November 12, 2019

One Salmonella Case Associated with Darwin’s Raw Chicken Pet Food

The FDA has quietly released information about the multidrug-resistant, multistate Salmonella outbreak that is linked to raw chicken products. One person has reported becoming sick after pets in their home ate raw ground chicken pet food manufactured by Darwin’s Natural, according to a statement placed in the FDA’s announcement of an investigation into contamination in raw pet foods.

Darwin's Natural Salmonella Outbreak

There is no more information about that person, how he or she got sick, if pets in the home were sickened, or if the patient was hospitalized or if they have recovered. There is a history of recalls and “multiple complaints” associated with Darwin’s Natural Selections and Darwin’s ZooLogics pet foods, which are manufactured by Arrow Reliance.

The foods in question were manufactured from October 17, 2016 to March 26, 2018. The products tested positive for E. coli O128, Salmonella, and/or Listeria monocytogenes bacteria. Many of these products have been recalled over the past two years.

There have been several complaints of illness or death in animals that have eaten these foods. Dogs have tested positive for Salmonella infections.

Public health officials do not recommend that pet owners feed their pets raw food, for this very reason. The animals can get sick, or they can become asymptomatic carriers of the pathogens, and pass the bacteria on to people. People can also get sick when they handle the food. Cross-contamination can be an issue; the raw food can contaminate surfaces it touches while it is being handled.

The last update on this outbreak was issued by the CDC on October 17, 2018. No specific brand of chicken or pet food has been named to date, other than the Darwin’s Natural connection.

This outbreak is quite serious, since the bacteria in these products and foods is resistant to 13 different antibiotics: ampicillin, ceftriaxone, chloramphenicol, ciprofloxacin, fosfomycin, gentamicin, hygromycin, kanamycin, nalidixic acid, streptomycin, sulfamethoxazole, tetracycline, and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole. This makes infections more difficult to treat, and makes it more likely that more people who contract these infections will be hospitalized.

Attorney Fred Pritzker

You can contact food safety attorney Fred Pritzker for help by calling 1-888-377-8900 or 612-338-0202.

More troubling, the outbreak statement said that “The outbreak strain of Salmonella Infantis is present in live chickens and in many types of raw chicken products, indicating it might be widespread in the chicken industry.” The USDA and CDC are asking representatives from the chicken industry about the steps they are taking to reduce Salmonella contamination in flocks and in their products.

This is not the first time human illnesses have been linked to pet food; and raw pet food has not always been the culprit. In 2012, a Salmonella Infantis outbreak linked to dry dog food sickened 47 people in 20 states. Fred Pritzker and his team of attorneys filed a lawsuit against Diamond Pet Foods in connection with that outbreak on behalf of an infant who was sickened.

And earlier this year, two children in Minnesota were sickened with Salmonella Reading infections after Raws for Paws raw ground turkey pet food was fed to animals in their home. One of the children developed osteomyelitis, a serious bone infection, and was hospitalized.

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