An online food safety recall involving dog food could save the lives of up to 2,000 people, with more than 400 of them hospitalised, after some pets had been given the lethal dose.
The Food Standards Agency said on Thursday it had issued the recall after some people received a contaminated product in December.
In total, 11,828 dogs and cats have been identified as having the dangerous batch of dog food, which contains a strain of E. coli bacteria.
A total of 2,811 dogs and 15 cats were affected in the UK.
“These are the products that were in the recall, so we are continuing to monitor the situation and have issued a number of additional alerts,” a spokeswoman for the FSA said.
The FSA said there was no risk to humans.
The affected dog food was sold at a number for dog food suppliers, and at some supermarkets and shops.
It said it was working with the UK and Ireland to determine how many of the affected dogs were given the contaminated food and how many received the same product in another form.
The UK food industry said it did not believe the contaminated dog food should have been sold to customers.
The food industry has been at the centre of a dog food recall that has seen over 300,000 puppies and kittens taken off the market after the product was found to contain E.coli bacteria in batches of up 30.
The recall prompted the Food Standards Authority to issue a statement saying it had been investigating the situation for some time and was “aware of the concerns raised by a number people”.
In the meantime, it has been reported that at least 11,500 dogs have been given a lethal dose of the food, including 2,800 that have been hospitalised.
“This is a very serious situation,” the FSA spokesman said.
“There is no way to prevent a person from acquiring E. coli from a contaminated dog or cat food.”
In total 12,300 people have been affected.
There were concerns that people could have become infected by sharing contaminated dog and cat food, with the FSA warning that it would not be a safe and healthy way to keep a pet.
“It is important to recognise that the UK Food Standards Association has issued warnings about dog and Cat food products in recent times and the risk to the public is very real,” the spokesman added.
“However, the risk of acquiring E coli from a tainted dog or pet food does not pose an immediate threat to the general public.”
The FSA has not yet said how many dogs and cat were affected.
It is also not clear how many people were affected, or how many had already received the contaminated product.
The agency has advised that anyone who has any concerns about the safety of a contaminated pet food should contact the agency or their veterinarian.
It will take six to eight weeks to collect all of the contaminated pet foods.