Tuesday, November 18, 2008

EXCLUSIVE REPORT: Mars Petcare's Latest Salmonella Problems

Anyone who thinks that Mars Petcare's Salmonella problems ended with the shutdown of its Everson, PA production facility is in for a disappointment.

Last month, the West Virginia Department of Agriculture (WVDA) found Salmonella in samples of Special Kitty® Gourmet Blend dry cat food and Ol' Roy® Meaty Chunks 'N Gravy dry dog food. Both products were sold at Wal-Mart, and were manufactured for Wal-Mart by Mars Petcare. WVDA issued a "stop-sale" order for both products, and advised FDA of their findings.

As a result of the WVDA actions, Mars Petcare voluntarily recalled a "limited number" of bags of the Special Kitty Gourmet Blend cat food on October 27th. Wal-Mart posted a recall notice for the cat food on its website on October 27th, but removed it within a few days.

According to Catherine Bowyer, Assistant Director, Regulatory and Environmental Affairs Division of WVDA, the state analyzed samples of the Mars Petcare dry pet food as a result of receiving consumer complaints that some dogs had become sick after purportedly eating the Mars dog food. At least two of the dogs were seen by veterinarians, but Bowyer is unaware of any lab tests having been carried out.

Ms. Bowyer told eFoodAlert that the dry cat food was contaminated with Salmonella Senftenberg; the dog food contained Salmonella Typhimurium. The two pet foods were manufactured in different production facilities.

FDA has confirmed that they are looking into West Virginia's dog food findings, but an agency spokesman said that FDA does not comment on investigations that are in progress.

If you have purchased a Mars Petcare product – from Wal-Mart or any other store – and you, your pet or a family member has experienced any symptoms of Salmonella, you should contact your family physician, your veterinarian, and your local health authority. And please tell eFoodAlert readers about your experience by posting a comment.

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