Stella & Chewy's dog and cat foods could be contaminated with the bacteria that causes listeria, forcing the company to issue a voluntary recall of their pet foods. The company reports there are no reports yet of illnesses related to the possible contaminations.
Listeria monocytogenes was discovered in a package of Chewy's Chicken Freeze-Dried Dinner Patties for Dogs.
"Stella & Chewy's (S&C) is announcing a voluntary recall of some of our dog and cat dinners and treats in the U.S. because they have the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. The recall was prompted by a positive test result as reported by the Maryland Department of Agriculture," Stella & Chewy's managers reported on their Facebook page.
The Maryland Department of Agriculture made the announcement on July 2.
The company recalled not just the single product that tested positive for the bacteria, but also several other products that may have come in contact with the microorganisms. Managers of S&C are telling the public this move was made out of an "abundance of caution" for pets and their human companions.
High Pressure Processing (HPP) is one production method known to kill listeria. The company is consulting with a third-party expert in an effort to determine how the bacteria made it past this stage of manufacture.
Listeria monocytogenes can cause serious illness in children, the elderly and those people with compromised immune systems. Pregnant women who are exposed to the bacteria can suffer stillbirths and miscarriages. However, healthy people contaminated by the microorganism usually just experience body stiffness, headache, fever and gastrointestinal distress. Animals that consume the bacteria suffer from symptoms similar to those seen in human beings. The bacteria can be found in a number of sources, including raw meat, fish and a wide variety of vegetables, including lettuce and spinach.
In addition to conducting company-wide investigations of potential contamination, managers are also working with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and have instituted additional sanitation procedures.
"The health and safety of our customers and their pets is always of the utmost importance to us. We are accountable for every dinner and treat we make and recognize that we have an important obligation to provide customers with the quality products they deserve and have come to expect from us over the years," S&C officials told the public in a press release.
People who believe their pets may have been exposed to the affected products or who have questions on the recall are being encouraged to call the pet food manufacturer at 888-477-8977.