A Carson City-based pet food company voluntarily replaced 1,300 bags of dog food Tuesday, after the Food and Drug Administration said an animal inflicted with mad cow disease may have been used in the product.
Pet Pantry International received a shipment of food possibly rendered from a Canadian cow that tested positive last week for bovine spongiform encephalopathy, also known as mad cow disease.
Pet Pantry President Don Lockman said the company had contacted nearly all its affected customers by Tuesday evening.
"The cost is very nominal," said Lockman, 43, a Whittell High School graduate who controls three Nevada franchises and 82 throughout the nation. "Half of the bags were not delivered and were recovered in our warehouses. There was only a handful of people affected."
The recall was successful because the company operates on a home delivery system, Lockman said. The company delivers competitively priced cat and dog food, free of charge.
"We know our customers personally, " he said. "No one else could have done what we have done on this."
All of the products were replaced with food made from poultry, lamb or rice. Lockman said the company will lose little money because of the confusion and he does not plan on pressing a complaint.
"If there is any blame to pass, it should be on the Canadian officials for waiting so long to test the cow," he said.
The two products recalled were "Maintenance Diet" labeled with a use by date of "17FEB04" and "Beef with Barley" with a use by date of "05MAR04". The suspect dog food was produced by Champion Pet Food of Morinville, Alberta, between Feb. 4 and March 12.
Lockman said it is important to remember that dogs cannot be infected with bovine spongiform encephalopathy. The product was recalled because the FDA was concerned some of the dog food might mix with food for cows, sheep and other livestock.
According to the FDA, there is no evidence that dogs can transmit the disease to humans or that diseased meat has entered the meat supply for human consumption.
"We know this is an overkill on caution here," Lockman said. "[The disease] has no chance of entering the beef industry. We just took the extra step, hoping that the public would see that we took this on, knowing that the press will happen. We did this out of concern for another industry."
Consumers should contact The Pet Pantry at 1-800-381-7387 for information on how to return the product for proper disposal.