Discovery of Salmonella in Dog Food

Discovery of Salmonella in Dog Food

On April 2, a sample collected as part of routine retail animal feed surveillance by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development’s (MDARD) Pesticide and Plant Pest Management (PPPM) division found Salmonella Infantis in a sample collected from an intact package of Diamond Naturals Lamb and Rice Formula for Adult Dogs. The manufacturer voluntarily recalled this product on April 6.  The recall has expanded and now includes 14 pet food brands manufactured from December 9, 2011 – April 7, 2012.  For a list of pet food brands being recalled, visithttp://www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/SafetyHealth/RecallsWithdrawals/default.htm.

MDARD’s discovery of Salmonella Infantis in April has been linked to human illnesses in several states.  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 is responsible for analyzing and sampling commercial feed to ensure that feed products offered for sale are safe and provide the promised nutrition.  PPPM also regularly performs inspections to make sure the processes used to create animal feed are in compliance with good manufacturing practices. In 2011, PPPM sampled more than 1,500 feed products.

“Even though this outbreak is associated with a pet food, pet owners need to understand that it still poses a human health risk,” said Dean Sienko, Interim Chief
Medical Executive with MDCH. “It is important for pet owners to clean pet dishes with soap and warm water, and to wash their hands with soap after feeding their pets and cleaning up animal waste.”

Salmonella infections can spread between animals and people. Consumers should follow these additional tips when handling pet food: use designated feeding utensils; keep pet food in original containers and at the proper temperatures (keep dry food dry), at moderate room temperature.  Canned food should be refrigerated after opening.  It is also important to keep infants and small children away from pet feeding areas; do not allow them to touch or eat animal food.

Salmonellosis is a bacterial infection, usually diagnosed by culture of a stool sample.  Symptoms can occur 12 to 72 hours after infection and include: diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps.  Illness usually lasts four to seven days, and most people recover without treatment, but infants, elderly persons, and people with impaired immune systems are more likely than others to develop severe illness. If the illness becomes severe, Salmonella may spread from the intestines to the bloodstream and then to other body sites; death can occur if the person is not treated promptly with antibiotics.

Pets with Salmonella infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting. Some pets will have only decreased appetite, fever, and abdominal pain. Animals can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian.

If you believe your animal feed is not safe or providing your animal with the promised nutrition, you may file a complaint at www.michigan.gov/MDARD.  For more information about the Diamond Pet Food Recall and additional brands visit http://www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/SafetyHealth/RecallsWithdrawals/default.htm, and for updates on the human cases of Salmonella Infantis, visit http://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/dog-food-05-12/index.html

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