Mars expands 15-state pet food recall to more products, more stores

Nov 26, 2008
By staff
Franklin, Tenn. - Mars Petcare has extended its Oct. 28 voluntary pet food recall that affected 15 states, adding more product carriers and brands affected by possible Salmonella contamination.

The recall previously only affected a limited number of bags of SPECIAL KITTY(r) Gourmet Blend dry cat food sold at Wal-Mart stores in 15 states that were potentially contaminated with Salmonella. The recalled bags were stamped with a "best if used by" date of Aug. 11, 2009.

The expanded recall, announced Nov. 25, extends that date to Oct. 3, 2009, and includes dry dog foods and other suppliers in addition to Wal-Mart, including BJ's Wholesale Club and ShopRite Supermarkets. Brands affected in addition to SPECIAL KITTY include Ol' Roy dog foods, Berkley & Jensen dog and cat foods, and ShopRite brand dog food. UPC codes for the affected products can be found here.

The recall was expanded after a sample of the cat food produced on Sept. 25 at an Allentown, Pa., plant tested positive for Salmonella, according to Mars Petcare.

There have been no reports of illness from consumption or handling the product, according to the Food and Drug Administration. Mars is taking "additional precautionary action" to protect pets by expanding the voluntary recall, the company says.

Mars has been investing in plants upgrades, more training for employees and new testing procedures over the last several months in an effort to head off additional contamination, the company says. A new state-of-the-art testing facility will open in 2009.

Stores selling the recalled goods will be pulling them from shelves, but pet owners who already have purchased the foods should dispose of them in a securely covered trash receptacle and return the empty bag to the store for a full refund, says Mars.

Salmonella can cause serious infections in animals and in people who handle the pet food. Human symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever, and occasionally more serious illnesses. Infected pets may be lethargic and have diarrhea, fever and vomiting. Some may show only decreased appetite and fever. Still others can be carriers with no visible symptoms, but infect people or other animals.