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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

Recall of Dry Dog and Cat Food Products Associated with Human Salmonella Schwarzengrund Infections — United States, 2008

I know economic times are tough, but human illnesses associated with dog and cat food? No, really, it is unlikely, but possible, that people consumed it out of necessity. However, it is more likely that ii is cross-contamination during the feeding of your pet. So, the next time your kid refuses to feed the dog, they are just trying to protect themselves. Well, on to the CDC report:

On May 16, 2008, CDC reported on a 2006–2007 multistate outbreak of infection with Salmonella enterica serotype Schwarzengrund that was associated with dry dog food. At the time of that report, a total of 70 cases had been reported from 19 states, with the last case identified on October 1, 2007. Subsequently, an additional case was identified on December 29, 2007. Epidemiologic and environmental investigations have suggested the source of the outbreak was dry pet food produced by one manufacturer, Mars Petcare US.

Investigators initially identified 70 cases, mostly in children. As a result of these findings, on August 21, 2007, Mars Petcare US announced voluntary recalls of selected sized bags of two brands of dry dog food, both manufactured by the company at its plant in Everson, Pennsylvania. The recall was based on microbiologic testing by FDA, which found unopened bags of the two brands contaminated with the outbreak strain. Other brands of dry dog and cat food produced at the same facility were not included in that recall. The Everson, Pennsylvania, facility ceased operations during July–November 2007 to enable cleaning, disinfection, and renovation, and resumed normal operations in mid-November 2007.

Despite the 2007 recall, the outbreak strain of S. Schwarzengrund was isolated from eight more ill persons during January–October 2008, bringing the total number of cases to 79 in 21 states.
After additional outbreak-linked illnesses were identified in 2008, FDA conducted another investigation. In August 2008, FDA found the outbreak strain of S. Schwarzengrund in multiple brands of finished product at the plant, prompting another recall of products by Mars Petcare US. On September 12, the company announced a nationwide voluntary recall of all dry dog and cat food products produced at the Everson plant from February 18 to July 29, 2008, when production again was suspended at the plant.  On October 1, the company announced that the Everson plant would be closed permanently.