Pig ear treats have officially been cleared for canine consumption, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says.
The announcement follows five months of investigation by FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) into the link between contact with the treats and instances of human Salmonella infection. The U.S. saw 154 cases of human infection during this time, with 37 people hospitalized.
“Based on the slowed rate of human illness reports, FDA and CDC are no longer recommending people avoid purchasing or feeding pig ear pet treats entirely,” the organizations say in a news release. “If you choose to feed pig ear pet treats, you should exercise caution and practice good hygiene to prevent human exposure by monitoring your pet while they have the treat, picking up the treat when they are done with it, keeping treats away from small children, cleaning the areas the treat contacted, washing hands, and not allowing your pet to lick you, your family members, or surfaces in your home.”
Although the outbreak appears to be over, the groups will continue to monitor the marketplace as product is introduced and will provide the public with any new information as it becomes available.
Salmonella can cause illness and death in humans and animals, especially those who are very young, very old, or have weak immune systems. Pets do not always display symptoms when infected with the bacterium, but signs can include vomiting, diarrhea, fever, loss of appetite, and/or decreased activity level.