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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

First Doggy Could be a Real Yuk – Watch Out for Salmonella Dog Food

I was reading obamafoodorama’s post on the "First Pooch" and it got me to thinking.  Could President Obama’s best known campaign promise endanger the well being of little Malia and Sasha?

Think about it: When President Obama sat down with Jay Leno a few weeks ago, he hinted he was about ready to fulfill his ever-so-popular promise to provide the White House, and those outrageously cute Little Obamas, with a new puppy.

That prospect has kept this pet-crazy nation abuzz since Election Night. What will it be? Chihuahua? Great Dane? Poodle? Portuguese Water Dog?

Whatever the breed or bloodline, I can only hope that the First Mom and Dad are paying equal attention to the doggy diet. Because, according to our friends at the Center for Disease Control, pet food and treats can come with a nasty dose of Salmonella poisoning.

Back in 2005, the CDC warned that Salmonella traced to pet treats had sickened nine people in Washington State and Western Canada.

That was chickenfeed compared to an outbreak in 2006-2007, when the CDC identified 79 Salmonella cases in 21 states, and traced it to dry dog food produced by Mars Petcare US in a Pennsylvania plant. Most of the victims were small children, and the outbreak was worst in Eastern Seaboard states, including the Greater DC area. That case led to recalls of 135 different pet products, including dog biscuits, treats, supplements and some 23,000 tons of dry pet food.

For every sick kid we hear about, the CDC estimates that there are another 38 who are just as sick, but don’t get properly diagnosed. Epidemiologists believe millions of Americans – mostly children – are sickened with Salmonella every year.

So here’s some advice to the 44th President and the First Family:

– Keep the kids, and especially seven-year-old Sasha, away from the pet food.

– Get the critter spayed, or neutered, and vaccinated for rabies, etc.

– Pleeeeease: No pet rats, wildlife, or reptiles.

– Advise the staff: Wash your hands after handling pets, pet food or treats. Especially if they plan to serve dinner to the family upstairs.

– Dog feces pose a particular risk to small children. Designate an adult, preferably a Republican, to clean up after that puppy.

And maybe consider a nice GIANTmicrobe® as a pet instead. They are stuffed animals that look like tiny microbes. They don’t chase balls or catch Frisbees, but they’re kind of cute. It will also help remind us all of the 76,000,000 citizens who are sickened each year from foodborne illnesses.