May 19, 2012 Within the last few weeks a number of pet food brands have issued recalls, all for dry pet foods manufactured by Diamond Pet Foods at its plant in Gaston, South Carolina.
The Centers for Disease Control report that sixteen people have been confirmed infected with salmonella as a result of contact with contaminated pet food, or contact with pets that had eaten the food.
This week the Food and Drug Administration released a document listing their findings after an inspection of the South Carolina plant.
The report cited four problem areas in the plant.
First, reasonable precautions were not taken to prevent contamination during production.
Second, the plant failed to provide sufficient facilities for hand washing and sanitizing.
Third, equipment, containers and utensils used to convey and store food were not maintained properly to protect against contamination.
And fourth, there was a failure to maintain equipment in a way that would facilitate keeping it clean.
The Gaston plant has previously had its operations suspended for producing for tainted pet foods.
No information has been released on the number of pets that might have been affected by the contaminated food, but the FDA report contains information that should be important for all pet owners – specifically, that we should be aware of how we handle our animals' food and bowls or plates.
Just like you, your pet would prefer to eat from a clean dish, so wash it after each use. And wash the water bowl, too. And occasionally, your pet's toys.
Store pet food in a resealable container, even dry food. Refrigerate containers with moist leftover pet food. Then wash out any container before refilling it.
Finally, wash your hands in warm soapy water after handling pet food, bowls and dishes.
Most of us think of our pets as members of the family. We don't like to eat off the same plate day after day without washing it, or drink from the same dirty glass every day. So don't expect your pet to do that either.
A little hygiene goes a long way toward keeping everyone healthy and happy, when you're speaking of pets.