“…this firm continued to operate under insanitary conditions and produce pet food contaminated with harmful bacteria.”
Adapted from a press release:
Bravo Packing, Inc. agreed to stop selling, manufacturing and distributing raw pet food and come into compliance with the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act), according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Bravo Packing is based in Carney’s Point, New Jersey, USA, and is unrelated to Bravo Pet Food. Along with beef for dog food, Bravo Packing also processes horse meat for captive exotic carnivores, such as tigers.
The federal action marks the first consent decree of permanent injunction against an animal food manufacturer for violating public safety standards under Part 507 (Current Good Manufacturing Practice (CGMP) requirements) of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Preventive Controls for Animal Food Regulation. Part 507 requires, among other things, that animal food facilities take adequate precautions to prevent animal food from becoming contaminated and that all animal food manufacturing, processing, packing, and holding is conducted under the conditions necessary to minimize the potential for the growth of undesirable microorganisms to protect against the contamination of animal food.
“The food we give our pets should be safe for them to eat and safe for people to handle,” said Steven Solomon, DVM, MPH, director of 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 FDA conducted inspections in 2019 and 2021 and issued a warning letter to the facility in 2020. During these inspections, the FDA found evidence of significant food safety violations including grossly insanitary conditions and the failure to follow CGMP regulations for animal food. Multiple samples of finished raw pet food products collected during the inspections tested positive for Salmonella. Some of these finished samples, as well as environmental samples from the two inspections, also tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes.
The consent decree of permanent injunction entered by U.S. District Judge Noel L. Hillman between the FDA and Bravo Packing, Inc., along with the company’s owner and secretary, Joseph Merola, and its president, Amanda Lloyd, prohibits the defendants from receiving, preparing, processing, packing, holding, labeling, and/or distributing pet food unless and until the company completes corrective actions. The decree also allows the FDA to order a shutdown, recall, or other corrective action in the event of future violations and requires the defendants to pay the costs of inspections performed pursuant to the decree. Failure to abide by the agreement can also lead to civil or criminal penalties.
The U.S. Department of Justice filed the complaint on behalf of the FDA.
History of Bravo Packaging recalls
In March, 2021, Bravo Packing recalled all Ground Beef and Performance Dog frozen raw pet food because it had the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes, according to the United States Food and Drug Administration. Performance Dog generally works with the distributor located in Brooklyn, New York, that fills orders to brick-and-mortar retail stores or to consumers directly nationwide. The company later expanded the recall to include all pet food and bones in all package sizes. The recall followed an investigation conducted by animal advocacy group Animal Outlook. In December 2020, Animal Outlook notified the FDA that a sample of Performance Dog Diet we tested was positive for Salmonella. Amanda Sorvino, horse activist and actress, went undercover at Bravo Packing in 2008.