The latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that, despite reports and recalls in 2007, eight new cases of Salmonella poisoning in humans from contaminated pet food were identified in 2008.
Salmonella, as many people know by now, is a microorganism, a "germ," that can infect food products. When humans eat the contaminated food, they can get sick; in some cases, very sick. Symptoms can be flu-like, including bloody diarrhea. The most common victims are young children, who may handle dry pet food or put dry pet food in their mouths.
According to the CDC, it identified 79 cases, mostly children, of Salmonella poisoning in 2006-2007, in 21 stataes. All the cases were linked to dry pet food produced by one manufacturer, Mars Petcare US, in a plant in Everson, Pennsylvania. Although the manufacturer closed the plant in 2007 to clean and disinfect, these new cases, linked to the same plant, have resulted in the facility’s permanent closure.
In 2007 the manufacturer recalled all petfood suspected to be contaminated with Salmonella. In September 2008, following the latest cases, another recall was conducted, involving approximately 23,109 tons of dry pet food, representing 105 brands. However, since not all supplies were returned and, since dry pet food has a shelf life of 1 year, the CDC says stocks could still be in homes, creating a danger to consumers. The CDC requests that consumers who have these products discard them or return them to the place of purchase.