Editor’s Note: This article was updated on Oct. 30, 2019, to note that “Based on the slowed rate of human illness reports, the FDA and CDC are no longer recommending that people avoid purchasing or feeding pig ear pet treats entirely.”
Cause: Potential for salmonella contamination
Announcement: FDA announcements dated July 3, 2019 (archived here), July 26, 2019 (archived here); July 30, 2019 (archived here); Aug. 16, 2019 (archived here); Aug. 27, 2019 (archived here); Sept. 3, 2019 (archived here); and Sept. 24, 2019 (archived here)
What was recalled: The following 6 brands of pig ear dog treats:
1. Pet Supplies Plus
- All bulk pig ear dog treats stocked in open bins, from various vendors (not prepackaged, branded pig ears)
These recalled pig ears were sold as dog treats in pet stores across the United States, as well as online.
They were distributed to Pet Supplies Plus stores in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin and West Virginia.
- Lennox Premium Natural Pig Ears, 8-pack bundles, with UPC code 742174995163 or 742174994166
- Lennox Premium Natural Pig Ears, individually shrink-wrapped, with UPC code 0385384810 or 742174P35107 (may not have the Lennox brand name on the label)
The Lennox pig ears were shipped to distributors and retail stores across the country from Nov. 1, 2018, to July 3, 2019. Lennox Intl Inc. says it’s aware of at least 2 dog illnesses and “several” human illnesses that have been caused by salmonella contamination.
3. Chef Toby
- Chef Toby Pig Ears Treats with the following lot codes: 428590, 278989, 087148, 224208, 1168723, 428590, 222999, 074599, 1124053, 226884, 578867, 224897, 1234750, 444525, 1106709, 215812, 230273, 224970, 585246, 327901, 052248, 210393, 217664, 331199, 225399, 867680, 050273, 881224, 424223, 225979, 431724, 226340, 880207 or 334498
The Chef Toby pig ears were distributed by Dog Goods USA LLC to various retailers across the United States between September 2018 and August 2019.
“No illnesses have been linked to the products to date,” the company says.
4. Berkley Jensen
- Berkley Jensen Pig Ears Dog Chews sold at BJ’s Wholesale Club stores in 30-count packs
These specific packs of Berkley Jensen pig ears were distributed by Dog Goods USA LLC to BJ’s Wholesale Club stores between September 2018 and August 2019. These pig ears were recalled as part of an expansion of the Chef Toby pig ears recall noted above.
“Dog Goods will continue to investigate the matter, collaborate fully with the FDA and the CDC, and provide further information to its customers and the public as appropriate,” the company stated.
5. Brutus & Barnaby
- All sizes of Brutus & Barnaby Pig Ears Natural Treats for Dogs
Brutus & Barnaby says its recalled pig ears were distributed online as well as through a health food store in Clearwater, Florida, called Nature’s Food Patch.
“Brutus & Barnaby has ceased the production and distribution of the product as FDA and the company continue their investigation as to what caused the problem,” according to the recall announcement.
6. Best Bully Sticks
- 8-Pack Best Bully Sticks USA Pig Ears (UPC #X001768PNB):
- Best by April 22, 2021, Lot #1129T1
- Best by June 6, 2021, Lot #1549T1
- 20-Pack Best Bully Sticks USA Pig Ears (UPC #X000RBC5VF):
- Best by April 22, 2021, Lot #1129T1
- Best by May 13, 2021, Lot #1339T1
- Best by Aug. 5, 2021, Lot #2179T1
No other Best Bully Sticks treats or products are part of this recall — just the specific lots and dates of whole pig ear dog treats listed above.
This limited recall of Best Bully Sticks pig ears was announced by the company, TDBBS LLC, “as a strictly precautionary measure” because of possible salmonella contamination. The pig ears were sold online via Amazon.com from April 22 to Aug. 13, 2019.
“No illnesses have been reported, and the amount of affected product is minimal,” according to the company.
If you have any of the Best Bully Sticks pig ear dog treats listed above, dispose of them right away. You may email or call the company at 877-483-5853 for refund information.
About These Pig Ear Recalls
All of these pig ear recalls followed a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory on July 3, 2019, warning consumers of the potential for bulk pig ears like these to be contaminated with salmonella.
For several months during 2019, the FDA worked alongside the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to investigate dozens of cases of human-contracted salmonella, including hospitalizations. They suspected those cases may be connected to contaminated pig ears.
According to the CDC, about 88% of sick people “reported contact with a dog before getting sick,” and about 70% “reported contact with pig ear dog treats or with dogs who were fed pig ear dog treats.”
The FDA said it was reaching out to “impacted firms to remove these pig ears from the marketplace and identify other places where they may have been distributed.”
Consumers Were Told to Avoid Pig Ear Treats
In a July 31, 2019, update to its advisory, the FDA recommended that consumers not purchase any pig ear treats — regardless of whether or not the brand has been recalled.
“FDA and CDC are advising that consumers avoid all pig ear pet treats and retailers stop selling all pig ear treats at this time,” the FDA said. The CDC added that “recommendations may change as more information becomes available.”
On Oct. 30, 2019, the FDA issued another update, advising that “Based on the slowed rate of human illness reports, the FDA and CDC are no longer recommending that people avoid purchasing or feeding pig ear pet treats entirely.”
In all, 154 people reportedly fell ill due to salmonella infections.
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There were more recalls in 2019. See the previous one:
(Or browse recalls by brand name)