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Maryland Dept of Agriculture issues Stop Sale on Stella and Chewy’s Pet Food

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  1. Hope Williams

    And so it has begun! The big pet feed goliath, via the FDA, has laid down the gauntlet with Stella and Chewys. There is always a possibility that this is true BUT this is a company that uses High Pressure Pastuerization, or HPP, on all of it’s products not just selected ones like some raw companies do. Handling is such an issue with raw food. Wonder what store FDA bought it from?

    1. Peg

      Hope, I totally agree with you!
      I do hope the Stella and Chewy producers fight this especially since they use HPP for all their product.
      I wouldn’t put it past the FDA sleeze to have faked the results

  2. Batzion

    Thank you for posting this, Sue. Happy Fourth of July to you and those you love.

  3. Regina

    I can’t help but wonder if this contaminant was found by one of those “inspections” Susan told us about, where the feds came in and took samples using methods that will cause contamination (no sterilization of materials, cross-contamination, etc.)

    1. Kathleen

      I’m with you, Regina, that was my first thought!

      1. Carol

        Yes, that was my first thought also. Wouldn’t surprise me if it all if the inspectors themselves contaminated the food.

        1. Hope Williams

          If the FDA would be transparent about their collection and testing procedures of both raw and kibble pet foods then we might be less skeptical don’t you think?

  4. Tracey

    Really? The FDA has time to monitor and test raw food, but it could care less about the vile crap that big pet food sells. I wonder how much Purina had to pay the FDA to start the assault on raw food? Who is the next target? If the FDA and big pet food thinks this is going to stop people from buying raw food for their pets, they are mistaken.

    Hey Purina, if your “food” is so wholesome and wonderful for dogs, then why do you have to resort to using the FDA in your smear campaign against raw food? I will tell you why, because the vile crap you manufacture as “food” kills animals and you know it. Hey FDA, why don’t you start doing your job, which is to protect the food supply for all 2 legged and 4 legged Americans from the food industry with their deep pockets. Purina is a disgusting and vile company, and I wish they would go out of business along with the other big pet food manufacturers.

    1. Laurie Matson

      They will never go out of business until everybody wakes up and quits buying that crap!! Too many uninformed and ignorant people!! In this day and age there should be no uninformed people. but, people are too lazy to do research on their own!!

      1. Dianne

        Life has become too overwhelming and there are far too many complex causes to research. There isn’t just the pet food issue, it is our own food issues, environmental pollution, global warming, GMO food, alternative energy issues, smart meters and related technology. The list goes on. We pick our fights and help others see the results while they look after another issue for us.

        1. Jeanne

          Hi Dianne, I hear what you are saying, but I have to agree with Laurie. Yes, there are a whole lot of issues out there, but there is a very large segment of the population that is simply too overwhelmed (I actually believe lazy is a better word, although shame on me for thinking that) to want to spend the time on issues where they would have to actually do something themselves to make a positive change in their own or their pets lives. People are typically lazy. It is one thing to sign a web letter to your congress person sent to you by an interest group; that takes only a few minutes. But to actually have to change your routine, to no longer give your pet that can or bag of totally deficient dog food and change to raw, or write a letter all on your own, well, that’s a different story. To not believe your totally dietary-challenged veterinarian who is making money from the Purinas of the world, well, good luck. I mean, how could you not believe that what’s good for humans is also good for animals!?!? But there are millions out there who still believe that it doesn’t matter because “they’re just dogs or cats…” It saddens me no end.

          1. Dianne

            I actually don’t believe that people are typically lazy. Defeated yes, Don’t know where to turn, yes. Suffering the effects of our polluted environment and food, yes. Every effort is made by industry to keep people in the dark. Mostly, they are succeeding..

      2. Ellie

        It is frustrating The media will not expose anyone that has hold of the purse strings and the pet food industry spends millions advertizing the garbage they sell.
        When I speak to people about commercial pet food and tell them some of the facts they look at me like I just landed from Mars. Everyone seems to think that someone is watching out for them in the human and pet food industries.

        The people who are supposed to be watching out for them are actually part of a huge bureaucracy whose ability to function effectively and honestly is totally impaired. Our ability to get true and accurate news on any subject is totally filtered by people who control the flow of information they want us to have.

    2. Debi Cohen

      So refreshing to see that all of you, my friends in raw pet food, do not believe these lying governmental shills, I do not know what a shill is but I hope it is p.c.,………………… not.

  5. Bill Wilson, Jr.

    Reached out to S&C to see where the recall notice is posted why retailers and a major e-retailer like Pet260/PetffodDirect is still offering this food…

    _ _ _ _ _ _ _

    State of MD Ag Dept – Cease sale order

    Phone two retailers and All are still selling the product. Why? Each re/e-tailer should have recall notices up unless this lot was ONLY sold to MD vendors. Even if that were to be true, consumers and petowners in MD, DE, VA, and NJ should be made aware of this.

