Stella and Chewy’s Voluntary Recall Update

Stella and Chewy’s had one lot of   Chewy’s Chicken Freeze-Dried Dinner Patties for Dogs, 15 oz. bags (Lot # 111-15) identified by the Maryland Dept of Agriculture as testing positive for  Listeria monocytogenes.     Out of an “abundance of caution” they are also recalling several other lots of product that MAY have been exposed to the affected lot but have NOT tested positive.       Wholesome Pet Essentials has identified one lot of cat food that we had in inventory that is on the list and as of this time believe only one customer may be impacted by this recall and they are being contacted.      All the information from Stella and Chewy’s is listed here:

Stella & Chewy’s Voluntary U.S. Recall Notice

Saturday, July 4th, 2015 at 9:30 pmJuly 4, 2015

 

Dear Valued Customers:

On Thursday, Stella & Chewy’s was notified by the Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) that it issued a stop sale order on a single lot of Chewy’s Chicken Freeze-Dried Dinner Patties for Dogs, 15 oz. bags (Lot # 111-15) because MDA detected Listeria monocytogenes in the product. There were no reported pet or human illnesses associated with this recall. Since learning this news, we have been working quickly to review the situation to find answers to the important questions on our customers’ minds. As a precautionary measure, we are voluntarily recalling all products from Lot # 111-15 which are listed below.

Furthermore, while they have not tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes, in an abundance of caution, we are also voluntarily recalling a number of products that may have been exposed to the affected lot (please see the second chart below). The health and safety of our customers and their pets is always of the utmost importance to us. We are accountable for every dinner and treat we make and recognize that we have an important obligation to provide customers with the quality products they deserve and have come to expect from us over the years. Please see below for additional details about our recall actions and please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

Sincerely,

Jen Guzman

Chief Executive Officer

 

QUESTIONS

What products and lot numbers are being voluntarily recalled by Stella & Chewy’s?

As a precautionary measure, we are voluntarily recalling all products from Lot # 111-15 including:

Product Description/Size/UPC/Lot #/Use By Date

Freeze-Dried Chewy’s Chicken Dinner for Dogs /15oz/UPC: 186011000045/Lot: 111-15 and Use By Date: 4/23/2016

Freeze-Dried Chewy’s Chicken Dinner for Dogs /15oz/UPC: 186011000045/Lot: 111-15 and Use By Date: 4/26/2016

Freeze-Dried Chick, Chick, Chicken Dinner for Cats/12oz/UPC: 186011000434/Lot: 111-15 and Use By Date: 4/29/2016

Freeze-Dried Chick, Chick, Chicken Dinner for Cats/12oz/UPC: 186011000434/Lot: 111-15 and Use By Date: 5/3/2016

Carnivore Crunch – Turkey Recipe/3.25oz/UPC: 186011001103/Lot: 111-15 and Use By Date: 5/3/2016 and 5/4/2016

Frozen Duck Duck Goose Dinner Morsels for Dogs/4lb/UPC: 186011001394/Lot: 111-15 and Use By Date: 4/21/2016

Frozen Chewy’s Chicken Dinner Morsels for Dogs/4lb/UPC: 186011001387/Lot: 111-15 and Use By Date: 4/21/2016

Frozen Surf ‘N Turf Dinner Patties for Dogs/6lb/UPC: 186011000533/Lot: 111-15  and Use By Date: 4/21/2016

Frozen Chewy’s Chicken Dinner Patties for Dogs/6lb/UPC: 186011000120/Lot: 111-15 and Use By Date: 4/21/2016

Frozen Chewy’s Chicken Dinner Patties for Dogs/3lb/UPC: 186011000038/Lot: 111-15 and Use By Date: 4/21/2016

 

Moreover, while the below listed product has not tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes, in an abundance of caution, we are also recalling the following products which may have come into contact with the affected lot:

 

