Animal & Veterinary

FDA Investigates Outbreak of Salmonella Infections Linked to Raws for Paws Ground Turkey Food for Pets

Updated 7/27: Through whole genome sequencing, this Raws for Paws raw turkey pet food has been identified as matching an outbreak strain of Salmonella Reading, which is being investigated by the Centers for Disease Control and USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service. The outbreak strain has also been identified in other raw turkey products and live turkeys and has infected 90 people reported from 26 states.

February 9, 2018

On this page:

Fast Facts
What is the Problem and What is being Done About It?
What are the Symptoms of Salmonella Infection?
How Soon After Exposure do Symptoms Appear?
What are the Complications of Salmonella Infections?
Who is at Risk?
What Do Retailers Need to Do?
What Do Consumers Need To Do?
Who Should be Contacted?
Additional Information

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, along with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture and Minnesota Department of Health, is investigating two Salmonella Reading illnesses in Minnesota that are linked to Raws for Paws Ground Turkey Food for Pets.

Fast Facts

  • The FDA advises consumers not to feed pets certain lots of Raws For Paws Ground Turkey Food for Pets because the product may be contaminated with Salmonella, the presence of which has the potential to cause salmonellosis in humans and animals. The product is sold online by Christofersen Meats Company, Inc., dba Swanson Meats, in Minneapolis, MN (no relation to Swanson Meals).
  • The Minnesota Department of Health reports that two children in a single household became sick from Salmonella Reading (S. Reading).
  • Testing performed by the Minnesota Department of Health and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture demonstrated that the same strain of S. Reading found in the ill children was also found in four samples of Raws for Paws Ground Turkey Food for Pets that was used to feed the family dog.
  • Christofersen Meats Company, Inc. recalled the Raws for Paws product on February 5, 2018 and began directly notifying its customers on the same day.
  • This outbreak is of particular public health importance because of the potential hazard to both human and animal health.

What is the Problem and What is Being Done About It?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, along with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture and Minnesota Department of Health, is investigating two Salmonella Reading (S. Reading) illnesses in Minnesota that are linked to all lots of Raws for Paws Ground Turkey Food for Pets manufactured on October 12, 2017.

The Minnesota Department of Health reports that two children in a single household were exposed to contaminated Raws for Paws product, which was used to feed the family dog. One child’s illness resulted in septicemia (blood infection) and osteomyelitis, a painful and serious bone infection.

Testing performed by the Minnesota Department of Health and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture demonstrated that the same strain of S. Reading found in the ill children was also found in four samples of Raws for Paws Ground Turkey Food for Pets that was used to feed the family pet.

On February 5, 2018, Christofersen Meats Company, Inc., manufacturer of Raws for Paws Ground Turkey Food for Pets, recalled all lots of Raws for Paws Ground Turkey Food for Pets that were manufactured on October 12, 2017.

The recalled product is packaged into 1-pound and 5-pound sealed plastic tubes, also known as chubs. The chubs are packaged into regular Turkey Pet Food cases with case codes of 9900008, 9900009. They are also packaged into Pet Food Combo Pack cases, which contain a variety of pet food products, with case codes 9900014 and 9900015.

The recalled lot codes and the manufacturing dates are printed on the cardboard case label. However, they are not printed on the individual plastic chub packaging. Therefore, if the cardboard case has been discarded, there are no unique identification numbers on the individual chubs that allow customers to determine that they possess the recalled products.

If you purchased this product since October 12, 2017 and cannot determine whether it is affected by the recall, the FDA recommends that you exercise caution and throw the product away.

Christofersen Meats Company, Inc. initiated the recall of the product lots by notifying customers directly. The product is sold online through direct-to-consumer sales via www.rawsforpaws.com.disclaimer icon On February 8, 2018, Christofersen Meats Company, Inc. also issued a press release announcing the recall.

The FDA is working with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture to trace back the Ground Turkey Food for Pets to identify the source of the pathogen, where the product was distributed, and to learn more about the potential route of contamination.

This outbreak is of particular public health importance because of the potential hazard to both human and animal health. Pets can get sick from Salmonella, but may also be carriers of the bacteria and can infect humans. Pets do not have to be apparently ill to be able to pass Salmonella onto their human companions.

Raw pet food is more likely than other types of pet food to contain Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes. Pet owners who choose to feed raw pet food should be aware of the risks associated with these products.

The FDA has a zero-tolerance policy for Salmonella or other pathogenic bacteria in all pet food, meaning the agency will take action, as appropriate, against any commercially-made pet food found to be contaminated with the harmful bacteria.

What are the Symptoms of Salmonella Infection?

Most people infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps. The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days, and most people recover without treatment.

Pets do not always display symptoms when infected with Salmonella, but signs can include vomiting, diarrhea (which may be bloody), fever, loss of appetite and/or decreased activity level. Pets can transmit Salmonella to humans without showing any signs of the illness themselves.

How Soon After Exposure do Symptoms Appear?

Most people infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection.

Although not all pets display symptoms when infected, those who do may have symptoms within 72 hours of infection. Pets do not need to display symptoms to be able to pass Salmonella onto their human companions.

What are the Complications of Salmonella Infections?

In some people, the diarrhea may be so severe that they need to be hospitalized. In these patients, the Salmonella infection may spread from the intestines to the blood stream and then to other body sites and can cause death unless the person is treated promptly with antibiotics.

Who is at Risk?

Young children are particularly at risk for salmonellosis if they handle or ingest contaminated pet food or unwashed bowls used to feed the pet food. Very young children may also be exposed by crawling on or otherwise touching contaminated surfaces and put their hands or other objects in their mouth (without handwashing), or have oral contact with an animal that has consumed contaminated pet food, or with that animal’s feces. Others at increased risk of serious infection are the elderly, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems.

What Do Retailers Need To Do?

Retailers, distributors and other operators who have offered the recalled products for sale should wash and sanitize display cases and refrigerators where potentially contaminated products were stored.

What Do Consumers Need To Do?

Consumers should not feed their pets recalled lots of Raws for Paws Ground Turkey Food for Pets raw pet food from Christofersen Meats Co, Inc. Consumers who purchased this raw pet food should throw it away. People who think they might have become ill or their pets may be ill from exposure to contaminated raw pet food should talk to their health care providers or veterinarians.

Consumers who had this product in their homes should clean their refrigerator and clean and disinfect all bowls, utensils, food prep surfaces, pet bedding, toys, floors, and any other surfaces that the food or pet may have had contact with.

Who Should be Contacted?

People who think they might have become ill due to exposure to contaminated raw pet food or the feces of pets that have eaten contaminated raw pet food should talk to their health care providers.

Contact your healthcare provider if you have diarrhea that lasts for more than three days, or is accompanied by high fever, blood in the stool, or so much vomiting that you cannot keep liquids down and you pass very little urine.

People who think their pets have become ill after consuming contaminated raw pet food should contact their veterinarians. Veterinarians who wish to have dogs tested for Salmonella may do so through the Vet-LIRN Network if the pet is from a household with a person infected with Salmonella.

The FDA encourages consumers to report complaints about this and other pet food products electronically through the Safety Reporting Portal or by calling their state’s FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinators.


The information in this release reflects the FDA’s best efforts to communicate what it has learned from the manufacturer and the state and local public health agencies involved in the investigation. The agency will update this page as more information becomes available.

Additional Information

 

Page Last Updated: 07/27/2018
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