Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Dog Food
At least fourteen people in nine states have been infected with Salmonella Infantis as a result of contact with contaminated dry dog food, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Although no deaths have been reported, five of the patients were hospitalized. Those infected range in age from less than one year to 82 years old. No dogs have been reported sickened.
CDC determined that all of the ill individuals had handled dry Diamond Pet Foods produced in one Gaston, South Carolina, plant. A list of products recalled can be found on this Food & Drug Administration (FDA) website and on the Diamond Pet website. Pet owners can learn how to obtain a refund for recalled products here. For questions on the recall, CDC has posted the following telephone number for Diamond Pet Foods: (800) 442-0402.
I blogged last November on the issue of pet products and Salmonella contamination, and said that FDA had announced a year-long effort to collect and analyze samples of pet products for Salmonella bacteria. The program began last October and will extend until September, 2012. An FDA statement notes the agency became involved in the outbreak investigation early last month when the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development detected Salmonella during retail surveillance sampling. Salmonella was also detected in Ohio by the state Department of Agriculture and in South Carolina during an FDA inspection. In addition to those states, recalled products were distributed in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, North Carolina, New York, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Virginia. According to the FDA, Diamond Pet Foods is working directly with distributors and retailers to remove recalled products as quickly as possible. Meanwhile, pet owners can reduce the ever-present risk of illness from contaminated pet products:
Pet Owner Safety Tips
Purchase and Storage
- Purchase products in good condition (with no damage to packaging).
- Store dry products in a cool, dry place (under 80 °F).
- Keep pets away from household food storage and preparation areas.
- Keep pets away from garbage and household trash.
- Supervise young children around pets and keep them away from pet feeding areas.
Clean up after your pet: Dispose of pet feces in a tightly sealed plastic bag.
- Wash your hands for 20 seconds with hot water and soap before and after handling pet products.
- Use a clean, dedicated scoop or spoon to transfer pet food to feeding bowl; do not use your pet’s feeding bowl as a scooping utensil.
- Wash pet food bowls thoroughly with hot, soapy water to clean.
- Disinfect feeding bowls periodically (see downloadable poster):
- Wash with hot soapy water to clean; thoroughly rinse off soap
- Sanitize with chlorine bleach solution (1/4 cup bleach + 1 gallon water); leave wet for 10 minutes
- Rinse and dry.
Linda Golodner is President Emeritus of the National Consumers League and Vice Chair of the Water Quality & Health Council.