Pig-ear dog treats linked to salmonella outbreak in 13 states

By Kate Gibson

/ MoneyWatch

Pig ears sold as dog treats in 33 states are being recalled due to an outbreak of salmonella. Pet Supplies Plus is recalling bulk pig ears sold in open bins at its more than 400 stores across the country, the retail chain said in a notice posted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The FDA and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are investigating contaminated pig ears, with evidence indicating that contact with the dog treats is the likely source of a salmonella outbreak that has sickened 45 people, including 12 hospitalizations, in 13 states.

None of the 45 cases are confirmed to be a result of purchasing pig ears from Pet Supplies Plus, the retailer stated.

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"Testing by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development revealed that aging bulk pig ear product in one of our stores tested positive for salmonella," according to the retailer. "We have pulled bulk pig ear product from the shelves of all of our stores and have stopped shipping bulk pig ears from our distribution center."

What's behind the rise in foodborne illnesses?

Salmonella can affect animals eating contaminated products as well as the humans who handled the sickened animals as well as the infected product. The salmonella infection causes symptoms including nausea, vomiting, bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever in people, and in rare cases, more serious ailments. Pets with salmonella infections could be lethargic and have diarrhea, fever and vomiting.

Bulk pig ears were distributed to Pet Supplies Plus stores in Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin and West Virginia.

Consumers who purchased bulk pig ears should throw them away, and those with further questions can call (734) 793-6564 Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. E.T., Pet Supplies said.

The recall is among recent health concerns regarding what pets eat, with the FDA recently identifying 16 brands of dog food more frequently connected to a spike in canine heart disease.

First published on July 5, 2019 / 5:30 PM

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc.. All Rights Reserved.

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