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Is Rover's food contaminated?

Food contaminated with bacteria has caused widespread infection and illness in many incidents over the last few decades. Most recently, an outbreak in Minnesota, Iowa and Nebraska was tied to salad mix imported from Mexico and served at a corporate chain of restaurants. Other recent incidents involved peanut butter or ground beef. However, the contamination is not limited to the human food supply.

In the last few years, there have been multiple cases of dog food being contaminated with salmonella and that contamination leading to infection in humans. Recently, authorities in New Hampshire reported that 21 people had been infected by contact with chicken jerky dog treats. Salmonella infections can cause serious injury or death if the infection reaches the blood stream.

Salmonella contaminated dog food infected 49 people in the U.S. and Canada last year, and six years ago, 70 people were infected in 19 states. Before that incident, another outbreak linked to dry dog food caused sickness in nine people.

With salmonella contaminated dog food and treats, children are especially at risk, as the infection can be transferred by contact with dog food spilled on the floor. Young children, who are naturally attracted to dogs, could easily pick up small pieces or residue of dog food on their hands, which they then place in their mouths, from crawling on the floor near a dog dish.

Salmonella typically causes symptoms like diarrhea and cramps, but in severe cases can lead to a dangerous blood borne infection that can move to other parts of the body and result in death. Very small children and toddlers should keep away from dog food, and anyone who touches dog food or treats should thoroughly was their hands. 

Source: Food Poisoning Bulletin, "Salmonella in Dog Food Harms Humans, Too," Carla Gillespie, September 12, 2013

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