It’s time to add a new habit to pet care. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have traced a lingering 19-state Salmonella outbreak to the handling of dry dog food and dog treats. There have been seventy laboratory-confirmed cases of Salmonella was found in opened bags of dry dog food, in unopened bags, in stool from those dogs, and in one manufacturing plant. The pet food plant at the center of this outbreak produces 25 different brands of dry pet food. This source has been cleaned up, but similar outbreaks are likely to recur. In fact, this has probably been an unrecognized source of infection for many years.
The take home message is that dry pet food, pet treats, and supplements made from animal products should be handled as if they were raw meat. This means washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds after handling pet food, or using an instant hand sanitizer. The hands should be cleaned before eating or putting the hands in the mouth. Exploring babies should be kept away from pet feeding areas, and kids under five years old shouldn’t have access to pet foods unless an adult is sure to catch them before they put their hands in their mouths.
Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Multistate Outbreak of Human Salmonella Infections Caused by Contaminated Dry Dog Food — United States, 2006—2007. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. May 16, 2008,