The FDA has reported several issues and violation of food safety laws at a Diamond Pet Food plant in Gaston, South Carolina that have lead to Salmonella illness in 16 people between October 8, 2011 and June 6, 2012 in nine states and one in case in Quebec, Canada. The common thread among 16 people was contact with dry pet food. The public health investigators used DNA fingerprint technology of the bacteria to identify links between the outbreaks. The illnesses appear to be linked to a recall of at least 11 brands of dry dog food manufactured at a Gaston, SC plant operated by Diamond Pet Foods of Meta, MO. The FDA lists the pet foods involved in the recall here.
Signs of Salmonella Poisoning in Pets from a Pet Food Recall
Pet foods contaminated with Salmonella can cause various signs from mild to severe, acute gastroenteritis, which left untreated can lead to sepsis and death. Mild to moderate signs of Salmonella include vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Diarrhea is watery to mucoid, and may contain blood. A diagnosis is based largely on culture of the Salmonella from the feces in the face of clinical signs of illness. Treatment involves the use of antibiotics and appropriate supportive care. Some animals can be infected and shed Salmonella and not show any signs of illness. Salmonella is easily transmitted from a sick animal to healthy animals by fecal contamination of food and water. Salmonella can survive for long periods of time in the environment, particularly in water. It resists many forms of disinfection. Use of activated aqueous glutaraldehyde (2%) applied for 30 minutes to an hour is usually effective, but should be done with caution in well ventilated areas due to the potential human risks.
Signs of Salmonella Poisoning in People from Pet Food Recall
People can be infected with Salmonella from contaminated pet food, raw food, contaminated water sources, or feces from infected pets. Small children and immunosuppressed people are at greatest risk. Salmonella is one of the most common intestinal bacterial infections that can be transmitted from dogs to people. People can decrease their risk of infection by washing hands after feeding their pet or handling of any fecal material. Salmonella infection in people can cause diarrhea, fever, and abdominal pain 12-72 hours after exposure. The illness can last for up to a week with most people recovering without treatment.