The CDC has announced that the dry dog food Salmonella outbreak has grown. Now 20 people in 13 states and two people in Canada are sick with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Infantis. Seventeen patients have been interviewed by government investigators; of those, six, or 35%, have been hospitalized.
Several brands of dry dog food and cat food produced by Diamond Pet Foods at a facility in Gaston, South Carolina are linked to these infections. Pets can eat the food and contract the bacteria and show no signs and symptoms, but be carriers. Simply petting an animal with Salmonella, then touching your mouth or eating something can spread the bacteria. The tainted pet food can also contaminate any surface it touches. Once a dangerous bacteria is in the home, cross-contamination is almost impossible to prevent.
The case count in this dog food Salmonella outbreak is as follows:
- Alabama (2)
- California (1)
- Connecticut (1)
- Illinois (1)
- Michigan (1)
- Missouri (3)
- North Carolina (3)
- New Jersey (1)
- New York (1)
- Ohio (2)
- Pennsylvania (2)
- South Carolina (1)
- Virginia (1)
The five new cases are from Alabama, California, Illinois, New York, and South Carolina. Illnesses began between October 2011 and May 11, 2012. The age range of patients is less than one year old to 82 years old. The median age is 46.5 years. Sixty-eight percent of the patients are female.
The FDA cited the Diamond Pet Food plant in South Carolina for violating several food safety laws, including no microbiological analysis for pathogens, no hand washing and sanitizing facilities, and dirty and damaged equipment that was not properly maintained. The Food Safety Modernization Act of 2010 requires that pet food manufacturers must comply with Preventative Control Rules and submit HACCP plans to ensure the food they make is safe.
There have been several problems with the Diamond Pet Food plant in question. In 2005, pet food manufactured at that plant was contaminated with toxic mold that killed at least 76 dogs and prompted one of the largest pet food recalls in U.S. history. At that time, FDA inspectors warned the plant owners for the same violations that were found this year.
If you or anyone you know has suffered the symptoms of Salmonella poisoning, including fever, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps, and have purchased one of these Diamond Pet Food products, see your healthcare provider immediately.