Update as of October 30, 2019: According to the CDC, this outbreak appears to be over, as the rate of new human illnesses reports has slowed and returned to baseline levels. FDA continues to investigate and work with state partners to monitor the marketplace. FDA advises retailers who wish to introduce pig ear pet treats into the market to take appropriate steps to ensure that their suppliers are controlling for pathogens, and that products are not cross-contaminated after processing. FDA urges firms to remain vigilant about taking measures to control pathogens such as Salmonella, and to conduct regular assessments, including testing, to ensure the effectiveness of their processing and the safety of their products. Consumers who choose to feed pig ears should take caution to practice safe pet food handling.
As of August 27, 2019, CDC reports that there are 143 cases of human infection tied to exposure to pig ear pet treats with Salmonella enterica serotypes I 4,,12:i:-, Cerro, Derby, Infantis, London, Newport, and Rissen in 35 states. CDC reports that many of these cases are multidrug-resistant. Thirty-three people have been hospitalized.
The FDA has traced back some of the pig ear treats associated with cases of illness to sources in Argentina, Brazil, and Colombia. Three U.S. firms associated with cases in the outbreak have recalled. Some of these treats have tested positive for Salmonella, and further testing is ongoing to identify the Salmonella strain(s).
Based on information gathered from cases and the traceback data gathered from the FDA, the FDA and CDC continue to recommend that people avoid purchasing or feeding any pig ear pet treats at this time.
If you have pig ear treats, throw them away in a secure container where animals, including wildlife, cannot access it. Wash your hands thoroughly and disinfect any surfaces that have come into contact with potentially contaminated products.
In general, if you choose to feed treats like pig ears, practice good hygiene by: monitoring your pet while they have the treat, picking up the treat when they are done with it, keeping treats away from small children, cleaning the areas the treat contacted, washing hands, and not allowing your pet to lick you, your family members, or surfaces in your home.