On Thursday, December 10, Stella & Chewy’s was notified by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development that it had issued a stop sale order on Stella’s Super Beef Dinner Morsels for Dogs 8.5 oz. frozen bags, lot #165-15, “Use by 6-25-2016”, during routine surveillance because it tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes.

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 selected products from Lot # 165-15, as listed below.

Furthermore, while they have not tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes, in an abundance of caution, we are also voluntarily recalling two additional products that may have been exposed to the affected lot, as listed below in the second chart.

The health and safety of our customers and their pets is always of the utmost importance to us. We are accountable for every product 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 do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

Sincerely,
Marie Moody
Chairman & Founder

QUESTIONS

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

As a precautionary measure, we are voluntarily recalling selected products from Lot # 165-15 including:

Product Description Size UPC Lot # Use By Date
Frozen Stella’s Super Beef Dinner Morsels for Dogs 8.5 oz. 186011 001554 165-15 6/25/2016
Frozen Stella’s Super Beef Dinner Morsels for Dogs 4 lb. 186011 001370 165-15 6/25/2016 & 6/26/2016
Frozen Duck Duck Goose Dinner Morsels for Cats 1.25 lb. 186011 001455 165-15 6/25/2016

Moreover, 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
Frozen Chick Chick Chicken Dinner Morsels for Cats 1.25 lb. 186011 001448 160-15 7/2/2016
Frozen Chick Chick Chicken Dinner Morsels for Cats 1.25 lb. 186011 001448 152-15 7/2/2016

Q: Is Listeriosis common in pets?

According to the FDA website, dogs and cats rarely get listeriosis and they usually do not show signs of disease. One reference mentions only six reported cases in dogs from 1947 to 2000, and the dogs showed a wide range of symptoms.

Q: What is Listeria?

Listeria monocytogenes is an organism that is widespread and ubiquitous in the environment in which we live. Specifically, it can be found in many food processing environments and the home, and in a wide variety of raw agricultural products including lettuce, spinach, fresh vegetables, fruits, raw meat, poultry and fish.

Listeria monocytogenes has the potential to 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 Listeria could display symptoms similar to the ones listed above for humans.

Q: Why were the products recalled?

Listeria monocytogenes was discovered in an off-the-shelf package inspection of product during routine surveillance testing by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. As a precautionary measure, we chose to expand the recall list to include products that may have been exposed to the affected lot.

Q: What should I do with products that are being recalled?

Consumers should look at the product descriptions, UPCs, lot codes, and “Use By” date printed on the bag for anexact match to determine if it is subject to the recall. People who have purchased these products are instructed to dispose of the food or return it to the place of purchase for a full refund.

Q: Can I return a product that is NOT on the recall list?

Yes, Stella & Chewy’s has an unwavering commitment to stand by our products. Please visit your retailer for a full refund of the purchase price.

Q: Where are the products sold?

The products included on the recall list were shipped to the United States and Canada to wholesale distributors and retail stores for resale to consumers. The best way to determine if you have a product included in the recall is to compare the product description and bag size on the front of the bag, and the UPC, lot code, and “Use By” date on the back of the bag, with the two charts provided.

Q: What should I do if I believe my pet has been exposed to the recalled product?

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 Customer Service at info@stellaandchewys.com.

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 are in the process of working with a third party expert to identify how the organism had entered our production area after the HPP process.

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 an independent third party expert to identify how the organism had entered our production area after the HPP process.

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

Yes. Listeria monocytogenes is considered an environmental pathogen. Environmental testing is conducted for Listeria in our production process after the HPP environment, which is the recommended method for identifying the organism.

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 are in the process of working with a third party expert to conduct a root cause analysis and identify how the organism had entered in the production area after HPP.

Q: What steps have been taken since the last recall?

Significant enhancements in food safety processes have been taken in the past five months to minimize any potential issues.  It is important to note that the product associated with this recall was made prior to the most recent and current food safety steps, including testing for Listeria monocytogenes.

Q: In which part of the manufacturing process did the incident occur?

It is important to note that the problem occurred in packaging of the product only, and only affected frozen products.

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 we were made aware of the positive sample, we began an investigation which included additional intensified testing for Listeria in our post-production HPP area. 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: Where do I find the lot number and “Best By” dates?

The lot numbers and dates are printed on the back of each bag of all Stella & Chewy’s products.

Q: What if I have a product with the same lot code, but a different “Use By” date?

The product description. UPC, lot code, date and “Use By” date all must match what is on the recall list. If they do not all match, then the product is not included in the recall.

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

For any inquiries, you may contact us at info@stellaandchewys.com.

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