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Reference Desk May 2012

Investigation of Multistate Outbreak of Human Salmonella Infantis Infections Linked to Dry Dog Food

    SILVER SPRING, Maryland, May 30, 2012—The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been collaborating with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and state and local officials to investigate a multi-state outbreak of Salmonella Infantis infections. FDA became involved in early April when the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development reported detecting Salmonella from an intact package of Diamond Naturals Lamb and Rice Formula for Adult Dogs, collected during retail surveillance sampling.  Diamond Pet Food was notified of the sampling results, and agreed to voluntarily recall this product on April 6, 2012. See Firm Recall Press Release: Diamond Pet Foods Voluntarily Recalls Limited Number of Dry Dog Food Bags Due to a Potential Health Risk for more information. At that time, there were no known dog illnesses reported. 

    An additional finding of Salmonella in a sample taken by the Ohio Department of Agriculture, from an opened bag of Diamond Brand Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover's Soul Adult Light Formula dry dog food collected from the home of an ill person, and an unopened bag of the product collected from a retail store led to a recall of that product on April 26, 2012. See Firm Recall Press Release: Diamond Pet Foods Expands Voluntary Recall of One Production Run of Dry Dog Food Due to a Potential Health Risk for more information.

    A sample of Diamond Puppy Formula dry dog food collected by FDA during an inspection at the South Carolina production facility also yielded Salmonella Infantis, which led to a recall of that product on April 30, 2012. See Firm Recall Press Release: Diamond Pet Foods Expands Voluntary Recall to Include Diamond Puppy Formula due to Possible Salmonella Contamination for more information. 

    Public health officials used DNA “fingerprints” of Salmonella bacteria obtained through diagnostic testing with pulsed-field gel electrophoresis, or PFGE, to investigate cases of human illness. CDC reports that this outbreak strain (Infantis) is rare, and typically only 0 to 3 cases are reported per month to PulseNet.

    Through interviews by state public health officials, FDA’s review of consumer complaints, and from a comparison of pet products from human exposure, some brands of dry pet food produced by Diamond Pets Foods at a single manufacturing facility in South Carolina have now been linked to human Salmonella infections. 

    FDA, CDC, and state investigations are ongoing in an effort to determine if other brands of dry dog food produced at the South Carolina facility may be linked to confirmed human illnesses.  FDA will provide updates on the investigation as new information becomes available.

    Recall Information

    May 9, 2012

    Diamond Pet Foods has expanded its recall of some brands of dry dog and cat food manufactured in its Gaston, South Carolina facility between December 9, 2011 and April 7, 2012 because it has the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella. 

    The FDA, CDC and state and local officials are collaborating to investigate cases of human illness linked to some brands of dry pet food produced by Diamond Pet Foods at the South Carolina facility.

    Consumers should check the company’s website, Diamond Pet Foods Recall Information, for information on how to read lot codes and “best by” dates involved in the recall, as well as specific states where the following products were distributed:

    • Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover’s Soul
    • Country Value
    • Diamond
    • Diamond Naturals
    • Premium Edge
    • Professional
    • 4Health
    • Taste of the Wild
    • Apex (distributed only in the state of South Carolina)
    • Kirkland Signature
    • Kirkland Signature Nature’s Domain
    • Canidae

    Several other companies with products manufactured at the Gaston, S.C. facility have issued voluntary recalls, since some of their products were produced at the Gaston facility during the time frame of the recalls and have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella. Those companies include:

    Diamond Pet Foods continues to work directly with distributors and retailers where the recalled products are carried to remove them as quickly as possible from the marketplace. FDA will provide updates on the recall and the investigation as new information becomes available. Complete information on the recalled products, including photos, lot numbers, and distribution information on each is located at Diamond Pet Foods Recall Information.

    May 3, 2012

    Since their initial recall on April 6, 2012, Diamond Pet Foods has voluntarily expanded that recall to include three of their dry dog food products. Diamond Pet Foods is cooperating with FDA and with state and local public health and agricultural officials in this ongoing investigation.

    The recalled products were distributed in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia.

    The company is working directly with distributors and retailers that carry these products to remove them as quickly as possible from the marketplace. 

    Laboratory Samples Update

    May 30, 2012

    Samples of Diamond Puppy Formula dry dog food collected by FDA during an inspection at the Gaston, SC production facility yielded Salmonella Infantis, which led to a recall of the product on April 30, 2012. The inspection occurred as a result of the initial positive sample taken by the State of Michigan from an intact package of Diamond Naturals Lamb and Rice formula for Adult Dogs. That product was recalled on April 6, 2012. 

    During the inspection, FDA also collected environmental and ingredient samples at the facility, which so far have yielded negative results for the outbreak strain. A surveillance sample of Diamond Naturals Small Breed Adult Lamb and Rice collected by the state of Ohio from the Diamond Meta, MO plant has now yielded a positive for Salmonella Liverpool (not the outbreak strain). Diamond has issued a recall for this product.

    Additional investigational steps include analyzing consumer complaints to determine if they are related to this outbreak and continued state surveillance to determine whether any recall expansion may be required. The company is working with FDA to ensure adulterated products are not on the market.

    Case Count

    May 11, 2012

    According to CDC reports, a total of 15 individuals infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Infantis have been reported from 9 states. The number of ill persons identified in each state is as follows: Alabama (1), Connecticut (1), Michigan (1), Missouri (3), North Carolina (3), New Jersey (1), Ohio (2), Pennsylvania (2), and Virginia (1). One new ill person was reported from Pennsylvania. Additionally, one ill person has been reported from Canada.

    Among persons for whom information is available, illnesses began between October 8, 2011 and April 16, 2012. Ill persons range in age from less than one year old to 82 years old and the median age is 47 years. Seventy-three percent of patients are female. Among the 10 patients with available information, 5 (50%) were hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.

    Illnesses that occurred after April 13, 2012 might not yet be reported due to the time it takes between when a person becomes ill and when the illness is reported.

    Advice to Consumers

    Consumers should check their homes for recalled dog food products. Do not feed recalled products to your pet and do not handle the pet food.  Follow the tips listed at FDA’s Safe Handling Tips for Pet Foods and Treats.

    Pet owners who are unsure if the product they purchased is included in the recall, or who would like a replacement product or a refund, may contact Diamond Pet Foods at 800-442-0402, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST, Monday through Friday, or visit Diamond Pet Foods Recall Information.

    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. Well 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.

    People who think they might have become ill after contact with dry pet food or with an animal that has eaten recalled dry pet food should consult their health care provider. Infants, older adults and those with impaired immune systems are more likely than others to develop severe illness.

    Veterinarians and consumers alike should 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 Resources

    How to Report a Pet Food Complaint

    Source: U.S. Food and Drug Administration

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