The ASPCA has advised pet owners to discontinue using peanut butter products that contain peanut butter or peanut paste from distributor Peanut Corp. of America (PCA) because the products have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is investigating sources of Salmonella typhimurium traced to PCA’s plant in Blakely, Ga. More than two dozen brands containing the company’s peanut butter or paste have been recalled due to possible health risks.
PCA does not sell peanut butter directly to consumers, but rather to institutions and manufacturers. Many consumers are contacting manufacturers of peanut butter-based products to determine if they contain the recalled ingredients.
Most of the recalled products are for humans, including ice cream, cookies, and nutrition bars. On Jan. 18, Peanut Corp. of America expanded its list of recalled products to include pet food paste. Phoenix, Ariz.-based pet store chain PetSmart voluntarily recently recalled seven of its Grreat Choice Dog Biscuit products that contain peanut paste made by PCA.
As of Jan. 21, the outbreak of Salmonella typhimurium has sickened 486 people from 43 states and Canada. Of those individuals, 107 were hospitalized and six deaths have been reported. The FDA has not reported any cases of pets falling ill due to the outbreak.
In a release issued Jan. 21, the ASPCA recommended pet owners discontinue the use of all affected products immediately and to be cautious of other products that contain peanut butter but have not been recalled.
While healthy adult dogs are fairly resistant to illness from Salmonella bacteria, pets with health issues, young puppies, and elderly or pregnant dogs who may have compromised immune systems could be at greater risk for becoming ill. In addition, pet owners handling contaminated products may also develop food poisoning.
Dr. Steven Hansen, the ASPCA’s senior vice president of animal health services, suggested pet owners wash their hands after handling any potentially contaminated food and immediately consult with a veterinarian if any signs or symptoms are noticed in their pets. Pet owners can also contact the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435.
Dogs who become ill from Salmonella may exhibit symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, fever, lethargy, and drooling or panting — an indication of nausea. Cats may develop high fever with non-specific clinical signs.
For a complete list of affected brands and more information on the recall, visit the FDA’s recall page.