PETCO Pet Food Seized by Feds

June 20, 2008

PETCO Pet Food SeizedU.S. marshalls have seized pet food stored in unsanitary conditions at a suburban Chicago PETCO warehouse which supplied pet food to stores in 16 states. The PETCO Animal Supplies, Inc. warehouse at 3801 Rock Creek Blvd. in Joliet, Illinois was found during an April Food and Drug Administration (FDA) inspection to contain living and dead birds and rodents on and around pet food containers, with bird droppings and rodent pellets scattered throughout the building, which had holes and gaps allowing for bird and rodent entry. The FDA contacted PETCO after the April inspection, but a followup May inspection showed continued infestation. Oddly, Kevin Whelan, PETCO’s vice president of corporate communications, said that, after the May inspection, the company “acted aggressively to address any concerns that were raised.” One would think that April inspection results would have sent up a warning flag, but apparently not.

While the FDA said that no immediate public health risks were known as a result of the unsanitary conditions and no instances of related pet or human illness have been traced back to the warehouse, the seized food was stored in a permeable state; those conditions can affect food integrity and quality. The FDA advised consumers to wash cans and glass containers bought at PETCO stores in the affected states and to wash their hands and anything else which might have come into contact with pet food from the Joliet warehouse. If pets become ill from eating the food, the illness can be reported to the FDA’s consumer complaint offices, which operate in every state.

Patrick Fitzgerald, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of IllinoisThe Joliet warehouse supplied animal food to PETCO stores in Alabama, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin. Patrick Fitzgerald, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, filed a civil lawsuit on Wednesday against the pet supply company, obtaining a warrant for the pet food seizure. PETCO, based in San Diego, is a privately held corporation.

Ironically, the PETCO Foundation recently launched the “We are Family Too” Fund to help animal shelters and related organizations deal with the increased number of pets abandoned during recessionary times and to aid pet owners facing foreclosure and other financial difficulties. One of the ways PETCO helps? By offering product donations.

Read about Pajamadeen’s companion, Miss Maybelline, who is looking forward on this hazy summer solstice evening to bringing you her famous garden tours this summer.

Photo credit: J. P. Ryan / Flickr

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