October 01, 2007


 Pet food might have link to human illness

Posted Sept. 15, 2007

Mars Petcare and Wal-Mart have pulled certain pet foods because of safety concerns. Also, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating a potential link between certain Mars pet food and a multistate outbreak of Salmonella infection in humans.

Mars Petcare issued two recalls of dry dog food because of possible contamination with Salmonella serotype Schwarzengrund. The Food and Drug Administration conducted tests on 10 samples representing seven product brands from Mars Petcare. Each sample consisted of 15 subsamples. Two of the subsamples tested positive for Salmonella Schwarzengrund—one subsample from Krasdale Gravy dog food and another from Red Flannel Large Breed Adult Formula dog food. Neither of those brands has been linked to human illness, however.

Mars recalled 5-pound bags of Krasdale Gravy dry dog food on sale in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. The bar code on the bags is 7513062596. The best-by dates are July 16, 2008, and July 17, 2008.

Mars also recalled 50-pound bags of Red Flannel Large Breed Adult Formula dry dog food on sale in Reedsland, Pa., and Richlandtown, Pa. The bar code is 4286900062. The best-by date is July 12, 2008.

Consumers with questions can call Mars Petcare at (866) 298-8332.

The CDC is collaborating with public health officials in Pennsylvania and other states and with the FDA to investigate a potential link between an outbreak of Salmonella Schwarzengrund infection in humans and an undisclosed brand of dry pet food made by Mars Petcare that may have been produced at a single plant in Pennsylvania.

As of Sept. 4, 62 persons infected with the same strain of Salmonella Schwarzengrund were reported to the CDC from 18 states. Cases continue to be reported. There have been no related reports of illness in pets, although the outbreak strain was isolated in fecal specimens from two dogs that ate dry pet food in the homes of two of the ill persons.

Investigations are ongoing to determine why human illness, especially among infants, may be associated with dry pet food. Factors under investigation include handling and storage of dry pet food, hand-washing practices, exposure of children to dry pet food, and location in the home where pets are fed.

In a separate case, Wal-Mart pulled a certain type of chicken jerky for pets off store shelves. The company had received a small number of complaints about a jerky product manufactured by Import-Pingyang Pet Product Co. and Shanghai Bestro Trading. The bar code on the product is 0087784900006.

Wal-Mart carried out a variety of tests on the chicken jerky. A laboratory found traces of melamine in the jerky product, but the laboratory recommended further testing because of the low concentrations of the substance.

In addition to pulling the product off store shelves, Wal-Mart took the extra precaution of placing a computer block on the chicken jerky at the cash register. Customers may return the jerky product for a full refund.

Consumers with questions can call (800) WAL-MART.