Product Description/Size/UPC/Lot #/Use By Date

Freeze-Dried Chick, Chick, Chicken Dinner for Cats/12oz/UPC: 186011000434/Lot: 104-15 and Use By Date: 4/23/2016

Freeze-Dried Chick, Chick, Chicken Dinner for Cats/12oz/UPC: 186011000434/Lot: 109-15 and Use By Date: 4/29/2016

Freeze-Dried Tantalizing Turkey Meal Mixers/18oz/UPC: 186011000229/Lot: 105-15 and Use By Date: 5/3/2016

Freeze-Dried Tantalizing Turkey Meal Mixers/18oz/UPC: 186011000229/Lot: 113-15 and Use By Date: 5/3/2016

Freeze-Dried Tantalizing Turkey Meal Mixers/9oz/UPC: 186011000205/Lot: 105-15 and Use By Date: 5/3/2016

Carnivore Crunch – Chicken Recipe/3.25oz/UPC: 186011001080/Lot: 110-15 and Use By Date: 5/3/2016

Freeze-Dried Chewy’s Chicken Dinners for Dogs/15oz/UPC: 186011000045/Lot: 114-15 and Use By Date: 4/26/2016

Freeze-Dried Tummy Ticklin’ Turkey Dinner for Cats/12oz/UPC: 186011000663/Lot: 114-15 and Use By Date: 5/4/2016

Freeze-Dried Tummy Ticklin’ Turkey Dinner for Cats/12oz/UPC: 186011000663/Lot: 115-15 and Use By Date: 5/4/2016

Freeze-Dried Salmon & Chicken Dinner for Cats/12 oz/UPC: 186011000403/Lot: 107-15 and Use By Date: 4/23/2016

 

Q:        Why were the products recalled?

Listeria monocytogenes was discovered in a package of product during surveillance testing by the Maryland Department of Agriculture. As an extra precautionary measure, we chose to expand the recall list to include products that may have been exposed to the affected lot.

 

Q:        Where are the products sold?

The products included on the recall list above were sold throughout the U.S. to wholesale distributors and retail stores for resale to consumers. The recalled products were not made available in Canada. The best way to determine if you have a product included in the recall is to compare the product description and bag size located on the front of the bag, and the UPC #, the lot code, and use by date located on the back of the bag, with the two charts provided above.

 

Q:        What is Listeria and what are the symptoms?

Listeria monocytogenes is an organism, which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Although healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, Listeria infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women. Animals that become ill with Listeriacould display symptoms similar to the ones listed above for humans.

 

Q:        What should I do if I believe my pet has been exposed Listeria?

Your pet’s health is one of our highest priorities so we strongly encourage you to have your pet examined and treated by a veterinarian to determine the cause of the symptoms. We’d also like to speak with you further and learn more about what your pet is experiencing and discuss how we might be able to help. Please contact our Customer Service team in Wisconsin at info@stellaandchewys.com or 888-477-8977.

 

Q:        Does High Pressure Processing (HPP) eliminate the risk of Listeria?

Yes, scientific studies show that HPP inactivates Listeria. We’re in the process of working with a third-party expert to identify how the organism had entered our post-HPP production area.

 

Q:        What is Stella & Chewy’s doing to correct the situation?

As a precautionary measure, we have issued a voluntary recall of the entire affected lot as well as additional product that could have been exposed to the affected lot, and we are working collaboratively with the FDA to further investigate and address the situation. Furthermore, we’re in the process of working with a third-party expert to conduct a root cause analysis and identify how the organism had entered our post-HPP production area.

 

Q:        Does Stella & Chewy’s test for Listeria?

Because Listeria monocytogenes is considered an environmental pathogen, we conduct environmental testing which is the recommended method for identification in the post-HPP production environment.

 

Q:        How did the Listeria contamination occur?

Listeria monocytogenes is widespread and ubiquitous in the environment in which we live. It can be isolated readily from healthy domestic pets where it rarely causes illness. Additionally, it can be found in many food processing environments and the home. The organism is found in a wide variety of raw agricultural products including lettuce, spinach, fresh vegetables, fruits, raw meat, poultry and fish. We’re in the process of working with a third party expert to identify how the organism had entered our post-HPP production area.

