By Lisa Wade
February 23, 2009
Add more pet
treats to what seems like a never-ending list of products recalled in the
wake of this year's salmonella outbreak, which has sickened more than 600
people nationwide and may be linked to the deaths of nine others.
The company at the heart of this outbreak — the Peanut Corporation of
America (PCA) — recently filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection. That
action came within days after the company's president, Stewart Parnell,
refused to answer questions about the salmonella outbreak from the House
Energy and Commerce investigations subcommittee.
The bankruptcy action also came on the heels of state and federal
inspections of the company's facilities in Georgia
which revealed PCA shipped products it knew had
tested positive for salmonella.
The reports also revealed such unsanitary conditions at PCA's facilities as dead rodents, roaches, mold, and
bird feathers and rodent excrement in a crawl space above the production
area at one of the company's plants.
The ongoing recalls are fueled in part by Texas
authorities' recent decision to immediately pull all products made at PCA's Plainview,
Texas, plant since March
The latest products recalled in this outbreak are American Health
Kennels baked dog treats. The action specifically covers the following
• American Health Kennels, Inc., Cookie Bars: Creamy Peanut Butter UPC
725999522004; PB & Carob Chips UPC 725999523001; Lucious
Carob UPC 725999521007; 4pack Cookiebar
Assortment UPC 725999538005; Best Before: 11/09;
• American Health Kennels, Inc., Peanut Butter Crunch 12oz UPC
725999001103; 16oz UPC 725999161104; Best Before: 11/09;
• American Health Kennels, Inc. Bark Bars Peanut Butter: 1.5oz Jumbo UPC
725999000168; 2.25 Pillow Pack UPC 725999333105; 2.5lb canister UPC
725999005064; 5lb bulk UPC 725999001257; 6oz Smiles UPC 725999530009;
Giggles UPC 725999530009;
• American Health Kennels, Inc., Christmas Stocking 6oz UPC
725999000175; Christmas Card Mailer UPC 725999513003; Birthday Mailer UPC
725999528006; "With Love" Hearts UPC 725999512944; Holiday Smiles
• American Health Kennels, Inc., 100 Calorie 2oz Pillow Pack UPC
725999539101; 100 Calorie 14oz dispenser UPC 725999539200; Gravity Trial
2oz UPC 725999400166; Best Before: 11/09;
• American Health Kennels, Inc., Bark Bars Minis UPC 72599953300; Best
• American Health Kennels, Inc., Bark Bars Animal Snackers
3oz UPC 725999512098; 12oz UPC 725999512098; Best Before: 11/09;
• American Health Kennels, Inc., Bark Bars Milk & Cookies UPC
725999333808; Best Before: 11/09;
• American Health Kennels, Inc., Dog Ate My Homework Jumbo UPC
725999531006; 2oz Pillow Pack UPC 725999535004; Best Before: 11/09;
• American Health Kennels, Inc., Bark Bars Naughty or Nice UPC
725999530092; Best Before: 11/09;
• American Health Kennels, Inc., Bark Bars Carob & Peanut Butter,
2.5lb canister UPC 725999005071; 2.25oz Pillow Pack UPC 725999333402; 5lb
bulk UPC 725999003251; Best Before: 11/09;
• American Health Kennels, Inc., Bark Bars Brownie Delight 12oz UPC
725999003107; 5lb bulk UPC 725999003251; Best Before: 11/09
American Kennel said it has not received any reports of illnesses linked
to these products. "We are effecting this
recall in the interest of public safety even though we know our product is
safe," the company said in a written statement.
In recent months, more than 200 companies nationwide have pulled some
2,100 products off store shelves because they contain potentially tainted
peanut butter or paste made by PCA. The recalled products include such
items as crackers, cookies, cereal, energy bars, ice cream, and pet treats.
None of the national brands of peanut butter — including Skippy, Jif,
and Peter Pan — are included in any recalls. The makers of those products
continue to remind consumers their peanut butter is safe to eat.
Hundreds of food manufacturers, however, used PCA peanut butter and
paste as ingredients in their products. Many continue to pull products off
store shelves almost daily, making this one of the country's largest
PCA remains the focus of a criminal investigation for allegedly shipping
products it knew had tested positive for salmonella, including the strain
linked to the current outbreak — Salmonella Typhimurium.
The company also faces more than a dozen civil lawsuits.
Damaging evidence that surfaced in the investigation includes e-mails
that indicate PCA's president Stewart Parnell
ordered products he knew were tainted with salmonella to be shipped anyway.
Some of those potentially-tainted products made their way to poor school
children and victims of recent disasters.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns that salmonella can be
transferred from pets to humans. They advise pet owners to thoroughly wash
their hands before and after feeding treats to pets.
FDA officials say symptoms of salmonella poisoning in pets includes
or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting.
Some pets may also have decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain.
Salmonella is an organism that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections
in young children, frail or elderly people, and those with weakened immune systems. Symptoms
include fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting, and abdominal
In rare cases, it can cause more severe illnesses, including arterial
infections (i.e., infected aneurysms),
endocarditis, and arthritis.
Health officials say consumers should discard any products recalled in
this salmonella outbreak.
The FDA now has a database
that consumers can search to see if their favorite products are involved in