    Just trying to spare any fellow pet caregiver heartache and sorrow over the loss of their beloved dog.

    TYVM. ///
    _ _ _ _ _ _ _

    1. Susan Thixton Author

      The only state that is pulling the product (stop sale) is Maryland. This is not an official recall notice right now – I suspect it will be but we’ll have to wait to see where this goes. Unfortunately it takes several days for a recall to happen – lots of paperwork and probably FDA is testing other product too (FDA is probably at their plant testing everything right now). Stop Sales are done by State Department of Agricultures and they can pull products almost immediately from store shelves. But it is a different process than a recall.

      1. Hope Williams

        And then it’s the weekend for bad news to simmer. Thank you for your timing dear FDA. And it’s the weekend that a few of the BIG pet feed companies are launching new TV commercials for their kibbles that they say are contributing to long life for dogs. Oh and a new and quite adorable treat commercial for crap that bounces out of a jar into your dog’s mouth. I know this is happening and I know why but it makes me so angry that real people don’t represent us, it’s citizens, and that our federal agencies and government are now run by large conglomerate/share holder/greed interests that we’ve allowed makes me angry and so sad.

      2. Jo

        I called my retailer yesterday when I saw the recall on the lot that I had just bought from him, and he said he was relieved I had called because he didn’t have phone numbers of his customers. He had already pulled what he had left, had heard about the recall, and we are located in VA, so some responsible retailers are voluntarily pulling the product. He also said that we shouldn’t use any products that we might have in associated lot numbers because usually the FDA will issue a recall for those as well.

  6. Lois

    How do we consumers and small manufacturers and small retailers protect our freedom of choices from Big Government and Big Businesses that are much too cozy with each other? Those that have the money to lobby government agencies can bring down small enterprises through intimidation and lawsuits and lies.

    I’ve been a Stella & Chewy’s customer for years. I feel threatened by this.

    1. Susan Thixton Author

      Any retailer and any manufacturer should document every move by FDA or State Department of Agriculture when they come into your store or manufacturing facility. It is not easy to do – naturally one feels a bit intimidated by FDA (especially for a manufacturer). But every move needs to be documented. Typically for a plant inspection when bacteria is found in a product – many FDA representatives come into the plant. A employee with a camera needs to be following and filming every move of each FDA representative. Should anything suspicious happen, it would be documented on film. But again, if you are a manufacturer and you’ve got FDA swarming your plant – it is not an easy thing to pull out your cell phone and video their every move. And then should you document an ‘issue’ with FDA, it would take massive courage to fight them (and a boat load of expensive lawyers). There is no easy answer.

      1. Hope Williams

        You are so correct Susan–as usual–but it’s a lot easier than closing your manufacturing companies’ doors because the FDA put you out of business. It does take courage and think that should come in the form of our raw pet food manufacturers forming a mutual bond and attacking this issue together. This kind of effort would give them everything to gain and nothing to loose!

        1. Lois

          A trade association is a great idea, especially if it could vet its members and establish certain standards. An educational/communications program about safe raw food for pets would be a great way to take on the pet junk food giants that the FDA ignores.

    2. Jeanette Owen

      I buy Stella & Cheweys & just bought some cat treats. I hate to hear this. Really cant stand FDA or “any” of them.

  7. Dianne

    What next, will we be required to sign affidavits when we go to buy meat at the grocery stores that we will only feed it to people, not animals? I can just see the signs in the grocery stores, the FDA has determined that this meat is not safe to feed to your pets.

    Like everyone else, I am also highly sceptical of the test results. Maybe the FDA just wants to make sure there are as many recalls of raw food as there are of PFI garbage.

    The FDA should bear in mind the old adage of trust, once broken, is very hard to win back.

    1. Regina

      Oh, Dianne, I would love to see signs in grocery stores telling people to only feed meat to humans, never pets. Oh, I’d looooove to see the consumers’ head-scratching on that one!!!!

      OK, I can give my human children this meat, but, the dog/cat I rescued off the streets, who was eating garbage CAN’T have meat????

  8. Dean

    A couple of things here that come to mind… without knowing the whole story from S&C….

    Listeria is not always killed by the freeze dry process and in fact can survive it intact… One of those most dangerous situations of ‘implied’ safety, from processing… (similar to smoked products)

    I don’t believe the HPP is applied to this product…

    Pre packaging cross contamination is usually the cause of Listeria contamination… which is then a handling failure not a process failure…

    1. Jeanette Owen

      Hope Stella & Chewey’s is not getting lax – just letting employees do their thing, getting paid minimum wage? I feed it at times to my pets & this is very upsetting!