 

Q:          Can I feed my pet the food that is NOT on the recall list?

We have no reason to believe any product other than what has already been voluntarily recalled is affected; the production area is cleaned and sanitized nightly. As soon as were made aware of the positive sample, we began an investigation which included additional intensified testing to ensure Listeria isn’t present in the post-HPP production facility. However, Stella & Chewy’s has an unwavering commitment to stand behind our products. If customers feel any hesitancy in feeding our food, please visit your retailer for a full refund of the purchase price.

 

Q:        Who do I contact if I have further questions or concerns?

For any inquiries, you may contact us at info@stellaandchewys.com or 888-477-8977.

Brachycephalic Dogs….and Heat!

Most people are not familiar with the term “Brachycephalic,” but if you own a Pug, Boston Terrier, Pekingese, Boxer, Bulldog, Shih tzu or any one of the other breeds with “pushed in” faces, you should become familiar with this word. The word comes from Greek roots “Brachy,” meaning short and “cephalic,” meaning head.

Brachycephalic dogs have been bred so as to possess a normal lower jaw, that is, one in proportion to their body size, and a compressed upper jaw.

HEAT STRESS – Because of all these upper respiratory obstructions, the brachycephalic dog is an inefficient panter. A dog with a more conventional face and throat is able to pass air quickly over the tongue through panting. Saliva evaporates from the tongue as air is passed across and the blood circulating through the tongue is efficiently cooled and circulated back to the rest of the body.

In the brachycephalic dog, so much extra work is required to move the same amount of air that the airways become inflamed and swollen. This leads to a more severe obstruction, distress, and further over-heating.

BRACHYCEPHALIC DOGS ARE THE MOST
LIKELY CANDIDATES FOR HEAT STROKE.

Altogether, the upper airways of the brachycephalic dog compromises his or her ability to take in air. Under normal conditions the compromise is not great enough to cause a problem; however, an owner should take care not to let the dog become grossly overweight or get too hot in the summer months. Be aware of what degree of snorting and sputtering is usual for your individual pet plus, should your pet require general anesthesia or sedation, your vet may want to take extra precautions or take radiographs prior to assess the severity of the syndrome.

 

Thanks to marvistavet.com for the above information!

Golden Retriever Adoption Event Saturday June 27

We are excited to remind everyone that we have a Golden Retriever Rescue coming to join us on Saturday, June 27 from 11AM-2PM. We will be posting available dogs as soon as we get a list of the ones coming. In the meantime, check out their website at www.ragom.org. See you next Saturday!!

Retrieve a Golden of Minnesota is a 501(c)(3) all volunteer, non-profit organization operating in…

Short Primer on Amino Acids for Dogs and Cats

If you read the “Digestive Tidbits on Dogs and Cats” that we put up here recently you may recall that food passes fairly quickly through their systems.    They have short digestive systems and therefore do not have the benefit of billions of microorganisms along their gastrointestinal tract synthesizing amino acids for them.    They therefore require these to be fed to them.    There are now 22 amino acids identified (when I was in college there were 20) of which 10 are considered “essential” meaning they must be obtained from their diet.    You can add one more (taurine) for cats.    The others can be synthesized internally as long as the necessary “pieces” are present and are called “non-essential”.   That’s not exactly an appropriate term because all the amino acids are necessary for a healthy sustainable life.   It’s just that some of them do not have to be fed directly.     Amino acids are the building blocks of protein which plays a critical role in almost all biological processes.

