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Dog food recall: 14 people sickened by salmonella

May 7, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
A nationwide dog-food recall was announced following the salmonella sickening of 14 people in at least nine states. Five of those sickened were hospitalized.

Officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said the people got sick from handling tainted dog food from Diamond Pet Foods, then not washing their hands before handling or eating their own food. No pets were sickened, according to the company.

Three people each were infected in Missouri and North Carolina; two people in Ohio; and one person each in Alabama, Connecticut, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Virginia, the CDC said.

The dog food manufacturing plant Diamond Pet Foods is located in Gaston, S.C. The company is based in Meta, Mo. The same S.C. plant produced food five years ago that was contaminated by a toxic mold that killed dozens of dogs, according to the CDC.

The plant temporarily was shut down April 8. Diamond Pet Foods has issued four rounds of recalls for food made at the plant, located outside of Columbia, S.C., between Dec. 9 and April 7. The latest recalls were announced Friday.

In 2005, a toxic mold called aflatoxin ended up in food made at the same Diamond Pet Foods plant in South Carolina and dozens of dogs died. The company offered a $3.1 million settlement. The Food and Drug Administration determined the deadly fungus likely got into the plant when it failed to test 12 shipments of corn.

FDA officials were not immediately available for comment Friday on the most recent problems with the plant.

Agriculture officials in Michigan found the strain of salmonella during routine testing of dog food on April 2 and health investigators noticed there was a possible link to the food made by Diamond Pet Foods. An ill person still had some of the food, and authorities were able to link the cases to the food, the CDC said.

The recall covers a number of pet food brands made at the Gaston plant, including Canidae, Natural Balance, Apex, Kirkland, Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover's Soul, Country Value, Diamond, Diamond Naturals, Premium Edge, Professional, 4Health and Taste of the Wild.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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