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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

For Consumers

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Pet Food Products Seized at PETCO Distribution Center

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On June 19, 2008, U.S. Marshals seized various animal food products stored under unsanitary conditions at the PETCO Animal Supplies Distribution Center in Joliet, Ill. The products were seized at the request of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and pursuant to a warrant issued by the U.S. District Court in Chicago.

U.S. Marshals seized all FDA-regulated animal food susceptible to rodent and pest contamination. The seized products violate the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act because it was alleged in a case filed by the U.S. Attorney that they were being held under unsanitary conditions.

During an FDA inspection of a PETCO distribution center in April 2008, widespread and active rodent and bird infestation was found. Another FDA inspection in May found continuing and widespread infestation.

"We simply will not allow a company to store foods under filthy and unsanitary conditions that occur as a direct result of the company's failure to adequately control and prevent pests in its facility," says Margaret O'K. Glavin, FDA's Associate Commissioner for Regulatory Affairs. "Consumers expect that such safeguards will be in place not only for human food, but for pet food as well."

The distribution center in Joliet, Ill., provides pet food products and supplies to PETCO retail stores in 16 states: Alabama, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, and Wisconsin.

FDA has no reports of pet illness or death from consuming animal food distributed by PETCO, and does not have evidence that the food is unsafe for animals. However, the seized products were in permeable packages and held under conditions that could affect the food's integrity and quality.

Tips for Consumers

  • Consumers who have handled products originating from the PETCO distribution center should thoroughly wash their hands with hot water and soap.
  • Any surfaces that came in contact with the product packages also should be washed.
  • Products sold in cans and glass containers from PETCO in the 16 affected states should be thoroughly washed.
  • If a pet becomes ill after eating these food products, pet owners should contact their veterinarian and report illnesses to FDA's consumer complaint coordinators for their geographic areas. (See list at consumer complaint coordinators.)

This article appears on FDA's Consumer Health Information Web page, which features the latest on all FDA-regulated products.

Date Posted: June 23, 2008