Carneys Point, New Jersey - A federal court Monday ordered a Carneys Point, New Jersey company to stop distributing adulterated pet food in violation of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FDCA).

In a complaint filed March 15, the United States alleged that Bravo Packing Inc., and its owners and operators, Joseph Merola and Amanda Lloyd, violated the FDCA by distributing adulterated animal food and by causing animal food to become adulterated while held for sale. The complaint alleged that samples collected during U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) inspections of the Bravo facility in July 2019 and April 2021 contained Salmonella, a pathogenic microorganism that can cause the illness known as salmonellosis in both humans and animals. Salmonella can be transferred from animal food to humans through handling of the food, or directly from infected animals to humans. Salmonellosis can cause symptoms such as diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps that last several days in healthy adults. Absent prompt treatment, salmonellosis can cause severe dehydration and even death in infants, young children, the elderly, transplant recipients, pregnant women and individuals with weakened immune systems.

“Animal food manufacturers must ensure that their products are safe,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brian M. Boynton, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “The department will continue to work closely with the FDA to ensure that pet food is manufactured in compliance with the law.”

“The food we give our pets should be safe for them to eat and safe for people to handle,” said Director Steven Solomon, DVM, MPH of the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine. “The FDA has taken this action to protect public health because, despite multiple inspections, notifications of violations and recalls, this firm continued to operate under insanitary conditions and produce pet food contaminated with harmful bacteria. We will not tolerate firms that put people or animals at risk and will take enforcement actions when needed.”

The defendants agreed to settle the suit and be bound by a consent decree of permanent injunction. The negotiated consent decree requires, among other things, that the defendants stop receiving, processing, manufacturing, preparing, packing, holding and distributing adulterated pet food until they take specific remedial measures and demonstrate to the FDA that they will comply with federal law.

The government was represented by Trial Attorney Noah T. Katzen of the Civil Division’s Consumer Protection Branch, with the assistance of Tara Boland of the FDA’s Office of Chief Counsel. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey also provided assistance.