The FDA issued an alert about three lots of Darwin’s Natural Pet Products because they tested positive for salmonella, but the company disputes the need for the warning.

The samples were taken in response to a customer complaint, according to the FDA, which said anyone with the product should throw it away. Salmonella can affect the health of both humans and animals.

The affected products and lot numbers are:

  • Darwin’s Natural Pet Products Natural Selections Chicken Recipe with Organic Vegetables for Dogs: 5309(11)181019, manufactured on October 19, 2018;
  • Darwin’s Natural Pet Products Natural Selections Chicken Recipe with Organic Vegetables for Dogs: 5375(11)181106, manufactured on November 11, 2018;
  • Darwin’s Natural Pet Products Natural Selections Turkey Recipe with Organic Vegetables for Dogs: 5339(11)181026, manufactured on October 26, 2018.

The FDA said that refrigerators where the food was stored should be cleaned, and bowls, utensils, food preparation surfaces, pet bedding, toys, floors, and any other surfaces that the food or pet may have had contact with should be disinfected. Pet owners should clean up their pet’s feces in yards or parks where people or other animals may become exposed.

Consumers should also check for any products that may have been put away in a freezer.

The FDA said the warning was issued because it did not consider the email sent to customers last month by manufacturer Arrow Reliance Inc. as sufficient warning. The FDA said Allied did not issue a public notification about the problem.

Darwin said in a statement that it was "disappointed" in the FDA's decision to issue a public warning, and believes it is in retaliation for the company's refusal to to provide customer contact information.

"When we informed them that to do so would violate the terms of our privacy policy, they threatened to issue a public warning to pressure us into doing so," the statement read. "When we refused this request, the FDA gave us an ultimatum. Subsequently, they retaliated by issuing their warning."

The company believes that the food in question has already been consumed without incident, and is "fully confident the meals are safe."

The FDA is also at fault, according to Darwin, for not providing samples so it could verify the test results independently, as the company said is required by law.

According to the USDA, consumption of food contaminated with salmonella can cause salmonellosis, one of the most common bacterial food-borne illnesses. The most common symptoms of salmonellosis are diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever within 12 to 72 hours after eating the contaminated product. The illness usually lasts four to seven days. Most people recover without treatment.

In some people, however, the diarrhea may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized. Older adults, infants, and people with weakened immune systems are more likely to develop a severe illness.

The FDA said pets do not always display symptoms when infected with Salmonella, but signs can include vomiting, diarrhea (which may be bloody), fever, loss of appetite, and/or decreased activity level.

If your pet has these symptoms, consult a veterinarian promptly. Infected pets can shed the bacteria in their feces without showing signs of being sick, according to the FDA.

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