Two dogs can be added to the list of clinically confirmed infections in the Diamond Pet Foods Salmonella Infantis outbreak, according to FDA’s Laura Alvey, Deputy Director, Communications Staff at the agency’s Center for Veterinary Medicine.
Both dogs lived in the same house as an outbreak victim, and were fed one of the recalled dry dog food products. At last report (May 11, 2012), there are 15 outbreak-related confirmed human cases of Salmonella infections in the USA and one Canadian case. Five people have been hospitalized.
Outbreak cases have occurred in nine states, including Alabama (1), Connecticut (1), Michigan (1), Missouri (3), North Carolina (3), New Jersey (1), Ohio (2), Pennsylvania (2), and Virginia (1). The Canadian outbreak victim is from the Province of Québec.
Once the outbreak investigation confirmed a link between the illnesses and samples of dry dog food manufactured in Diamond Pet Foods’ Gaston (South Carolina) production plant, the company voluntarily shut down the facility “to clean and implement additional procedures,” according to Alvey.
FDA inspected the facility while production was halted. The agency posted its Investigational Observation report (483 report) on the FDA website yesterday. Finished product samples were tested as part of the inspection process; FDA found Salmonella in a sample of puppy food, which was then recalled by the company.
The investigation is still “open and pending,” Alvey added in her email to me earlier today, which limits the information that FDA can release to the public at this time. One important piece of missing information is the scope of international distribution of the recalled pet food products. So far, Diamond Pet Foods has not responded to my email request for a list of affected countries outside of the USA and Canada.
Here are some things consumers in Canada, the USA and elsewhere can do to protect themselves, their families, and their pets from becoming statistics in this outbreak:
- Check your supply of pet food to see whether it is affected by the recall. If it is on the recall list, either throw it away or return the unused portion to the retailer. Do not assume that your pet food is safe if your state or country was not mentioned on the recall distribution list.
- If you have handled one of the recalled products and you develop symptoms of Salmonella (stomach ache, diarrhea, etc), seek immediate medical attention and mention the possible link to pet food.
- If your dog or cat was fed one of the recalled products and develops symptoms of gastrointestinal illness (vomiting or diarrhea), seek immediate veterinary attention. Ask your veterinarian to test your pet for Salmonella. The FDA urges veterinarians and consumers to report cases of animal illness associated with pet foods to the FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator in their state, or electronically through the Safety Reporting Portal. Additional information can be found on the CDC and FDA web sites .
- Review the FDA Tips for Preventing Foodborne Illness Associated with Pet Food and Pet Treats, and follow its recommendations to keep your family and your pets safe.
- Monitor eFoodAlert’s Diamond Pet Foods, Etc. Recalls – 2012 page. It will be updated as more information becomes available.
Above all, be aware that dogs may be infected with Salmonella – and may shed the bacteria in their stool – without showing any outward symptoms of illness. If your pet has consumed a Diamond Pet Foods dry dog food, be especially careful to wash your hands after handling the animal, and supervise closely any interaction between children and your pet.