Public health officials launched an investigation into a link between a recent outbreak of human salmonella infections and the recently recalled dog food brands produced by Diamond Pet Foods at its Gaston, S.C., manufacturing facility, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration reported today.
Since October, fourteen individuals in nine states have been diagnosed with Salmonella infantis—the same strain of salmonella discovered in three Diamond dog food brands produced in Gaston: Diamond Naturals Lamb Meal & Rice, Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover’s Soul Adult Light Formula and Diamond Puppy Formula.
Salmonella infantis is rare, according to the CDC, with less than three cases typically reported each month. Public health investigators linked the 14 illnesses to the recalled dog food by comparing the DNA “fingerprints” of the salmonella found in the food to those found in the individuals by using a technology called pulsed field gel electrophoresis.
In follow-up interviews, four individuals diagnosed with Salmonella infantis said they had direct contact with Diamond dog food that may have been produced in Gaston. Among the nine patients with available information, five were hospitalized, according to the CDC. Officials reported the infections in Missouri, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina and Alabama.
The FDA and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, along with state and local officials, are investigating whether the illnesses are linked to other brands of dry dog food produced in Gaston. Diamond ceased production at the facility last month, two days after the initial recall.
The Meta, Mo.-based company issued the following statement today after the FDA investigation announcement:
Diamond Pet Foods has been in full cooperation with federal and state health and regulatory agencies. Since notified in April, we have been aggressively addressing any issues. The FDA has acknowledged that we have taken corrective actions.
The FDA advised consumers to avoid handling or feeding the recalled products to their pets and to contact Diamond if they are unsure if the product they purchased is included in the recall.