The complaint was filed against Superior Meats in Douglas County, Wisconsin, on behalf of Plaintiff Dax Orr, who bought pig ears for his dogs on May 28. Orr claims that within days of the purchase, his dogs were suffering from extreme diarrhea. By June 3, Orr himself had come down with the illness, and was hospitalized for 5 days after being diagnosed with salmonellosis, according to the lawsuit. He is still recovering from his illness.
At least 143 salmonella infections have been linked to the pig ears, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The agency issued an initial warning on July 3 regarding potentially contaminated non-irradiated pig ears from Brazil, Argentina and Colombia.
The same day CDC issued its warning, dog treat manufacturer Pet Supplies Plus issued a recall for some of its pig ear products. On August 16, Dog Goods USA LLC, recalled non-irradiated bulk and packaged Chef Toby Pig Ears, CDC said.
On August 22, FDA updated Import Alert 72-03 to include 3 companies that presented pig ears for import which were found to be contaminated with salmonella: Custom Pet S.A.S (Colombia), Suarko SRL (Argentina), and Anabe Industria e Comercio de Proteinas (Brazil).
Of 110 patients with available information, 33 (30%) have been hospitalized for complications of their illness, CDC said. No deaths have been reported in connection with the outbreak.
Health officials are warning consumers not to purchase, handle, or feed any pig ears to their pets until more information can be gathered. Throw away any remaining supplies in a secure container so that other animals do not consume them later. The investigation is ongoing, and the CDC said it will issue a press release when more information is available.