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Petco recalls stainless steel food bowls

By Judith Pannebaker BCC Editor

Pet owners who thought feeding their four-legged friends from stainless steel bowls was the best option, apparently have another think coming.

No one's saying the dogs and cats are going to glow in the dark, but still ...

Petco officials have determined that one of the pet supply company's foreign suppliers mistakenly used a product containing small quantities of Cobalt-60 in the construction of some SKUs-models of stainless steel pet food bowls. Cobalt-60 is a radioactive material commonly used for industrial gauging equipment.

Company executives speculated the affected steel might have been introduced into the bowls accidentally from scrap metal that contained low levels of the radioactive substance.

Petco executives have notified the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and a number of state governments of their findings, while pointing out the Cobalt-60 levels in the affected products tested far below state and federal regulatory limits. All testing conducted on these products to date indicated no health risks to the public, company employees or pets.

After conducting its own tests, State of Illinois officials issued a news release stating, "A person would have to hold one of the bowls against their chest for roughly six and a half days to receive a dose of radiation equivalent to a single chest X-ray." The report concluded, "These bowls do not pose an immediate health risk."

According to a Petco press release, the affected products were limited to two cargo containers that entered the United States in late May and early June. Border protection agents discovered the issue during a routine import customs screening of one container. That container was embargoed at the port and never reached Petco. The second container, which had previously cleared customs, reached Petco's distribution network.

After being apprised that the suspect products had entered the distribution centers, Petco officials retained experts to examine the potentially affected products. The experts determined that the SKUs examined were safe for handling.

The products were removed from store shelves and the Petco website. A company spokesman said, "We have confirmed that the vast majority of all of the affected products remain at Petco distribution centers, are quarantined outside and never reached our stores. We also confirmed that very few affected items were actually sold to consumers."

The company plans to contact customers who purchased the products and retrieve the bowls.

Additionally, Petco tested the company's other inventory of stainless steel pet products from other suppliers and found no similar issues. The supplier that produced the affected products said it had already instituted special screening procedures. "We are in the process of reviewing those procedures ourselves, and we have put a hold on future shipments until this issue is resolved," the spokesman continued.

Customers who purchased these products between the dates of May 31 and June 20, should return them to their local Petco store for a full refund. For questions, call Petco Customer Service at 877-738-6742.

SKU numbers can be found on labels inside and on the bottom of the bowls.

The press release failed to indicate the country in which the pet bowls contaminated with Cobalt-60 were produced.

Pictured: SKU 1047477 PETC-7C TWO TONE NONTIP BOWL 9" diameter; 7 cup capacity

SKU 1047493 PETC-3.75C DEEP TWO TONE NOTIP 9.25" diameter; 3.75 cup capacity

SKU 1386956 PETC-3.5C NO-TIP SS HAMMRD BWL 9" diameter; 3.5 cup capacity