Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Raw-ish Pet Food Recalled for Potential Listeria Contamination

 Stella and Chewy, a Wisconsin Pet food company is recalling their frozen pet food after sampling from the Michigan Dept of Ag found Listeria in a sample.

This product is processed by high pressure processing which, if done correctly, would eliminate pathogens such as Salmonella, E. coli, and even Listeria.   Having a high moisture level, and thus a high water activity level, the product must be frozen before packaging.  The product is tested to verify the absence of Salmonella and E. coli.  (results below) and those results are available on the company's webpage for each lot of product.

In this case, we would expect that the Listeria contamination would occur in the post-process environment, occurring after the HPP process and before packaging.  Listeria is an environmental risk for this type of product and this type of process where there is moisture and a good food source.  While we would not expect the organism to grow in the product while frozen, it would certainly grow when the product was set out at room temperature to thaw or during feeding.

So this organism would need to be controlled by the company in the post process environment.  And if you had to guess, if this lot shows contamination, other lots would show contamination if there is not a very active Listeria Control Program in place.

The company does not provide test results for Listeria.  They may be only looking at environmental samples (sponge samples from the processing environment) or not looking at all.  And even if testing was completed and shown on the lab test results, a 25 gram sample, as done for the Salmonella and the E. coli, may not be large enough to be meaningful.

FDA Recall Notice
Stella & Chewy's Voluntarily Recalls Frozen Dinner Morsel Products Due to Possible Health Risk
For Immediate Release
December 11, 2015

Contact Consumers Customer Service  888.477.8977
Media Greg Coccari  888.477.8977

Firm Press Release
View Product Photos

Stella & Chewy's is voluntarily recalling four of its products sold in the U.S. and Canada due to concerns of a possible presence of Listeria monocytogenes. The recall affects a total of 990 cases (964 cases in the U.S and 26 cases in Canada). The recall was prompted by a positive test confirming Listeria monocytogenes in Stella's Super Beef Dinner Morsels for Dogs 8.5 oz. frozen bags, lot #165-15, "Use by 6-25-2016", during routine surveillance testing by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Listeria is an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Although healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, listeria infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women.

As a precautionary measure, Stella & Chewy's is voluntarily recalling all products from Lot # 165-15, which includes:
Product DescriptionSizeUPCLot #Use By
Frozen Stella's Super Beef Dinner Morsels for Dogs8.5 oz.186011 001554165-156/25/2016
Frozen Stella's Super Beef Dinner Morsels for Dogs4 lb.186011 001370165-156/25/2016 & 6/26/2016
Frozen Duck Duck Goose Dinner Morsels for Cats1.25 lb.186011 001455165-156/25/2016
Moreover, while the below listed product has not tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes, in an abundance of caution, we are also recalling the following products which may have come into contact with the affected lot:
Product DescriptionSizeUPCLot #Use By
Frozen Chick Chick Chicken Dinner Morsels for Cats1.25 lb.186011 001448160-157/2/2016
Frozen Chick Chick Chicken Dinner Morsels for Cats1.25 lb.186011 001448152-157/2/2016
Retailers and consumers can find the full product recall list and additional information at: icon.
Consumers should look at the product descriptions, UPCs, lot numbers, and "Use By" dates on each bag for an exact match to determine if it is subject to the recall. Anyone who has purchased these products are instructed to dispose of the food or return it to the place of purchase for a full refund.

From Stella and Chewy website:

All Stella & Chewy’s products are made at our FDA-inspected plant in the metro Milwaukee, Wisconsin area. We work closely with our network of suppliers, all of whom have filed letters of guarantee confirming each ingredient is wholesome and fully compliant with federal regulations, to ensure the highest quality ingredients go into each one of our products.

We source premium meats such as grass-fed beef from North America, Australia, and New Zealand, cage-free chicken from North America, and wild-caught salmon from North America. All fruits and vegetables are certified organic, and sourced from North and South America as seasonally available. These ingredients are complemented by added minerals and vitamins to make each dinner for dogs or cats complete and balanced as determined by the American Federation of Feed Control Officials (AFFCO). Probiotics and antioxidants are added to each dinner to further enhance each recipe. 

All product is manufactured using our patented SecureByNature® food safety process. A key feature of that process is High Pressure Processing (HPP). All Stella & Chewy’s products are cold-pressed, using water at pressure equal to that found at the bottom of the ocean (87,000 lbs. per square inch), where harmful bacteria cannot survive.

HPP inactivates pathogens and harmful bacteria without high temperatures. It remains the only recognized process to not use heat as used in pasteurization, chemicals, preservatives, or irradiation, which while effective, can also erode the flavor, texture, color, and nutrition of food.

The HPP process is 100% natural and recognized by the FDA and USDA as an anti-pathogen treatment. It has been deemed as appropriate for many products, and is currently being used in meat, seafood, fruit juice, dairy products, and processed fruits & vegetables.

Stella & Chewy’s strictly follows Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HAACP) guidelines, a prevention-based food safety system established by the FDA and USDA. Low levels of safe, pathogen-fighting ozone and hydrogen peroxide prevent contamination by surface and air-borne pathogens.

While numerous steps are taken in following the proper procedures during the manufacturing process, constant monitoring also takes place to assure that the high standards established are achieved. Every batch of product is tested by an independent lab for pathogenic bacteria including salmonella and E. coli O157:H7. Only after the results are confirmed as negative is product released for shipment. Each certificate of analysis from the outside lab is posted to our website. Each product has been identified with the production lot codes for easy look-up and reference.
Results published for the recalled lot -  Lot 165-15

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