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Investigation into suspected link between pig ears, Samonella

LANSING, Mich.  — The possibility of Salmonella contamination in pig-ear products has led the Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development to issue a consumer advisory. The CDC says 12 people have been hospitalized, but it’s unclear if the human illnesses are linked to certain strains of Salmonella.

MDARD logo: Facebook page 7-3-2019

The MDARD says the advisory is for pig ears sold in bulk at retailers statewide. It is working with the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) on an investigation of a possible link between the products and Salmonella.

In a news release, the state says samples  of bulk pig ears were collected by MDARD feed inspectors from two retailers and tested positive for Salmonella at MDARD’s Geagley Laboratory. Both retailers have voluntarily removed these bulk pig ear products from sale. MDARD inspectors also collected samples of other brands of individually wrapped or bagged pig ears being sold at multiple retail locations. These samples tested negative for Salmonella.

“It’s not clear why some brands of pig ears have tested positive for Salmonella and others have not. Pet owners should consider the possibility of Salmonella contaminating pig ear products before feeding them to their pets. As an added precaution, pet owners should wash their hands after handling pig ears,” said Jeffrey Zimmer, acting director of MDARD’s Pesticide and Plant Pest Management Division.

Pets with Salmonella infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting. Some pets will have decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. Pets exposed to contaminated food can be infected without showing symptoms. If your pet has consumed this product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian. Infected animals can also shed Salmonella through their feces and saliva, spreading pathogens into the home environment and to humans and other animals in the household.

For more information, visit the CDC and FDA websites.

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