April 17, 2009
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has warned consumers not to purchase or use a national cat food product because it contains salmonella bacteria. However, the manufacturer says the product is safe for cats and has faulted FDA guidelines.
The FDA on Feb. 13 said that it detected salmonella bacteria in Wild Kitty Cat Food during a routine inspection Dec. 27 in which it collected and analyzed a sample of frozen raw Wild Kitty Cat Food.
Salmonella bacteria infection can cause high fever, severe headache, vomiting, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea in humans as well as cats. Long-term complications can include arthritis.
The product, Wild Kitty Cat Food, is sold nationwide to retail stores and through distributors and Internet sales, nationwide. The FDA says after it discovered the salmonella, it contacted the food manufacturer, who refused to recall the product despite several requests that it do so.
Stephanie Nadeau, the owner of Maine-based Wild Kitty Cat Food Co., confirmed the FDA’s recall requests, but told Veterinary Practice News that her company will not comply. She says is there is no need to do so. All FDA guidelines for the tainted product were followed, she said, adding that pathogens such as salmonella are inherent in any raw poultry product.
“We’re in complete compliance with the current laws governing all manufacturers of raw pet food as set forth by the FDA. The FDA realizes that if they have a raw meat product, they can’t get (all) the salmonella out of it. They can’t get the salmonella out of the poultry supply. The FDA realizes this,” she said.
Specific products covered by the FDA warning are Wild Kitty Raw All Natural, Frozen Cat Food – Chicken with Clam Recipe, Net Wt. 3.5 oz (100g) and 1 lb in plastic containers. Some of these containers could be uncoded.
Nadeau said that she will not comply with recall request based on principle, despite the economic harm the FDA announcement could cause her company and the harm to her company’s reputation.
“They may very well put me out of business,” she said of the FDA. “I am very worried about it.”
The FDA, however, says that consumers who have purchased the Wild Kitty product shouldn’t feed it to their pets, but should instead safely dispose of it and that anyone experiencing the symptoms of salmonella infection after having handled the product should seek medical attention, and then to report use of the product and illness to FDA’s Office of Emergency Operations.
In addition, people who have concerns whether their pet has salmonella should contact a veterinarian, the FDA says.
Nadeau said that her company has not had a single health-related complaint about its products, regarding salmonella or otherwise, since the company was founded in 2005.
To report any injuries or problems with Wild Kitty Cat Food, contact the FDA’s Office of Emergency Operations. Phone numbers to call in each U.S. state are available through the FDA website: http://www.fda.gov/opacom/backgrounders/complain.html
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