Saturday, August 23, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Illnesses linked to contaminated pet food

At least 14 people in nine states including Pennsylvania have been sickened from dog food that came from a South Carolina plant that issued four food recalls in the past five months.

Illnesses linked to contaminated pet food

At least 14 people in nine states, including Pennsylvania, have been sickened from dog food that came from a South Carolina plant that issued four food recalls in the past five months.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said five of the people were hospitalized from handling Diamond dog food.

 "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.

No dogs were reported ill, but the food came from the same plant that a few years ago prodiced food contaminated by toxic mold that killed dozens of dogs.

People can get salmonella by handling infected dog food, then not washing their hands.

The South Carolina plant temporarily was shut down April 8, after Diamond issued four recalls between Dec. 9 and April 7 - the most recent on Friday.

"We took corrective actions at the plant, and today the plant is up and running. Our mission is to produce safe pet foods for our customers and their pets in all Diamond facilities," the company said in a written statement Friday.

In 2005, a toxic mold called aflatoxin ended up in food made at the same Diamond Pet Foods plant in South Carolina and dozens of dogs died. The company offered a $3.1 million settlement. The Food and Drug Administration determined the deadly fungus likely got into the plant when it failed to test 12 shipments of corn.

Agriculture officials in Michigan found the strain of salmonella during routine testing of dog food on April 2 and health investigators noticed there was a possible link to the food made by Diamond Pet Foods. An ill person still had some of the food, and authorities were able to link the cases to the food, according to the Associated Press report.

The recall covers a number of pet food brands made at the Gaston plant, including Canidae, Natural Balance, Apex, Kirkland, Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover's Soul, Country Value, Diamond, Diamond Naturals, Premium Edge, Professional, 4Health and Taste of the Wild.

The range of quality of dog food brands recalled from the same plant highlights the issues we've seen before with single plants producing pet food under various brand names. 

Diamond dry dog food, used by many commercial kennel operators, gets a below average rating from Dog Food Advisor. By contrast Taste of the Wild received Dog Food Advisor's top rating.

Who can forget the devastating effects from melamine imported from China that made it into the North American pet food supply chain. The contamination in one Canadian plant that made many brands of pet food, led to 100 pet deaths and 500 cases of kidney failure.

 

Amy Worden Inquirer Staff Writer
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Amy Worden Inquirer Staff Writer
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