Massive Nationwide Pet Food Recall Leaves Owners Concerned

By: Stephanie Bontorin | Published: Jul 02, 2024

A country-wide recall has been issued for a popular dog and cat food brand. The issuer is an online pet food subscription site called Viva Raw.

Unfortunately, several of its products have been tested positive for bacterial contamination.

What Is the Pet Food Brand?

Viva Raw is a company based in Hillsborough, North Carolina. It makes several raw dog and cat food products to boost pets’ health and longevity.

The outside of a pet food store with signs for raw food and treats

Source: @LazzainNP/X

Raw food can be more susceptible to contamination because it needs to be kept cold at every stage of production and shipping.

Details on the Recall

The company has recalled five products manufactured at the same lot that were exposed to Listeria monocytogenes.

A white French bulldog puppy sits waiting for his food

Source: @FrenchieManny/X

According to a press release from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), this type of Listeria can pose a “potential health risk to people and pets.”

What Were the Products Included in the Recall?

The products that are involved in the recall are the Viva Turkey for Dogs Ground, Viva Turkey for Dogs Chunked, Viva Turkey for Cats, Viva Pure Tirkey and Viva Beef & Turkey for Puppies.

Six packages of Viva Raw pet food products

Source: @foodcoop/X

All of the products were manufactured under Lot 21244.

Products Were Sent Nationwide

According to the press release, all of the contaminated products were distributed to consumers and distributors in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

A small white dog sits in front of his food bowl filled with kibble

Source: M Burke/Unsplash

The pet company sends the majority of its products directly to customers through a subscription service.

How the Contamination Was Discovered

The presence of listeria was discovered when the FDA took a sample from the Viva Turkey for Dogs product.

A bowl of dry dog food on the ground with two white dog paws next to it

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It was quickly discovered that all of the items manufactured under the same lot number tested positive for the bacteria. The company then released a statement letting its customers know that all of the contaminated products were “slated for destruction,” but some items had “inadvertently been released from the warehouse to customers”


Message to Pet Owners

The FDA issued the following statement on the products: “Viva Raw is notifying all customers who were shipped any Turkey or Beef & Turkey for Puppies products between May 16th and June 28th, 2024. No illnesses related to this lot have been reported to date.”

Exterior of an FDA building with a large entry sign

Source: iStock

The products that were involved in the recall were shipped as frozen, one-pound bricks in a clear plastic packaging. No expiration date is listed on the outer packaging.


What is Listeria?

The FDA noted that, if ingested, listeria can cause “serious and sometimes fatal infections” in pets.

A small brown dog wearing a bandana sits on the counter at the vet's office

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Cat and dog owners handling the contaminated food could also be unknowingly exposed to the bacteria and fall ill with similar symptoms.


Risk to Pet Owners

If handled improperly, there is a higher risk of illness in humans.

A man washing his hands at the sink

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The company warns all pet owners to “thoroughly wash their hands after handling the food or having contact with their pet, or by not thoroughly cleaning contaminated surfaces.”


What Are the Symptoms of Listeria?

Although pets falling ill with a listeria infection are rare, the symptoms are very serious.

A woman reaches her hand into a blue crate to pet a small white and orange cat

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Animals will show symptoms of mild to severe diarrhea, anorexia, fever, nervousness, muscular and respiratory issues, miscarriage, depression, shock, and in some extreme cases, death.


What To Do if Your Pet Has Been Exposed to the Bacteria

The FDA press release notes that any pets exposed to the contaminated items can be “infected without symptoms” and that “infected pets, even if they do not show symptoms, can act as carriers and transfer L. monocytogenes through their feces and saliva into the home environment and to people and other pets in the household.”

A small puppy lies in a crate at the vet's office

Source: Markus Winkler/Unsplash

“If your pet has eaten the recalled product(s) and has symptoms of Listeria monocytogenes infection, please contact your veterinarian.”


Contact if the Company if You Have Purchased the Contaminated Items

If you have purchased any of the contaminated items with the same Lot number, contact the company at [email protected].

A man leans down to pet an orange cat sitting in a small bed

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Viva Raw will be issuing full refunds for all contaminated items. Customers are then advised to destroy products to ensure that children, pets and wildlife cannot gain access to the food.