Details of the recall and warning posted to the Petco website are as follows:
Petco has determined that one of its foreign suppliers used stainless steel mistakenly containing small quantities of Cobalt-60 when fabricating certain orders of certain SKUs/models of stainless steel pet food bowls. Cobalt-60 is a radioactive material commonly used in industrial gauging equipment and other uses.
We don’t know for certain how it got into our product, but we believe it came from scrap metal that had some Cobalt-60 accidentally mixed in. The affected products were found to emit low levels of radiation.
The Cobalt-60 levels in the affected products are far below State and Federal regulatory limits. All of the expert testing conducted on these products to date indicates that there is no health risk to the public, to our associates or to pets.
To our knowledge, the affected products were limited to two cargo containers that entered the United States in late May and early June. We’ve also determined that the affected products pose no health risk, and were and are safe to be handled by our associates.
The issue was discovered by Customs and Border Protection agents during a routine import screening of one of the containers. That container was held at the port and never reached Petco. The second container had previously cleared Customs and reached Petco’s distribution network.
Upon learning of this issue following the delivery of the affected products to our distribution centers, we promptly retained experts to examine the potentially affected products, and those experts determined that the SKUs examined were safe for handling.
Out of concern that products from the second container reached our stores, we removed from our store shelves and from our website all products from the supplier that produced the bowls.
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. We are working to contact those customers to inform them of the situation and to retrieve those particular bowls.
Petco has notified the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and a number of state governments, and is in the process of notifying other appropriate states as we continue to collect and verify information.
The Illinois state government did its own testing and issued a news release stating that “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,” and that “these bowls do not pose an immediate health risk.”
Petco tested other stainless steel pet products it carries from other suppliers and found no similar issues. The supplier that produced the affected products has told us that it has 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.
Customers who purchased these products between the dates of May 31 and June 20, 2012, should bring it to their local Petco store for a full refund. If you have any questions, please call Petco Customer Service at 877-738-6742.
SKU numbers can be found on labels inside and on the bottom of the bowls.