Eight new cases of salmonella infection have been linked to dry pet food, according to US health officials.
Salmonella Schwarzengrund, a specific strain of salmonella, has been linked to 79 cases of infection reported in 21 states, with most of the cases involving young children.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has linked the outbreak of this specific strain of bacteria to dry pet food produced at a single Mars Petcare plant located in Everson, PA.
In September, the same plant recalled several tons of dry dog and cat food sold under national brand names such as Pedigree for being contaminated with salmonella.
While the plant has permanently shut down, the threat of salmonella infection still exists. Because dry pet food has a one-year shelf life, it is possible that contaminated products still remain in many homes and could lead to several more cases of illness.
Pet owners that have pet food manufactured by Mars Petcare are advised to check the company’s website to see if it was included in the recall announced in September.
Safe Handling of Dry Pet Foods
The CDC offers the following steps to prevent foodborne illness and protect yourself and family against salmonella infection with dry pet foods, treats and supplements. Like many other types of foods, these products can be susceptible to harmful bacterial contamination.
-- Keep infants/small children away from pet feeding areas
-- Keep children 5 and younger away from dry pet food, treats and supplements
-- Wash hands with hot soapy water for 20 seconds immediately after contact with dry pet foods, treats and supplements and after handling pets
-- Regularly wash your pet’s feeding bowls and food spoon/scooper to prevent the growth of bacteria
-- Do not use the feeding bowl as a scooping utensil – use a clean, scoop or spoon
-- Dispose of old or spoiled pet food products safely, in a secure container within a covered trash bin
-- Store dry pet food in a cool, dry place
Canned pet food is not affected by the recall because the canning procedure likely eliminates bacterial contamination, writes the CDC in this week’s MMWR.
Consumers who have questions about the pet food recall should call 1-877-568-4463 or visit www.petcare.mars.com for more information. #