Latest FDA Pet Food Recall Contributes to Worrying Trend

By: Julia Mehalko | Last updated: Jul 12, 2024

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned pet owners to throw away potentially dangerous dog treats that have been recalled because they may have “metal objects” in them.

This recall notice comes as Americans have noticed an increasing amount of pet treats and food being recalled in the last few years, which has concerned many pet owners.

Recalled Dog Treats

The FDA’s website was recently updated to reveal that Green Tripe dog treats, made by TDBBS LLC, have been voluntarily recalled. About 3,551 bags sold online from February 2024 to May 2024 have been recalled.

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These treats were sold throughout the United States at both retail outlets and online. The brands “Barkworthies” and “Best Bully Sticks” sold these specific items.

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Metal Found in Treats

This voluntary recall has occurred because these treats were found to possibly have metal. The FDA has stated that this recall happened “due to the potential presence of foreign metal objects.”

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The announcement also warned that “the potential presence of metal objects could pose a health hazard to your dog.”

What To Look For If You Think You Bought These Treats

The FDA website states owners should only worry about the products distributed between February and May 2024.

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For the Barkworthies 7oz bag, look for lot codes WO151768 and WO152373. For the Best Bully Sticks 2lb bag, the affected lot codes are WO152669, WO1153321, and WO152107. For the Best Bully Sticks 5lb bag, the codes are WO151401, WO152319, and WO153179.  The best-by dates may also help indicate when the food was distributed.

How to Get The Return Process Started

There is potential to get some money back. Although the FDA is calling for pet owners to throw their treats away immediately, they have also provided an avenue to initiate a return for recalled pet food.

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You can get in contact with TDBBS LLC to start the return process or send them any queries at [email protected] or call 877-483-5853 between Monday and Friday, 8am to 5pm EST.

Pet Injuries

Luckily, there haven’t yet been any reports that suggest pets have become injured or ill after consuming these Green Tripe dog treats.

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However, the recall announcement has explained that owners should keep a close eye on their dog if they believe they have given them this treat. If their pet exhibits signs of illness, then they should immediately get in touch with a veterinarian.

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What Metal Poisoning May Look Like in Your Dog

If you are worried your dog may have ingested any metal objects from dog treats or from roaming outside, there are symptoms you can spot.

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Pain in the abdomen, diarrhea that may contain blood, vomiting, rapid heart rate, painting, shock, drowsiness, and tremors are all potential symptoms of metal poisoning in dogs. If your dog is displaying these symptoms and you think they may have ingested metal, seek urgent veterinary advice.

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The Long-Term Health Effects of Exposure to Metal in Your Dog

The FDA is urging owners to immediately throw away or destroy the recalled pet food. Keeping the food in your cupboard runs the risk of long-term exposure to heavy metals by accidentally feeding your dog affected food.

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Long-term exposure to metal can severely impact your dog’s health. Metal exposure over time can cause neurological problems, digestive issues, heart disease, and even kidney or liver damage.

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Get Rid of Dog Treats

The company that made these Green Tripe dog treats has also told purchasers that they should immediately throw away these treats and completely stop feeding them to their pets.

A person handing a dog treats in his hand.

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Customers can also return these recalled products and speak to TDBBS LLC if they have any concerns or questions about their specific situation.

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Removing Recalled Treats

Now that the company has found out its Green Tripe treats may be contaminated with foreign metal objects, TDBBS LLC is working to ensure all potentially affected products are completely taken off shelves and removed from their inventory.

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This removal — as well as their communication with distributors and retailers — will help ensure these contaminated treats are no longer sold to customers.

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How Metal Got Into These Treats

So far, the company hasn’t explained what type of foreign metal has been found in these dog treats. They also haven’t clarified where this metal came from, or how this foreign object could have potentially ended up in the treats in the first place.

A person feeding a dog a treat amid a black background.

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As the company works to investigate this contamination, this information may be released to the public in the future.

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Other Pet Product Recalls

These Green Tripe treats are just the latest pet products to be recalled. Similarly to regular food items that humans ingest, pet food and treats can be recalled because of a variety of different possible contaminations.

A close-up of a bowl of dog food.

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For example, pet food can be recalled because of fear of salmonella contamination. Salmonella contamination often also leads to regular human food products being taken off shelves.

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Other Reasons a Dog Treat Might Be Recalled

The FDA takes a zero-tolerance approach to salmonella in pet food. But there are still other reasons that pet food might be recalled. Between 2017 and 2023, the most common hazard behind pet food recalls was due to overages or deficiencies.

