Among the recalled items are selected lots of Petco pig ears, Target bully sticks and Nutri-Vet jerky. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration reported the recall Feb. 21.
The recall came nearly three months after the FDA warned pet owners about a single lot of Nature’s Deli Chicken Jerky Dog Treats sold at Costco and produced by Kasel. The agency issued the advisory Dec. 6 after Kasel declined to voluntarily recall the treats, which were identified as possibly being tainted by salmonella.
Positive salmonella tests led Kasel last fall to recall some Boots & Barkley Roasted American Pig Ears and Boots & Barkley American Variety Pack Dog Treats sold at Target and another lot of Nature’s Deli Chicken Jerky Dog Treats sold at Sam’s Club.
No people have been sickened by salmonella linked to the company’s treats, but a small number of animals fell ill, the FDA stated.
Company owner Ray Kasel defended the plant’s practices and accused the FDA of blowing the salmonella issue out of proportion.
“The truth of the matter is that the FDA was in this facility two weeks ago,” Kasel said Monday. “They tested all the products in the plant. All those samples were negative, yet the FDA hasn’t put out that information.”
The latest recall involves all pet treats manufactured by Kasel Associated from April 20 through Sept. 19, 2012. The action followed a Colorado Department of Agriculture test that found salmonella in a retail pet treat sample.
The company owner didn’t dispute any of the positive salmonella tests—“The state claims they found a positive, they found a positive”—but said the organism is present in facilities that process meat.
“The meats all come from [U.S. Department of Agriculture] plants, and those meats are all allowed to contain salmonella,” Kasel said. “That's why you cook the meats—to kill the salmonella.”
Kasel described FDA inspections of his plant as thorough.
“The FDA inspector was crawling all over the floors,” he said of a September visit. “Except for one positive they found on a conveyor, all the other positive swabs were found on the floors of the plant.”
The most recent visit, he said, involved 117 swabs.
“The only positives they could find—and that was three of them—were found on the floors on the raw side of the plant,” he said.
The FDA reported that at least 10 species of salmonella have been found in the firm’s products and plant, indicating multiple sources of contamination.
Kasel said his company started a test-and-hold policy in September 2012 under which products are not shipped until a third-party laboratory confirms that a sample is free of contaminants.
“Every night everything is torn down, completely cleaned and completely disinfected,” he said. “We’ve gone to swabbing the floor for microbials. The floors are disinfected every night. We've taken extra safeguards to control cross-contamination.”
Kasel Associated also makes human foods.
“Two days after the FDA left my plant last year, there was a third-party audit,” the owner said. “We scored in the high 90s as a human food plant. This plant has always scored in the mid to high 90s as a human food-grade plant. This plant has very good hygiene.”
Open for more than 20 years, Kasel Associated never had a positive salmonella test until last year, the owner said.
The new recall covers more than 60 products, including some items distributed by Petco, Menards, Bixbi, Target, Nutri-Vet, Sam's Club, Costco and TDBBS Inc.
A complete list of the recalled products is available at www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls.