The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, has made public its formal warning letter to Environmental Trade Inc., which is the company behind raw pet food brand Blue Ridge Beef.
From the letter we learn that Blue Ridge Beef’s Kitten Grind for Cats food product was blamed in January for the death of two kittens. The kittens, it was alleged in a complaint letter sent to FDA, both died from Salmonella septicemia after consuming Kitten Grind for Cats. Necropsies on the kittens confirmed the infection.
The pet owner who logged the complaint later provided FDA investigators with an unopened bag of the food which the agency then tested for contamination. Those tests turned up both Salmonella and Listeria. Further tests found that the Salmonella was genetically identical to the bacteria linked to one of the kittens’ deaths.
That apparently triggered an actual inspection of the company’s manufacturing plant, which took place in early March. While at the facility, inspectors collected new, unopened bags of food which they tested. One bag reportedly tested positive for Salmonella and Listeria; another bag tested positive for Salmonella.
Previous Contamination Issues
This was by no means Blue Ridge Beef’s first problem with bacterial contamination. In 2016, says FDA, Salmonella, E. coli and/or Listeria were found in 5 pet foods–4 of which were contaminated with multiple pathogens:
Those tests, just like the January tests, were prompted by consumer complaints.
These incidents, says FDA, point to what it calls “ongoing, persistent problems” with Blue Ridge Beef’s manufacturing processes and/or its factory. For its part the company had previously promised to address some of its issues. FDA says it will evaluate those updates during a future inspection.