Header graphic for print
Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

Retail Pathogen Testing Works – How Random Testing Found a Salmonella Outbreak

Diamond Pet Foods still has some unanswered questions.

diamond-puppy-food.jpgDN Lamb Rice.jpgThe CDC announced yesterday that a total of 14 individuals infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Infantis have been reported from 9 states. The number of ill persons identified in each state is as follows: Alabama (1), Connecticut (1), Michigan (1), Missouri (3), North Carolina (3), New Jersey (1), Ohio (2), Pennsylvania (1), and Virginia (1). The outbreak has been linked to multiple brands of dry pet food produced by Diamond Pet Foods at a single manufacturing facility in South Carolina.

What is remarkable is that the outbreak was not prompted by ill persons (or dogs) as is the usual case, but it was prompted by a sample collected by Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development on March 14, 2012, during routine retail testing of dry pet food that tested positive for Salmonella Infantis.

Public health investigators used PulseNet to identify recent cases of human illness with a PFGE pattern indistinguishable from Salmonella Infantis, which was isolated from the unopened bag of dry dog food produced by Diamond Pet Foods.

Dog Food Illness and Recall Time Line

050312-epiEdit.jpg

A.   On April 2, 2012, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development detected Salmonella Infantis in an unopened bag of Diamond Naturals Lamb Meal & Rice dry dog food, which had been collected March 14, 2012, during routine retail testing of dry pet food.

B.   April 6, 2012 – Diamond Pet Foods is voluntarily recalling Diamond Naturals Lamb Meal & Rice. This is being done as a precautionary measure, as the product has the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella Infantis. No illnesses have been reported and no other Diamond manufactured products are affected. The product, Diamond Naturals Lamb Meal & Rice, was distributed to customers located in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Virginia, who may have further distributed the product to other states, through pet food channels.

C.   April 30, 2012 – Diamond Pet Foods is expanding a voluntary recall to include Diamond Puppy Formula dry dog food. The company took this precautionary measure because sampling revealed Salmonella Infantis in the product. No dog illnesses have been reported. The recalled Diamond Puppy Formula dry dog food was manufactured by Diamond Pet Foods in Gaston, S.C., and distributed in the following 12 states: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.

A few questions still unanswered are what prompted the April 6th recall by Diamond Pet Foods (I assume it was Michigan’s positive Salmonella Infantis test), and why on April 6 Diamond Pet Foods said that there were no illnesses reported (perhaps they did not know), and why on April 30th Diamond Pet Food said no dog illnesses have been reported, but did not mention people?

It does show the utility of PulseNet is helping track and stop pathogen outbreaks.