Your Mother was Right!

May 16, 2008 at 4:59 am 4 comments

It’s important to Wash Your Hands!

According to the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC’s) Morbidity and Mortality report for May 16, 2008; in 2006 and 2007 at least 70 people in 19 states caught salmonella from handling dry dog food products.  The CDC stated that the source of the outbreak were dry dog foods produced at a manufacturing plant in Pennsylvania.  CDC also noted that because most cases of salmonella don’t get reported to health officials, the outbreak was “likely larger than the 70 laboratory-confirmed cases identified

WebMD Health News reports that:

Salmonella bacteria can cause diarrhea (which may be bloody), fever, and abdominal cramps. Most people recover within a week without treatment, but some cases can be severe. Infants, elders, and people with weak immune systems are particularly vulnerable.

Steven Reinberg of the Washington Post reports that:

Salmonella infections from dry dog food may be an under-recognized source of illness in people, especially young children, officials from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

“This is the first time human illness has been linked to dry dog food,” said CDC epidemiologist Dr. Casey Barton Behravesh, who co-authored a report on the finding.

The CDC isn’t sure how the Salmonella bacteria got into the dog food, Barton Behravesh said. “There are a number of possible ways that that could happen, and that’s something we are still trying to figure out,” she said, adding that there have been previous cases of people contracting Salmonella infection from contaminated pet treats.

The Mars Petcare’s Pennsylvania facility produced dry dog food under 25 different brand names including Royal Canin, Pedigree and Nutro, and many store brands.  Only two have been recalled, Krasdale Gravy dry food and Red Flannel Large Breed Adult Formula dry food. 

Also according to The Post:

“There have been problems with pet foods before,” said Dr. Pascal James Imperato, chairman of the department of preventive medicine and community health at the State University of New York Downstate Medical Center in New York City.

“If the food had any animal product in it, there could have been contamination, or if it was being processed in a plant where they were also processing animal product, then contamination can easily occur,” he said.

Imperato said the way food is produced makes it more likely that contamination will occur.

“There is greater industrialization of the production of food products, both for humans and animals, and these are complex processing systems. Therefore, there is greater opportunity for contamination,” Imperato said. “We are likely to see many more of these problems.”

So what should you do?

Don’t panic.  Some exposure to pathogens is necessary to keep a healthy immune system operating.  If you cook chicken with any regularity you’re already exposed to a greater risk of salmonella than you’ll likely find in any processed (non-raw) pet food.  Understand that any time you handle raw meat or meat products (like pet food) — especially those that come from commercial processing plants — you need to follow good hygiene practices (according to WebMD, two of every three Americans don’t follow good hand hygiene practices!)  Wash hands, dishes and preparation areas well.  Store these foods in an area out of the reach of young children. 

Remember: Proper Preparation Prevents Painful Pathological Processes!

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Entry filed under: dogs, health, safety.

Service Dog Insanity Ignorance is …… Influence

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Audie's Gramma  |  May 16, 2008 at 12:31 pm

    Wow.

    When my “Raw-Feeding-Is-Voodoo” vet snapped “Haven’t you ever heard of salmonella?!” on discovering I was feeding raw, all I had to snap back was “Have you ever heard of aflatoxin?!” (This was before the contaminated wheat gluten from China started killing his patients.)

    Now we know where people get salmonella infections — from the dry food.

    Who knew?

    Bet the Hills rep never told the vets that.

  • 2. Petsourceusa  |  May 17, 2008 at 2:11 am

    Yea, who knew? Definitly not something one would just think about! “It’s just dry dog food right?, Crunchy, dry stuff my dog loves, It can’t hurt anything or anyone”. But it IS a food product made from meats, dairy and grain and even eggs. It could happen and it could happen to any of us! Thans for the info. It is very useful and maybe will put that an the from of our minds!

  • 3. mark  |  May 17, 2008 at 2:56 am

    Great article !

  • 4. Luisa  |  May 18, 2008 at 3:07 am

    And I just read somewhere [Lifehacker…?] that there are more germs on a computer keyboard than on a toilet seat.

    I’m doomed.

    Seriously, I’m convinced exposure to pets/livestock builds a stronger immune system. Excellent post! [runs off to clean keyboard]

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