LOS ANGELES — Pet Center, Inc. (PCI), a maker of all-natural dog treats, received a warning letter from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last February. In the letter, the FDA detailed several violations of its requirements for current good manufacturing practices (CGMP), hazard analysis, and risk-based preventive controls.
Between June 21, 2021 and July 13, 2021, the FDA first inspected the PCI facility in Inglewood, California. After finding several violations, the administration carried out a second inspection between September 21 and October 8 of the same year, noting repeated violations and the absence of corrective measures.
The inspected facility manufactures various dog treats, including Bully Sticks, Chicken Breast Tenders, and SuperChews.
Based on its last inspection of PCI facilities, the FDA found several violations. With respect to requirements for risk analysis and risk-based preventive controls, the FDA found that PCI had not prepared and implemented a food safety plan.
“You (PCI) have told our investigator that you have not performed any risk analysis for any type of pet food manufactured at your facility and have not identified any preventive controls,” the FDA letter details. . “You said a consultant was working on your food safety plan, but you didn’t know when it would be finished. We note that this is a repeat observation of the inspection that was conducted at your facility from June to July 2021.”
According to the FDA, PCI responded to these violations, which were noted during the FDA’s first inspection, by providing dates for the completion of its pest control programs, preventive remediation control, environmental monitoring, primary employee hygiene, preventive control of the supply chain and preventive control of recalls. However, at its last inspection, PCI did not provide documentation of the completion of these programs.
The FDA also found several violations related to CGMPs. In the letter, the agency revealed that PCI failed to take precautions to prevent contamination of pet food by failing to clean food contact surfaces, utensils and processing equipment.
“An employee wearing rubber boots – which were worn while walking on the floor of the processing room stained with blood and raw animal tissue – entered the stove, on the food contact surface and in direct contact with beef back strap cooked in the process, a SuperChews ingredient,” the FDA said.
The facility was also found to have numerous pests in its manufacturing, processing, packaging and storage areas. The FDA noted that it found animal feces, flies on raw, in-process, and finished products exposed to the outside environment.
The FDA also clarified that PCI failed to maintain its food contact surfaces, utensils and equipment in all areas of its plant. Hook racks, plastic and metal clamps were found coated in rust-like dust, which came into contact with pet products being manufactured.
Although PCI responded to most of the violations and provided detailed corrective actions, the FDA found no evidence that these actions were adequate, and supporting documentation was never provided to the administration.
“Failure to properly address this matter may result in legal or regulatory action, including, but not limited to, seizure and injunction,” the FDA concluded in its letter.
Founded in 1978, PCI’s products include offal treats, meat fillets, meat and meat sticks, animal bones, SuperChews, pizzle chews and more, all formulated with chicken, beef, duck, fish, lamb or pork.
Read the full warning letter.
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