Five jars of dog treats are in focus while others are in the background.

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The most prolific hazard was elevated non-protein nitrogen. This accounted for 18 recalls out of 90, closely followed by 15 recalls for elevated copper and 14 for elevated monensin.

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How Pet Foods Get Recalled

There are various ways a product might get recalled by the FDA. Sometimes the FDA will review reported health incidents or investigate a product themselves and find that they are a threat to public health.

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In the case of TDBBS LLC, this was a voluntary recall, in which they got in contact with the FDA urging for a recall after finding loose metal pieces in the food themselves.

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Another Metal Contamination

However, perhaps more worryingly, this latest pet treat recall is one of the latest recalls that has occurred because of possible metal contamination.

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Just last month, more than 300 bags of Pedigree Adult Complete Nutrition Grilled Steak & Vegetable Flavor Dry Dog Food, which was sold in four different states, was recalled because it also contained metal objects.

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An Increase in Pet Food Recalls?

These latest incidents come as some pet owners fear that they’re seeing an increase in pet food and treats being recalled for a variety of different reasons.

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New data has even suggested that these worries are warranted, as 2024 is on track to have more pet item recalls than seen in previous years.

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The Number of Recalls Due to Foreign Metal Objects Is on the Rise

This is not an isolated case. There has been a significant increase in the number of pet food recalls over the last few years, including for instances of loose pieces of metal being found inside the products.

A brown and white dog is laying next to a bowl of dog food. The dog is laying on a grey tile floor with a yellow chair and a pot plant behind it.

Newsweek reported that over 300 bags of dog kibble from Pedigree were recalled after they were found to contain metal foreign objects. These bags were sold in Arkansas, Lousisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas.

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Why Has There Been a Spike in Pet Food Recalls?

The increase in pet food recalls has not appeared out of nowhere. One of the main reasons for this rise in recalls is due to more thorough regulatory oversight in recent years by the FDA itself.

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Matt Lowe, chief strategy officer at MasterControl, told Pet Food Processing: “These changes will require organizations to see quality assurance not just as a cost center, but as a strategic priority for business.”

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The Year Started Off with Many Complaints Around Pet Food

With the increase in pet food recalls, it is no surprise that the FDA received 971 pet food-related complaints in January alone.

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FDA told Newsweek that 886 of the reports were about Purina products. The remaining 85 complaints were about 24 other brands. As of May this year, there have been 1,312 reported incidents of sick pets this year “ranging from minor to many very serious”.

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Why Pet Food Is Mostly Recalled

While these latest two pet item recalls have to do with foreign metal objects being potentially found in the items, studies have shown that most pet food is recalled because of possible salmonella contamination.

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About 44% of all pet food recalls that occurred in the country from 2017 to November 2023 have happened because of this potential salmonella contamination.

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Human Illnesses From Pet Food Recalls

Interestingly, many dogs and cats that become infected with salmonella don’t necessarily get very sick. Their illnesses tend to be very minor.

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However, humans can become very ill if they handle pet treats or food that are contaminated with salmonella, as seen in a study that analyzed the 154 people who became infected from salmonella-contaminated pig ear dog chews from 2015 to 2019.

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How You Could Catch an Illness From Your Pets

According to Forbes, 1.3 million people are infected with salmonella every year in the U.S., 26,000 of which are hospitalized. People can fall ill if they touch the infected food or containers. Salmonella is also contagious from touching the saliva or stool of the infected pet.

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Symptoms of salmonella poisoning include diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps.  Drink plenty of fluids and seek medical attention if you are severely ill.

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Other Ways You Can Make Sure Your Pet's Food Is Safe

If you are worried about the safety of your pet’s food, there are precautions you can take before you even take the food off the shelf.

A brown paper bag is spilling dog treats in the shape of bones.

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Make sure you only buy food in good condition, avoiding damaged packaging or missing labels. Always check for ingredients your pet might be allergic to. The food should also meet AAFCO nutrient standards. The packaging should state that it has been AAFCO-tested.

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How to Make a Complaint About Your Pet Food

You can file a complaint to the FDA via an online Safety Reporting Portal. You can also call the FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinators. The numbers needed to complain are on the FDA website according to state and region.

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In order to process the complaint, you would need to provide the product details, the problem with the product and how your pet has been affected.

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