Inspection of Darwin’s Reveals Revolting Conditions, Complaints of Ill and Dying Pets
A new report on Darwin’s raw pet food company uncovers a virtual “laundry list” of violations and repeated complaints of sick and dying pets.
An inspection report provided to Food Safety News
reveals a multitude of food safety violations and hundreds of complaints. Despite hundreds of accounts of sick and dying pets, Gary Tashjian, the owner of Darwin’s Natural Pet Products
, denied that his company received any consumer complaints regarding Salmonella, E. coli or Listeria. Yet, a review of the pet food company’s records showed that Tashjian knew about the pathogen problems.
HUNDREDS OF COMPLAINTS
But Darwin’s did receive complaints, many of them. The company logged 332 complaints about sick and dead pets, and more than a third of the complaints were related to a sick pet.
Tashjian admitted though that if a consumer were to complain, it would be up to the consumers to prove something was wrong with the raw pet food. Darwin’s required the consumer provide them with “test results from a veterinarian.” If a consumer were able to give the company those tests, at that point the company would take steps to discover if the same food – at the plant – tested positive for bacteria at which point the company would decide whether to act or not.
FOREIGN MATERIAL FOUND IN PET FOOD
But not all complaints involved sick pets, some of them included complained the pet food had foreign material in it “including metal, plastic, rubber bands, produce bands and ties, hairnet material, and a pebble,” that the food was spoiled and the packages leaked.
The inspectors found that Darwin’s did not have a written sanitation plan and the company did not conduct their operations using cGMPs (current Good Manufacturing Practices).
THE LAUNDRY LIST
Some of the violations observed at Darwin’s pet food plant include:
- Raw meat and poultry were not thawed under conditions that would “minimize the potential for growth of undesirable pathogens”;
- Animal food contact surfaces were “not made of appropriate materials or maintained to protect animal food from becoming contaminated”;
- Equipment and utensils “not used appropriately to avoid adulteration of animal food with contaminants”;
The inspection report details a lengthy and gag-worthy list of the unsanitary conditions at the plant:
- A mallet with “raw meat material” on it was on a rack used to store sanitized equipment in the sanitizing room;
Inspection of Darwin's Reveals Revolting Conditions, Complaints of Ill and Dying Pets | Poisoned Pets | Pet Food Safety News
- 4-wheeled hand cart with two shelves was covered with “wet cardboard containing raw meat.” The cart handle was broken, and surface appeared “not to be cleanable”;
- A dirty tool from processing floor was placed on top of a sanitized yellow pallet;
- The food prep table grooved and “not cleanable”;
- The flashing between wall and floor and behind prep table was “damaged and contained meat debris”;
- An employee broke down “dirty cardboard boxes” with gloved hands and then returning to processing floor “without changing gloves or sanitizing”;
- A freezer box had “bloody and rusted metal racks; bloody floors and boxes storing frozen meat; organic material behind racks”;
- A cooler box had “bloody boxes of meat and vegetables stored on metal racks and pallets with organic material behind racks”;
- Cardboard boxes containing raw meat were observed “leaking and dripping blood onto boxes stored below and onto adjacent boxes, pallets, and metal racks”;
- Wooden pallets and metal racks “not maintained or designed to be cleaned in a manner that protects ingredients against contamination.”