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Diamond Plant Inspection Reveals Unsanitary Practices

Posted: May 18, 2012, 5:00 p.m. EDT

Diamond Plant Inspection Reveals Unsanitary PracticesAn inspection of Diamond Pet Foods' Gaston, S.C., plant where an outbreak of salmonella illnesses may have originated revealed conditions and practices that could have led to contamination of the final product, according to a U.S. Food and Drug Administration report.

The FDA conducted the inspection in April and made a series of observations regarding conditions at the plant. Among the observations, the FDA noted that the plant had not taken all reasonable precautions to ensure that production procedures do not contribute to contamination and that the equipment used to convey the food does not protect against contamination.

The Gaston plant does not conduct microbiological analysis on incoming animal fat, which can introduce pathogens into the production cycle and cause contamination of the finished product, according to the report. Inspectors also witnessed a Diamond employee touching in-line fat filter and oil with his or her bare hands.

Paddles along the plant’s conveyor systems had gouges and cuts, causing feed residues to cling to the equipment and creating potential areas for microorganisms to multiply, according to the report. The FDA also noted the plant’s use of cardboard, duct tape and other non-cleanable surfaces on equipment where food residues adhered, and foam gaskets around access doors to the bucket elevators were deteriorating and exhibited an accumulation of feed residues and dust.

Finally, Diamond failed to provide hand-washing or sanitizing facilities in production areas involving direct human contact with exposed finished feed.

To date, 16 people in nine states and Canada have been identified as being part of the outbreak linked to dog food produced at the plant. Diamond initially halted production at the plant and recalled several brands but has since resumed production.

The inspectional observations do not represent a final determination regarding the plant’s compliance with regulations, according to the report.
Neither Diamond nor the FDA responded immediately to inquiries.

An inspection of Diamond Pet Foods' Gaston, S.C., plant where an outbreak of salmonella illnesses may have originated revealed conditions and practices that could have led to contamination of the final product, according to a U.S. Food and Drug Administration report.

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Reader Comments
It's getting as bad as the episode that happened a few years ago with the China plants that poised our dogs and killed thousands of them!

Unfortunately the FDA regulations are not strict enough, they don't do improptu regular investigations regarding cleanliness etc...

It is getting to the point where we can't trust a Company with the life of our beloved animals. We are the ones that pay the vet bills when this happens, not them! They should be compensating all the families that has been affected by this.
Denis, BC, BC
Posted: 6/4/2012 9:15:03 AM
It is appalling that, with what I pay to get good quality food for my pets, many of the "big name" manufacturers will contract out the manufacture of their product to the lowest bidder, who then cuts corners. That's why I don't buy the cheap stuff!!!!!!
Nora, Wingdale, NY
Posted: 6/4/2012 9:06:16 AM
This is the reason why I only buy pet food from large, well established, well known companies that have been around for many, many decades and have the financial resources to conduct feeding trials, research and most importantly perhaps, good quality control procedures. I don't listen to pet food rating internet sites from people who have zero credentials but plenty of opinions, and who claim that veterinarians and even board certified veterinary nutritionists don't know squat about animal nutrition or are being bribed by pet food manufacturers, but that the clerk at the pet store is an expert on the subject.
Catherine, Suffolk County, NY
Posted: 5/22/2012 6:05:20 AM
Susan, unfortunately, Diamond brands have a history of contaminated products (i.e., salmonella, aflatoxin) - check archives at the FDA website, this incident serves to start looking for a more reputable, quality-control-issue, decent high quality pet food. Cheap does not mean better, obviously.
Wesley K., Akron, OH
Posted: 5/20/2012 3:56:38 PM
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