    2. Chris

      Excellent point, Dean

  9. Michelle

    On April 11th, about 4 hours after eating, my dog started vomiting and acting ill. I was able to keep her hydrated throughout the rest of the night and we headed to the Vet first thing in the morning. We did x-rays and blood work. Her WBC was sky high. The very first thought that entered my mind was that I had just opened up a fresh bag of Stella & Chewy’s for her dinner. I mentioned it to the Vet, but she didn’t seem concerned. I wish that I would have kept the bag instead of tossing it. Between the initial Vet visit, weekend/after hours visits and follow up blood work, this incident cost me a fortune.

    My dog was on Prednisone at the time, so her immune system was already suppressed.

    I have no way to know for certain if it was the Stella’s & Chewy’s, but it’s definitely worth mentioning this after the incident in MD. By the way, it was not the chicken, it was the Duck Duck Goose.

    1. Hope Williams

      The recall was for a specific batch of chicken in a 15 oz bag that had limited sale circulation. And, on top of this, this company who has never had a problem in it’s history uses High Pressure Pastuerization to prevent this kind of problem. There are also potential FDA handling problems of the actual food in the bag and with their testing procedures. The FDA is not transparent about how they handle specimens for testing which many of wish they were. I am very sorry that this happened to your dog and that this veterinarian event cost so much money. However I need to ask the questions: what other products were you feeding your dog in the week leading up to the illness and what is the diagnosis that your veterinarian gave you for your dog’s illness event and did she think it was a consequence of the initial illness that motivated prednisone to be prescribed? I hope your dog is recovering.

    2. Regina

      Michelle, I’m sorry your dog got sick!!! I know my dog used to get sick a lot, but it would be after he got into something outside that he ingested. He used to live on the streets, and we could never train him to not eat whatever he wanted.

      Maybe your dog got into something without you knowing? Just a thought.
      But i guess in this day and age, we should never throw away any packages, “just in case” a recall or something comes down the line later.

      And I hope your dog is done with the Prednisone!

  10. Cathy

    I used Stella and Chewys for several months this past winter and spring. When I opened a new bag of the freeze dried chicken patties, there was a wang almost sour smell. The patties seemed damped and spongy, not semi firm like they normally are. I did not feed them, but contacted the place I bought them. They said they would contact S &C and see what they had to say or if anything changed in processing. The next day I opened the bay and there was what appeared white mild growing on them. Every day more mold was growing. I opened 3 bags and all the same, same smell and next day after opening the mold would appear. My supplier again contacted S& C and wanted pictures. Sent photos, can’t remember their exact reply, but seems like they said they had trouble with packaging. Not too long after that,,the supplier no longer offered S & C. I really liked their patties,,but haven’t bought since.

    1. Cathy

      Sorry my mistake, I searched my old emails and the moldy food I had was NOT Stella & Chewys. It was Vital Essentials chicken patties.

      1. Hope Williams

        Cathy, I’m impressed you took the time to clarify your original post! Thank you!

  11. Judy

    Don’t thow the opened bags away! Keep them sealed tight, out of reach. Evidence that could support the presence of or lack of Listeria.

  12. brit

    quite frankly I cook most of my dogs food nowadays. Its still 100% better than kibble or canned and some people feel no difference between raw or cooked nutritionally. I do add crushed raw leafy greens and other stuff.

  13. karen

    I bought a bag of the freeze dried chicken patties a few months ago and my dog started to have diarrhea. This was the only food that I had started feeding her. I thought she might of had a sensitivity to chicken so I gave the rest of the bag to my friend for her dog. Her dog got sick as well. I have to assume it was the food since both dogs became sick. Finding a safe food for dogs is becoming so challenging. I cook for mine now.

    1. Hope Williams

      Karen, what part of the United States do you live in? I’m in Washington and have no issues with Stella and Chewys either freeze-dried or frozen. Wondering if it has something to do with distribution. Curious.

      1. karen

        I live in Frederick maryland

    2. B Dawson


      You don’t say if this was the first time your dog or your friend’s dog had eaten S&C. The presence of diarrhea after feeding a new food is not always indicative of contamination; sudden changes in diet can be very upsetting to some digestive systems. S&C was a top seller in my store but I did have a percentage of dogs that exhibited softened stools and/or diarrhea after eating the product.

      Freeze-dried food is also concentrated since the moisture has been sucked out under intense cold and vacuum. It is important to properly re-hydrate the patties before feeding. Some dogs do tolerate a dry patty crumbled on top of other food as a topping but others do not.

      1. karen paul

        This was not the first time I fed my dog the chicken patties. I always hydrate her food as I do not give my dog dry food. The other dog has eaten this before also.

