lot code, but a different “Use By” date?

The product description. UPC, lot code, date and “Use By” date all must match what is on the recall list. If they do not all match, then the product is not included in the recall.

Q: Who do I contact if I have further questions or concerns?

For any inquiries, you may contact us at info@stellaandchewys.com.

SOURCES:
Stella & Chewy’s Voluntary Recall Notice
Stella & Chewy’s Voluntarily Recalls Products Due to Possible Health Risk

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Mollie Morrissette

Mollie Morrissette, author of Poisoned Pets, is an animal food safety expert and advisor to AAFCO. Help support her work by making a donation today.

Comments (5) Write a comment

  1. This reminds me of the Blue Bell Ice Cream recalls for lysteria last year. I guess this had been a problem previously, but I never heard anything about contamination prior to the mass recall of all their varieties. The reason why I mention this is because originally Blue Bell was saying that their ice cream would be back in stores in a few weeks.
    Then they updated their reply to say it will take much longer, like several months! I believe it has been over a year now, but I haven’t seen any of their ice cream in Indiana yet.
    I am hoping that Stella & Chewy’s will take all the time necessary to investigate & completely irradicate the problem. Even if it takes a couple or several months to achieve. However, I would think that much time would nearly put them out business, and I can’t imagine a pet food company going to that length and extent. I’m afraid they’ll cut corners and take their chances at our loved ones expense! They seem to be a better company than that, but I know the almighty dollar rules.
    Also I subscribe to Pet eNews which has all kinds of info and reports more for the manufacturer, rather than the consumer. I found this recall, not sure if you posted it already:
    ” Nutro dog treats recalled for potential mold. Mars Petcare has issued a voluntary recall of its Nutro Apple Chewy dog treats due to potential mold.”

    Reply

  2. I did not realize that the bacteria could remain in the environment so long… I am glad that you discussed that. “Listeriosis” starts out presenting intially as flu-like symptoms, but as it advances progress to limb or facial paralysis, and brain swelling (meningitis)… the infection can be fatal within days after exposure. So I wonder how the manufacturer would be able to thoroughly eliminate the contamination?

    Reply

    • Lysteria is very serious. Especially concerning, is that this has happened before at Stella & Chewy’s, so it would appear to be an issue with environmental contamination. I think there is more to the story than we are being told.

      Reply

  3. I’ve been to some doggie meet up/Yappy Hours and I’ve seen this product on the shelf, so I’m confused about the recall??

    Reply

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