Pet food contamination discovered by Michigan agency

May 11, 2012

The CDC issued a dog food recall last month after they found Salmonella contamination in some packages of Diamond Naturals Lamb and Rice Formula for Adult Dogs. The recall has since been expanded to 14 dog food brands.

The contamination has led to human illnesses, according to the CDC.

From the Associated Press:

"People who became ill, the thing that was common among them was that they had fed their pets Diamond Pet Foods," said CDC spokeswoman Lola Russell.

Three people each were infected in Missouri and North Carolina; two people in Ohio; and one person each in Alabama, Connecticut, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Virginia, the CDC said.

"Our folks are really wanting people to be aware of it. They want to be aware that this is causing people to get sick because they may have product in their homes. For every one that is reported, there may be 29 others," Russell

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development says their Pesticide and Plant Pest Management division first discovered the problem on April 2.

They say as part of their "routine retail animal feed surveillance" they discovered Salmonella Infantis in a sample of the Diamond brand dog food.

From MDARD's press release:

The Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) and other public health agencies have partnered to identify human illnesses that are related to this outbreak using genetic "fingerprints" of Salmonella bacteria obtained through laboratory testing. MDARD and MDCH continue to work closely with other states, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in the investigation.

“Safe animal feed is a vital component of the food chain and has a direct impact on food safety. This is an important case study on how animal feed safety and human health are connected,” said Keith Creagh, MDARD Director “MDARD's participation in the Food and Drug Administration’s Rapid Response Team and animal feed safety programs has provided significant  assistance in helping identify and reduce food  and feed safety hazards.”

MDARD officials say Salmonella infections can be spread between animals and people, and that people should follow these tips when handling pet food:

  • clean pet dishes with soap and warm water
  • wash hands after feeding pets and cleaning up their waste
  • use designated feeding utensils
  • keep pet food in original containers and at the proper temperatures (keep dry food dry)
  • canned food should be refrigerated after opening
  • keep infants and small children away from pet feeding areas
  • do not allow infants and small children to touch or eat animal food

Your pet could have a Salmonella infection if it shows the following signs:

  • lethargy
  • diarrhea or bloody diarrhea
  • fever
  • vomiting

Officials say some pets will have only decreased appetite, fever, and abdominal pain.

Contact your veterinarian if your pet has consumed one of the recalled products and shows these symptoms.