      Amino Acids Utilized by Dogs and Cats

 

“Non essential” (not required in the diet)

Alanine

Asparagine

Aspartate

Cysteine

Glutamate

Hydroxylysine

Glycine

Glutamine

Proline

Serine

Hydroxyproline

 

“Essential” (is only obtained via the diet)

Arginine

Histidine

Isoleucine

Methionine

Phenylalanine

Tryptophan

Threonine

Valine

Leucine

Lysine

Taurine (cats)

 

A holistic diet will utilize all natural biologically appropriate sources of the essential amino acids in it’s recipe(s).     While we ourselves are not nutritionists at Wholesome Pet Essentials we do business with companies that utilize extensive research in nutrition to satisfy your pet’s needs.    Because of the relatively short period of time your pet’s food is in their digestive system it’s important that it be a nutritiously balanced product.          Of course there’s a lot more to it than amino acids….more later.

Digestive Tidbits on Dogs and Cats

In the future we’ll be presenting more specific nutritional information on dogs and cats.   But first here is a short primer and interesting tidbits on their respective digestive systems:

Dogs are classified as carnivores and are well adapted to eating meat.   However, they can consume and manage on a diet of an omnivore.   Still, the more meat the better.    There sense of smell is estimated at 10,000 times more sensitive than humans.   Therefore an appetizing aroma on their meals is important and why small amounts of hot water on kibble will tease their appetite.    They have 42 teeth designed for cutting and tearing.   They have fewer taste buds than humans.    They have very little salivary amylase (an enzyme) so therefore very little pre-digestion of carbohydrates occurs unlike humans.    They have a very expandable stomach adaptable to eating large meals.   Their stomach ph is more acidic than humans to assist in digestion of small bonelike substances and to protect against harmful bacteria.   The time food spends in the digestive tract is 12-30 hours compared to humans which is usually considered 30 hours to 5 days!

 

Cats are classified as obligate carnivores.  They absolutely have to have meat in their diet.   They have 30 teeth designed for cutting and tearing and have no sideways movement of the jaw at all.   They have even fewer taste buds than dogs and cannot taste sweets.   They have NO salivary amylase.   Their stomach is relatively small and designed for several small meals per day.   Which is why you can leave food out for the cat….unless your dog can get at it!    Like the dog the stomach is a more acid environment than humans.   Transit time through their system is 12-24 hours.   Their small intestine is well suited to digesting proteins and fats.   They need a protein rich diet.  Thus protein levels in cat food exceed the protein level in  dog food recipes.

 

The most essential nutrient for both is of course WATER!   Water can be obtained through drinking of course but also through their food.    Feeding a cat canned food will result in a very noticeable reduction in the amount of water they drink.   Canned foods are about 80% water.

Lotus Brand Dog Food

If you have a fussy or picky eater in your furry friend we’d invite you to try our Lotus Brand dog food.   The holistic formula is BAKED rather than extruded and I can personally testify that our very picky Teddy Bear “Murphy”  loves this food!!!  In the near term we will be expanding our varieties.

Another idea for a fussy eater is to moisten the kibble with HOT water.   It probably only takes a teaspoon per 1/2 cup of kibble to really release the tantalizing aroma of the food.

Is Your Pet “chipped”?

What happens if your family pet suddenly turns up lost?    You may have a tag on them and the finder may decide to do the decent thing and contact you.    But what if that tag has been lost  (they frequently are)?   There’s a good chance there is no tag.    Regardless, a microchip provides permanent identification that cannot fall off, be removed or become difficult or impossible to read.    A microchip may just serve as the conduit to reunite you and your pet.   Dog or cat.       A microchip is not a GPS.   It’s not a tracking device.   They are instead a radio-frequency identification implant that does not require a power source.   There is no battery in it.   The microchip gets power from the external scanner and then transmits the number to the scanner.    Veterinarians and rescue centers all have scanners that can read the chips.    The microchip is inserted under the loose skin between the shoulder blades with a sterile applicator.   It only takes a few seconds as though it was a simple vaccination.    The chip has been compared to a grape seed.    Once microchipped the number needs to be registered with a pet recovery service.   If your pet is recovered by any of the multitude of rescues, etc. out there they will scan for a chip and report the number to the recovery services which will then contact you.

