The OC Raw Dog company's turn in the raw dog food recall line came up Friday and it was a two-for-one turn, involving listeria and a potential for botulism based on sardine size.
About 1,560 pounds of OC Raw Dog's chicken, fish and produce raw frozen canine formulation covering four varieties got recalled after New Jersey's Department of Agriculture found listeria in a sample of the product. Customers with 3-pound Meaty Rox bags; 4-pound Slider Bags; 6.5-pound Doggie Dozen Patty Bags; or 7-pound Meaty Rox Bags should look on the back lower left corner for a sticker with lot No. 3652 and expiration date of Oct. 11, 2018.
That's the recalled lot that went to distributors in Florida, California, Colorado, Maryland, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Vermont. From those distribution points, it went to specialty retail stores in countless states.
Pets with listeria can suffer from diarrhea, fever, anorexia, muscle, respiratory problems, even death. They can also, even with light infection with no symptoms, transfer it to humans, who might also get it by handling food with listeria or unclean surfaces that contaminated food has touched. Pregnant women, newborns, senior citizens and people with compromised immune systems are most vulnerable to the harshest listeria hits. The Centers for Disease Control says 1,600 people get listeria each year in the United States and 260 die from it.
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OC Raw Dog's 3.2-ounce bags of Freeze Dried Sardines have been recalled on size profiling. Some are too big, as the company-written, FDA-posted recall notice states:
"The FDA has determined that salt-cured, dried, or fermented un-eviscerated fish larger than 5 inches have been linked to outbreaks of botulism poisoning between 1981 and 1987 and again in 1991. Because OC Raw Dog Freeze Dried Sardines are larger than 5 inches there is a possible health risk."
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture found 6.5-inch fish in the sardines. The product didn't test positive for botulism or salmonella nor have there been any reported illnesses. Specialty pet stores in Florida, California, Texas, Maryland, Minnesota, Colorado and Pennsylvania sold this product.
As the notice says, in addition to death to pets or humans, botulism can bring "dizziness, blurred or double vision, trouble with speaking or swallowing, difficulty breathing, muscle weakness, abdominal distension, and constipation."
Customers with these products should return them to the place of purchase for a full refund. Anyone with questions can call 1-844-215-DOGS, Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Eastern time.
These are the fourth and fifth raw pet food recalls in a week. The FDA's zero tolerance for salmonella, listeria and E. coli in uncooked pet food tends to affect the smaller, raw pet food manufacturers much more than the larger manufacturers of bagged and pre-cooked canned foods.