Mollie the dog-and-the-Bone

Blue Buffalo recalls dog bones due to Salmonella contamination

Blue Buffalo announced yesterday that they are recalling a production lot of Cub Size Wilderness Wild Chews Bones. This recall is being done as the product has the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella.

How did this happen?

Routine testing at the manufacturing site revealed the presence of Salmonella in the product. But, meanwhile the product was already shipped to PetSmart Stores in 9 States.

Obviously, Blue Buffalo didn’t think to test the product before they distributed it across the United States. A critical element of good manufacturing practices is a procedure called “Test and Hold,” a step they decided to skip.

Safety measures skipped

While Blue Bufallo is not required to employ such safety measures, the USDA, however, requires “official establishments and importers of record to maintain control of product tested for adulterants by FSIS and not allow such products to enter commerce until negative results are received.”

Meanwhile, FDA guidance on Salmonella testing recommends, but does not require, that food facilities “maintain control of a food that is being tested for the presence of Salmonella, pending the final outcome of that testing.”


For two reasons:

One, it is important to ensure that adulterated foods don’t go into commerce, but also because, the FDA can take enforcement action if a sample it takes tests positive, even if a previous manufacturers test of the food obtained negative results.

Secondly, because the most common bacterial cause of death among the pathogens tracked by CDC’s Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network (FoodNet), Salmonella is cited as being responsible for the largest number of hospitalizations and deaths.

The problem with Salmonella

Salmonella can affect animals eating the product and there is risk to humans from handling contaminated pet products, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with the products or any surfaces exposed to these products.

Salmonellosis in humans

Healthy people infected with Salmonella should monitor themselves for some or all of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever. Rarely, Salmonella can result in more serious ailments including arterial infections, endocarditis, arthritis, muscle pain, eye irritation and urinary tract symptoms. Consumers exhibiting these signs after having contact with this product should contact their healthcare provider.

Salmonellosis in animals

Essentially, Salmonella can cause similar if not identical symptoms in pets as it does in humans: Pets with Salmonella infections may have decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. Other clinical signs may include lethargy, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, and vomiting. Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian.

Recalled product details

The product was distributed starting November 19, 2015 in PetSmart stores located in the following 9 states: California, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington.

The recalled product comes individually shrink-wrapped in plastic with the UPC number 840243110087 printed on a sticker affixed to the product, and an expiration date of November 4, 2017, printed as “exp 110417” on the shrink-wrap. Consumers should look at the UPC Code and expiration date on the product package to determine if the product is part of the recall.

The recall is limited to the following product and production lot:

Product Name: Cub Size Wilderness Wild Chews Bone   UPC Code: 840243110087   Expiration Date: November 4, 2017

Consumers who have purchased the product subject to this recall are urged to dispose of the product or return it to the place of purchase for full refund.

Consumers with questions may contact Blue Buffalo at: 888-641-9736 from 8 AM to 5 PM Eastern Time Monday through Friday and the weekend of November 28, 2015, or by email at for more information.

Just a tip for Blue Buffalo

The FDA published a handy Guidance document, Testing for Salmonella Species in Human Foods and Direct-Human-Contact Animal Foods that pet food companies, like Blue Buffalo, should familiarize themselves with.

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Mollie Morrissette

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

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