Bonus benefits of microchipping your pet

Some microchip registries offer additional services for your pet’s care:

  • Specialists available 24/7 to assist with advice and support if your pet is lost
  • Travel assistance for pets found far from home
  • 24/7 Emergency Medical Hotline
  • Lost Pet Alerts sent to a network of animal shelters, veterinarians, and concerned citizens around where your pet was lost.

Remember as long as there are pets, even those belonging to the most responsible parents, they will go missing.   That is why we are happy to sponsor a microchip clinic at the store on June 6 from 1-5 pm.    The cost is just $25 for the chipping and all proceeds will go to the Animal Protection and Education Charity.  

Grain Free…No corn or wheat!

 

Probably 75% of the product we have in dog and cat food kibble is totally grain free.    Now let’s discuss what grain free means.    Or perhaps more importantly what it does not mean.    In the case of dog and cat food kibble some starch is needed to make the extrusion process work.    That is the process that very quickly heats under steam and pressure and expands the product which then is cooled and contracts to form a hard kibble.    That’s a very simple description but generally accurate.    That starch has traditionally come from rice,  pearled barley and occasionally oat groats in the best quality foods.    These are ingredients that rarely cause any issues for your pets.    And they provide a source of carbohydrate (energy) as well.   Good recipes limit their inclusion rate and rely on meat for protein (amino acids).   They do NOT have corn or wheat!    Grocery store and big box store brands will frequently utilize corn or corn by-products and frequently wheat as well.   Not good stuff in that their inclusion at high levels in these brands creates all kinds of issues with potential allergens as well as amino acid balancing challenges which can provide your pet sub-par nutrition.    Remember that article on skin issues and rough hair?    True grain-free foods still (in most cases) utilize starch in the process.    But they turn to potatoes, sweet potatoes, lentils and/or tapioca as starch sources.   Hence they are labeled “grain free” as they do not even utilize rice or barley.      Their protein level is typically higher.   And the dog will in most cases leave you with less poop to deal with.   And much more limited chance of an allergic reaction.    They are the “best” of the best.

We also carry a large selection of totally grain free treats for dogs and cats.    There is absolutely NO WHEAT in any of our treats.    Not what your dog or cat needs!

Alternative Chew(s) and a Recall

Synthetic chew bones have either been praised or cussed by veterinarians. The recent recall by the FDA of the Nylabone Puppy Starter Kitdog chews due to the risk of salmonella infection to both the dog and the owners punctuates the latter. No current health issues have been reported but the company identified the presence of
salmonella in one lot during some recent testing. Nylon bones were introduced as a practical replacement for rawhide chews which had their own share of issues including potential obstruction in the digestive tract. They are designed to slowly granulate and pass through the dog’s digestive tract. However, there have been reports of dogs able to break off chunks of the synthetic bones and these pieces accumulating in the digestive system and ultimate require surgical removal. Porkchews have been an attractive alternative as they are more highly digestible than rawhide but unfortunately a large number of them come from China. Antlers, although a bit pricey, have been the gold standard for chews because of their long lasting characteristics and few if any side effects. However, there have been limited reports of dogs with less than perfect teeth experience some tooth breakage with antlers.
Enter…..

RUFF ROOTS
Ruff Roots are 100% natural dog toys that serve as an alternative to rubber or plastic toys. Ruff Roots originate from the roots of shrubs or trees in the Mediterranean Heathlands. All Ruff Roots are hand-harvested and eco-sustainably sourced from Spain. Only the tuber of the root is harvested which then sprouts again. Ruff Roots are great chew toys for furniture chewers like Rufus or any dogs that love to play with sticks. Unlike sticks or furniture wood, Ruff Roots do not splinter. They serve as a natural toothbrush and help decrease plaque on teeth as well. Ruff Roots are also great teething toys for growing puppies! Ruff Roots are best for keen and powerful chewers. They are extremely long-lasting.

And we have them at Wholesome Pet Essentials!