The raw dog food manufacturer is disputing the FDA's warning letter after a single lot of one of its products tested positive for Salmonella.
UPDATE (January 21, 2019)—Pet food company Lystn, dba Answers Pet Food, has issued a statement challenging the FDA's recent warning about the company's A+ Answers Straight Beef Formula for Dogs product. "It is Lystn's belief (as well as our science advisors) that the initial sample sent from Nebraska may have been cross contaminated in the lab, transport or elsewhere and should not be considered a representative sample," the company said in a press release last week.
Despite an initial product sample testing positive for Salmonella in December by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, 4 subsequent samples tested negative, the company said, and no samples were tested by the FDA. According to the release, pets and their owners are protected from potentially harmful bacteria as a result of the company's manufacturing process, which involves "natural competitive inhibition through fermentation by inoculating our products, which favors growth of desirable (good) bacteria but inhibits the growth of pathogens (bad bacteria). This avoids destroying the benefits of good bacteria needed in the gut of the pets ingesting Answers pet food and continues to protect the pets post ingestion and the household environment from potential pathogens."
The company notes that the affected lot has not been recalled throughout Nebraska. Instead, Lystn stopped further distribution of the lot in question by working with its distributor, retail stores, and the Nebraska Department of Agriculture.
Importantly, the company also corrected the lot information initially presented by the FDA for the product. The correct lot number is 02/08 20, not 20/08 20 as initially reported. This lot number was distributed in August and September 2018 and sold through retail stores in the United States.
There have been no reports to date of animal or human illness related to this product. Customers who have purchased this or any other product from Answers Pet Food may return them to the place of purchase for a full refund.
The FDA has issued an alert to pet owners cautioning them that lot 2018 20/08 20 of A+ Answers Straight Beef Formula for Dogs tested positive for Salmonella.
Lystn, LLC, also doing business as Answers Pet Food, is the brand owner of A+ Answers Straight Beef Formula for Dogs. The company recalled the specific lot of its raw pet food from distribution and retail locations in Nebraska on December 20, 2018, but has not recalled the product nationwide. In its alert, the FDA stated that it is still working with Lystn to gather comprehensive distribution information. The agency's warning serves as an alert to consumers about this public health risk.
Pet owners who have purchased lot 2018 20/08 20 of A+ Answers Straight Beef Formula for Dogs should throw it away in a secure container where other animals (including wildlife) cannot access it. Consumers who have had this product in their homes are advised to clean refrigerators or freezers where the food was stored. All 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. The agency also urges pet owners whose dogs might have consumed the infected food to clean up the pet’s feces in yards or parks where people or other animals may become exposed.
Salmonella is known to cause illness and death in both humans and animals, especially those who are very young, very old, or have weakened immune systems. When infected with Salmonella, animals do not always display clinical signs. However, signs can include vomiting, diarrhea (which may be bloody), fever, loss of appetite, and/or decreased activity level.
Salmonella presents in people as diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps. Although most infected people recover without treatment, some cases of diarrhea may become so severe that the individual needs to be hospitalized. In these patients, the infection may spread from the intestines to the bloodstream and then to other body sites unless the person is treated promptly with antibiotics.
Pet owners who think their dogs have become ill after consuming A+ Answers Straight Beef Formula for Dogs should contact their veterinarian. Veterinarians who wish to have dogs tested for Salmonella may do so through the Vet-LIRN Network if the pet is from a household with a person infected with Salmonella.