  14. Cathy

    I threw those bags away. This happened maybe March.

  15. nogeekspls

    If I had this kind of luck with lottery tickets I would be rich.

    Of COURSE I have a bag of it. I just purchased it two days ago.

    I use these for my diabetic dog on days where her appetite is not the best. Its my go to food so that I know she has a full stomach before I give her insulin.

    1. Jo

      Me too!! I just bought 3 more bags yesterday, found out about this recall last night, and of course, they are from the affected lot as well as the one I bought a few weeks ago. Rotten luck, as usual. Don’t use it, I believe this is what made my little girlie extremely ill.

  16. Jo

    I fed my 18 month old Aussie girl the Stella and Chewys Chicken patties for dinner on June 7 and she began vomiting within an hour of eating. I have the rest of this bag as I decided to not give her any more of the S and C since the following day she was still vomiting, and it is from the affected lot. She underwent thousands of dollars of testing and a hospital stay, was dehydrated and having very odd yellow greasy stools. Only results after all testing (GI panel, bloodwork, tick panel, 3 ultrasounds, pancreatits test, x-rays, Addison’s test) was that she has a B12 deficiency and liver and abdominal lymph nodes were enlarged. Aspiration of those nodes and liver showed no cancer. We still don’t know what was (or is) wrong with her. She developed the inability to move food through her GI tract, so was on metoclopramide which I’ve now weaned her off of, and is still on metronidazole, hoping to be able to wean her off of that soon. She is on a very bland diet as her intestines were inflamed also, on Purina EN which does seem to agree with her delicate GI system. i’m now wondering if she actually did/does have listeria?? We got no actual diagnosis from the internal medicine specialist, just IBD and being treated as such.

  17. Ellie

    We have had such success with helping under nourished and generally unhealthy rescues with S&C’s. I am so sorry to see this happening to them.

  18. Linda

    This is so sad! I have trusted S&C for years! It’s my cats favorite food ever! I have to keep it under lock and key because they open the cabinets I keep it in, and eat a whole bag, or more, at one setting! I have 8 cats, and pray S&C will get this corrected asap! I am loosing faith in the whole pet food industry! Really depended on this company!

  19. Regina

    Something I forgot to mention earlier, why would they tell you to throw away the food? Shouldn’t the food be kept, so any contamination can be tested for and documented?????
    Maybe I’m just paranoid, but maybe they don’t want you to have the food tested and found to be OK?

    I know that some folks here mentioned their dogs got sick, but, since I don’t have all the facts, I am not discounting their stories, but, anytime food is suspected of making pets sick, why wouldn’t they want to test it? Why tell us to throw it away????

    I just can’t help wondering if the big pet feed bullies are somehow behind this action in some way. It’s not like they haven’t stooped to new depths before!

    1. Jo

      I’ve saved my bag of food and plan on having my food tested. My girl will also be tested on Monday when my vet is open. I spoke with the internal med vet today and she said to have a fecal culture done on Monday to test for listeria, not taking any chances. I’m sure glad I saved what was left in that bag!

  20. Grateful

    I find this very…fishy. Stella & Chewy’s has expanded because of demand recently. This means that S& C is taking a big, much larger than anticipated, chunk out of the kibble market. Strange…very strange.

  21. Greg

    The recall is up now:

    They have listed several additional lots that didn’t test positive but may have come in contact with the lot that was deemed positive.

    I haven’t been feeding any S&C to my cats in the last couple months, but that is purely by chance as the cats got a little picky and I switched things around a bit. I still have 3 older unopened bags of Chick Chick Chciken (a few months earlier than the recalled lots) and an open bag of Duck Duck Goose that is newer but still earlier than the current recall. They don’t really seem to like the latter at all though anyway, but I had figured on going back to the chicken at some point.

    It’s hard not to be a little skeptical of the whole FDA plan of checking up only on raw foods, as if no others are going to have problems. But we’ll see.

  22. Lisa

    S&C’s has issued a voluntary recall on just about all of their frozen and freeze dried poultry products for dogs and cats …

  23. foodguy

    Well, they have officially launched a “voluntary” recall nation wide.

  24. Ellie

    Just a few days ago I saw something on a news site about a woman who was preparing some meat to feed to her family. Before she opened the package she noticed worms of some sort squirming in and out of the meat.
    She reported the matter to the store and as I recall the FDA was notified. Anyway, the response was that it is not uncommon to have these parasites in our meat and cooking it will kill the worms and then they are harmless!
    So apparently those who are watching out for us in the food industry are just fine with humans ingesting parasites but our pets must have food that is totally microbe free.
    This family videoed the package of squirming meat and it was totally sickening. Imagine! They are telling us to eat worms and not worry about it!

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