Although no illnesses had been reported and after potentially contaminated dog treat products had been removed from store shelves, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned consumers not to use Merrick Beef Filet Squares for dogs with a package date of “Best By 111911” because the product may be contaminated with salmonella.
On Jan. 11, 2010, Amarillo, Texas-based Merrick Pet Care notified 82 retail stores that may have received product from 72 affected cases of the product about the potential contamination. All potentially contaminated product (Item # 60016/Lot Code “9323 best buy 111911) had been removed from store shelves by Wednesday, Jan. 13, Merrick reported.
About 20 cases of the affected lot (0323 best buy 111911) were unaccounted for and presumed to be sold to pet owners.
The warning is limited to the affected product, which is packaged in a green, red and tan re-sealable 10-oz. bag. Merrick advises all consumers to review the lot code stamped on the top of the bag and to dispose of any Beef Filet Squares from lot “9323 best buy 111911.”
The date code is imprinted on the top portion of the bag and likely torn off when the package is opened, according to the FDA. The government recommended that consumers who are unable to determine the date code discontinue use of the product.
The FDA reported it detected a positive finding for salmonella during routine testing in December 2009. A subsequent inspection “found deficiencies in the packaging and manufacturing processes,” according to the FDA.
Specifically, the FDA warned consumers not to handle the product or feed them to their pets. Salmonella can affect both humans and animals, with symptoms including diarrhea, fever, vomiting and abdominal pain in both humans and animals. The FDA recommends contacting a physician or veterinarian if these symptoms occur.