The recall of pet foods manufactured at a Diamond Pet Foods plant in Gaston, S.C. just keeps getting bigger and bigger. Initially, Diamond Pet Foods recalled only particular batches of its Naturals Lamb Meal & Rice dry dog food. This occurred on April 6, when the company stated that the action was simply a "precautionary measure."  On April 26 certain lots of Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover’s Soul Adult Light Formula dry dog food were recalled. On April 30, Diamond Puppy Formula dry food was added to the list.

And as of today (May 7, 2012), the recall associated with the plant in South Carolina has been expanded to include all of the following:

For an up-to-date list of recalled products, including affected production codes, visit petMD's recall page. You can also visit the websites of Diamond, Natural Balance, Wellness or any of the other affected pet food manufacturers.

All of these products have been recalled because of contamination or potential contamination with Salmonella bacteria. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that 14 people have been sickened due to contact with either contaminated food or with the dogs that have consumed the food. Five people have been hospitalized but none have died.

No reports of canine illness have come forth at this point, possibly because cases are simply being treated as nonspecific gastroenteritis. I wouldn’t be surprised if we start hearing of dogs being affected as word of the recall spreads, however.

Problems with the Diamond manufacturing plant were first identified when the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development detected Salmonella in an unopened bag of Naturals Lamb Meal & Rice dry dog food, which had been collected as part of a routine surveillance program. Public health investigators then identified recent human cases of salmonellosis caused by bacteria that were indistinguishable from those isolated from Diamond’s food. According to the CDC, "Seven of 10 (70%) ill persons interviewed reported contact with a dog in the week before becoming ill. Of 5 ill persons who could recall the type of dog food with which they had contact, 4 (80%) identified dry dog food produced by Diamond Pet Foods."

If you have recalled food in your home, seal it in a plastic bag and put it in a secured garbage can for disposal. Thoroughly clean all utensils, bowls, etc., that may have come in contact with the food, wash your hands thoroughly, and switch to a non-recalled brand of dog food or cat food immediately. If any people or pets in your household develop gastrointestinal symptoms (e.g., vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, fever or abdominal pain), contact your doctor or veterinarian ASAP and be sure to mention your potential exposure to Salmonella bacteria.

Stay tuned — the pet food recall situation seems to be changing rapidly.


Dr. Jennifer Coates

Image: Chris Smith Ronnie Shumate / via Flickr