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If you have this pet food, don’t even touch it

Published Mar 5th, 2021 2:23PM EST
pet food recall
Image: University of Sheffield

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Generally speaking, pet food recalls are targeted at the animals that would be eating the food. They’re commonly issued after toxins or other unwanted byproducts of the manufacturing process end up in the food in high quantities, and pet owners need to heed the warnings in order to prevent their pets from falling ill. A new, relatively small-scale recall issued by the Vitakraft Sun Seed company of Weston, Ohio, is important for both the health of the pets as well as the health of their human owners.

In a new recall bulletin posted by the FDA, Vitakraft explains why it’s recalling one of its lots of hedgehog food. The product, which is sold in 25oz containers, is potentially tainted with a bacteria that is often at the center of food recalls for humans: Salmonella. The recall is small in scale, with just one lot of the food being affected (at least so far), but it’s more serious than many pet food recalls in that the food may contaminate whatever it touches, making both pet owners and their animals sick.

The discovery of the Salmonella contamination was made during a routine, random test of a sample of the food. So far, the company says it has not received any complaints of illness, but that doesn’t make the situation any less serious.

From the FDA’s bulletin:

Pets with Salmonella infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting. Some pets will have only decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian.

In humans, the symptoms are often similar to those in animals, with cramping, diarrhea (which may also be bloody), fever, nausea, and vomiting. In a person with a compromised immune system or other condition that makes them more vulnerable to serious health outcomes, the symptoms can be even more severe. The bacterial contamination can also lead to infections of the eyes, urinary tract, and even arteries.

The company says that it has contacted retailers that would have received the product and asked them to pull it from store shelves, but the food that was previously purchased by pet owners is now the primary concern. The food that is being recalled has an expiration date of September 6th, 2022, meaning that it’s still well over a year before a customer might naturally throw the food out due to it being too old.

If you purchased any of this pet food you are urged to avoid feeding it to your pet or even touching the food directly. You should sanitize anything the food may have touched and either throw it away or return it to the place of purchase for a refund of the price.

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