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Dog and Cat Food
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Nature's Variety Expands Pet Food Recall

By Lisa Wade McCormick,

Fear of salmonella contamination has prompted Nature’s Variety to expand its February recall of the company’s Chicken Formula and Organic Chicken Formula Raw Frozen Diets pet food products.

The Nebraska-based company this week pulled from the market all of its Chicken Formula and Organic Chicken Formula products with a “Best If Used By” date on or before February 5, 2011.

The company took this action after new test results revealed the company’s Chicken Formula Raw Frozen Diet products -- with the "Best If Used By" date of 10/29/10 and 11/9/10 -- may be tainted with salmonella.

“We believe taking this action is an important and responsible step in order to reinforce your confidence and trust,” Nature Variety’s CEO Reed Howlett said in a statement on the company’s Web site.

The products included in this expanded recall are any Chicken Formula or Organic Chicken Formula Raw Frozen Diet with a "Best If Used By" date on or before 2/5/11, including:

• UPC#7 69949 60130 2 – Chicken Formula 3 lb medallions;

• UPC#7 69949 60120 3 – Chicken Formula 6 lb patties;

• UPC#7 69949 60121 0 – Chicken Formula 2 lb single chubs;

• UPC#7 69949 50121 3 – Chicken Formula 12 lb retail display case of chubs;

• UPC#7 69949 60137 1 – Organic Chicken Formula 3 lb medallions;

• UPC#7 69949 60127 2 – Organic Chicken Formula 6 lb patties

The "Best If Used By" date is located on the back of the package above the safe handling instructions. No other Raw Frozen Diets are involved in this expanded recall, other than chicken, and no other Nature’s Variety products are included in this voluntary action, the company said.

Nature’s Variety distributed the recalled products through retail stores and Internet sales in the United States and Canada.

To address this salmonella concern, the company said it now uses High Pressure Pasteurization on its Raw Frozen Diets to kill pathogenic bacteria. It also uses a “test and hold” protocol to ensure all High Pressure Pasteurized Raw Frozen Diets test negative for harmful bacteria before they are released into the marketplace.

"Nature's Variety believes replacing all raw frozen chicken products on the market with new raw frozen chicken products that use High Pressure Pasteurization is an important and responsible step in order to reinforce consumer confidence and trust,” CEO Howlett said. "By recalling all raw frozen chicken products with ‘Best If Used By' dates on or before 2/5/11, we can provide our pet parents with new raw frozen chicken products that have been processed through High Pressure Pasteurization.

“Adopting High Pressure Pasteurization is an important step to ensure that our products meet the strictest quality and food safety standards,” he added.”

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said salmonella can cause health problems in humans and pets. People who handle salmonella-tainted pet food can also become infected, especially if they don’t thoroughly washed their hands or any surfaces exposed to the products

Salmonella in humans can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping, and fever. In rare cases, it can also cause arthritis, muscle pain, and other serious illnesses.

Pets with salmonella infections can become lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, or vomiting, the FDA said. Some pets, though, may only experience decreased appetite, fever, or abdominal pain. The FDA said consumers who have pets that have eaten the recalled products -- and are experiencing any of these symptoms -- should contact their veterinarians.

Pet owners with any of the recalled products can return the unopened packages to their local retailer for a full refund, the company said. Consumers with opened packages can bring their receipts or the empty containers in a sealed bag to their local retailer for a full refund, too.

For more information about the recall, pet owners can call the company at 800-374-3142.

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