A frantic pet parent contacted me recently, worried that the raw pet food they fed their cats made her cats violently ill. The pet food brand? Darwin’s Natural Pet Products. Based on Darwin’s long and sordid track record, I told the consumer to immediately report the matter to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Today, the FDA is issuing a public statement warning consumers not to feed certain lots of Darwin’s Natural Pet Products for cats and dogs due to Salmonella contamination after the company refused to issue public notification warning consumers.
The FDA determined the samples from the lots listed below tested positive for Salmonella.
- Darwin’s Natural Pet Products Natural Selections Chicken Recipe with Organic Vegetables for Dogs, Lot 9774, manufactured on Jun 13, 2023.
- Darwin’s Natural Pet Products Natural Selections Chicken Recipe for Cats, Lot 9795, manufactured on Jun 28, 2023.
- Darwin’s Natural Pet Products Natural Selections Chicken Recipe for Cats, Lot 9830, manufactured on Jul 19, 2023.
The agency says they “recommended that the manufacturer voluntarily recall these products and notify the public, but the company has not yet done so.”
These products are manufactured by Arrow Reliance Inc., doing business as Darwin’s Natural Pet Products, and are sold online.
DARWIN’S SORDID HISTORY
The owner of Darwin’s, Gary Tashjian, whose company has faced serious violations since 2016, has repeatedly rejected the FDA’s policy of zero-tolerance for Salmonella and other pathogens in pet foods and treats, refused to issue recalls, obstructed FDA in allowing access to consumer records.
While most companies will be faced with difficulties from time to time, it is the owner of the company, Gary Tashjian, who, despite being repeatedly accused of serious pet food safety violations, has consistently refused to accept responsibility for making and selling a pet food capable of causing the illness and death of pets. For this reason, I consider Darwin’s one of the most dangerous types of pet food companies.
PATHOGENS IN MEAT: FDA v. USDA
Because of the divergent – and some feel unfair – regulation of pathogens in pet food and pathogen in meat and poultry for human consumption, it helps to understand how two government agencies (the FDA and the USDA) should govern pathogens in such a different manner.
The FDA regulates pet food, while the USDA regulates meat and poultry for human consumption. Unlike the FDA, USDA allows for a certain level of Salmonella in raw meat and poultry because it is intended to be cooked.
However, because pet food is intended to be served without cooking, pet foods contaminated with pathogens create a potential for pets exposed to these products. Therefore, when pathogens are detected in pet food, the FDA considers it a danger to the health and welfare of animals and humans.
WHERE TO REPORT PET FOOD-RELATED ILLNESSES
People who think their pets have become ill after consuming contaminated pet food should first contact their veterinarians. Veterinarians who wish to have pets tested for Salmonella may do so through the Veterinary Laboratory Investigation and Response Network (Vet-LIRN Network) if the pet is from a household with a person infected with Salmonella.
MORE INFORMATION ABOUT DARWIN’S TROUBLED PAST
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