cute dog holding flower in mouth

UPDATE Breeder’s Choice, AvoDerm Reveals: All Brands May be Contaminated with Salmonella

cute dog holding flower in mouth

Breeder’s Choice Pet Foods, back-peddled Friday, admitting that an undetermined amount of recalled AvoDerm Natural Lamb Meal & Brown Rice Adult Dog Formula in 26-pound bags may have been sold to pet owners.

The company earlier this week reported that virtually all of the recalled food contaminated with Salmonella had been seized before delivery. A “couple of cases” may have gotten to stores but were returned, the company stated at the time.

All Brands Held for Testing

On Friday, however, the company admits that until they have completed testing and “have the assurance that all products are free of contamination,” they are holding all AvoDerm and Breeder’s Choice products at the manufacturing facility and distribution sites.

Meanwhile on AvoDerm’s website, the company insists that Salmonella contamination has “not been found during our ongoing product testing program for the AvoDerm and Breeder’s Choice lines”.

Which statement is correct? You decide.

“As we dug deeper and deeper, we found some packages made retail,” said Mark Newberg, director of corporate affairs and communications for parent company Central Garden & Pet. “Whether or not they moved off shelves, we don’t know.”

Breeder’s Choice originally stated that the AvoDerm dog food was recalled because of possible Salmonella contamination in a “singular, isolated manufacturing batch”.

However, considering the company is holding all of their product until testing is complete, I would recommend holding off buying or feeding all AvoDerm and Breeder’s Choice brands until further notice.

Salmonella for Dummies

So, what’s the big deal with Salmonella?

Any brand of kibble can be contaminated with Salmonella, no brand or company is immune – I don’t care what they tell you. To be on the safe side you should assume that most of it is.

Salmonella bacteria can cause your pet to have acute, intermittent or chronic diarrhea, just like it does in people. Even scarier, is that infection can also spread beyond the intestinal tract, causing infection of the bloodstream and other organs.

While Salmonella infection may not be life threatening to your pet, although it certainly could be, there is a 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. In particular, vulnerable populations such as the very young, very old or immune compromised individuals should be especially cautious.

The same holds true for pets: young animals, stressed/sick animals or those with a weakened immune system are the most vulnerable to infection and illness for any bacterial infection, not just Salmonella.

If your pet is infected with Salmonella, it may be difficult to determine if they are. Some animals can be carriers of the pathogen but may not show any outward signs of the infection. In fact, the majority of dogs and cats with Salmonella show no signs of infection. Therefore, if your pet is shedding Salmonella it could conceivably be on any surface that pet has come in contact with, because an infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans.

Gucci Loafers

Remember what your Mom used to nag you about? She was right. Remember to wash your hands after feeding, playing, petting, and be careful to not step in their your animal’s feces.

Oh, God. Poop?

Yeah, I’m afraid so. You can carry it around and into your house on the soles of your Gucci loafers.

The icky part: Salmonella normally lives in the intestine of humans and animals. However, Salmonella is a very hardy organism, and can potentially be found almost anywhere – in soil, your Gucci loafers, water, or anywhere contaminated with animal stool or human sewage (we won’t go there) – and it can survive for long periods of time.

Is this reason to panic? I guess that depends on who lives in your house or how obsessive you are. I think the best advice is to follow the CDC guidelines on Salmonella, which are pretty simple: just practice good ol’ fashion hygiene.You know, soap and water, just like your Mom used to nag you about.

A great Salmonella primer is worth reading (from one of my favorite sites Worms and Germs) is their Salmonella for Pet Owners document.

Finally…

Regarding the AvoDerm recall, Breeder’s Choice tells us that the bags affected have “best by” dates of 28 Aug 2013, 29 Aug 2013 and 30 Aug 2013. The product code is 1000065074 and the UPC code is 0 5290702043 8. Consumers and retailers may call AvoDerm consumer service at 866-500-6286 for more information.

Links: Breeders Choice & AvoDerm

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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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