Saturday, May 19, 2012

FDA inspection on Diamond Pet Foods plant

So, apparently, from April 12 to April 20, there was an FDA inspection of the Diamond Pet Foods plant. April 10 is when I'd posted about their initial 2012 recall, and said that I "applaudeded" them for doing it voluntarily. With the information that I have now, including dates (and the fact that they'd had recalls in what, 2007? So, before I ever got Elka), I really think that they knew exactly what they were doing. Timing is everything, right? Well, apparently Diamond was notified as of April 2 that Salmonella had been detected in random testing of one of their foods.

May 4 is when I posted about the recall expansion (still voluntary), that included Elka's food.

And hey, you know what? Apparently the plant started operations again. On April 30.

But, here's the FDA report on the plant. Not only is there no place for employees to do basic things like wash their hands, but it also seems as though there are ingredients present that aren't actually on the ingredients lists of the dog foods produced there. Animal digest? No, I don't think Taste of the Wild has that.

So, why am I (and others) paying for premium food, if weird stuff like that is apparently included in the processing? Who's cutting the corners here? I can't help but think of a statement I made while talking about chicken jerky sickening animals: if this was baby food, people would be losing their shit. But it's only dogs, right?

Well. Handling contaminated dog food, and interacting with dogs who have consumed contaminated food can spread the infection to humans. According to the CDC, at least 14 humans have become sickened with salmonella from this food. I still haven't seen any official announcement that dogs have gotten sick, though people have been perfectly willing to snark at me in comments on other peoples' blogs about it. If it isn't reported, by you or your vet, than people don't know. I have finally seen an article about Salmonella confirmed in 2 dogs, in one of the homes in which a human had been sickened as well.



Information for Pet owners: on the CDC web site.

12 comments:

  1. I do not think that is a bad report at all for a manufacturing plant, especially one that does the volume that one does. It doesn't say that there is no place for employee's to wash their hands, it says that there are not hand washing stations in every production area. Employees probably have to walk a bit...big deal. It would be nice if they could have them more conveniently located and maybe they will change that, but it is not always possible to retrofit a plant. Animal digest is what is in the animal I believe and not an ingredient per se. It looks like the FDA wants another screening test to guard against cross contamination. But as usual, in that part of the report it looks like employee error was the real problem (no gloves). All and all I do not have an issue with what is in that report. Pretty minor stuff imo. Gotta love the government bureaucrats.

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    1. Apologies about the handwashing thing. I'm trying to be accurate (if disapproving), not hysterical. Truth be told, if employees have to walk a bit, frequently they simply won't. I'm not casting aspersions on factory workers; this is a problem in the medical industry, of all things. Doctors and nurses. Not just dog food.

      Animal digest, per the AAFCO: AAFCO define as "material which results from chemical and/or enzymatic hydrolysis of clean and undecomposed animal tissue. The animal tissues used shall be exclusive of hair, horns, teeth, hooves and feathers, except in such trace amounts as might occur unavoidably in good factory practice and shall be suitable for animal feed". So yes, some of it could be incidental. Mentioned like this still makes me leery, especially as I'm paying more to make the deliberate choice not to feed things like that.

      So far as the cardboard and duct tape, and the plastic paddles with deep gouges in them that maintain food debris....yeah, I still feel that's pretty bad. This isn't just random bureaucracy; people and dogs have gotten sick. And the food is in more states than they said were affected. Apologies if I'd prefer my food sources to be accountable and sanitary. Not that Blue Buffalo is squeaky clean either, and not that human food sources are safe either. Maybe I should start running cattle >.>

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    2. I do not think any dogs have become ill.

      I am not saying that you should not choose some other food. I am just saying that I am not going to panic over that report. That cardboard and duct tape could be no where near the actual food processing.

      We tried Blue Buffalo it did not agree with our dogs. But that doesn't mean it isn't good food for other dogs.

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    3. 2 dogs have been confirmed ill, in the house of one of the human victims (linked in the entry): http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2012/05/salmonella-confirmed-in-two-dogs-fed-recalled-pet-food/

      And another article, just to make sure it was findable and not somebody making stuff up (I do try to cite sources and things said, not infer too much on my own, depending): http://efoodalert.net/2012/05/16/salmonella-confirmed-in-two-dogs-fed-recalled-pet-food/

      Really, it's enough for me that the food is apparently not safe for HUMANS to handle. One might assume those humans didn't actively consume it, just had some cross contamination from handling it, from their dogs licking, whatever.

      and http://www.seattledogspot.com/blog/2012/05/17/fda-finds-multiple-violations-at-diamond-pet-food-plant-in-sc: "Specifically, firm utilizes cardboard, duct tape, and other non cleanable surfaces on equipment. These materials were observed to have residues adhering."

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    4. Yes on equipment but it may never touch the food and residues doesn't necessarily mean the food. OK so I did not hear about the dogs. Not saying it isn't true, and I know you are citing sources but that one source cites the other which is a blog, (which has one heck of an agenda). I cannot find any other source. That source may be correct, but it is odd to me that it is the only source.

      I guess the whole salmonella scare doesn't bother me having just spent the weekend picking up pen raised ducks which could easily carry it and then making my dogs pick up those birds in their mouths. LOL we have a better chance of getting salmonella from those ducks than the food I am feeding them.

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  2. Blech. These days I worry a little even though we feed raw, because we have to use a pre-ground mix. I would love to get Silas switched over to eating whole, human-grade meat from my own grocery store.

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    1. It's so hard not to just be tinfoil hat paranoid about every food source ever. Even human grade stuff has all kinds of recalls (though lately it's been for vegetables more than meats, it seems, which is totally bizarre, I feel).

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    2. Human grade meat can also be contaminated, especially of fed raw. I know because I bought some once from the store which was recalled...

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  3. Maggie & Duke have been eating Natural Balance since last summer. She finally gained weight and maintained a decent weight for months on this food. The Sweet Potato & Duck wasn't on the recall list, but they started getting picky about eating it. Duke had diarrhea for two days so we had a vet appointment yesterday. She might have the results back today from the sample, but either way, I'm not going to buy food that the dogs no longer want to eat. I cooked chicken & rice to settle his stomach, but am not sure if I want to switch over to fully homemade food. I'm going to return the unopened bag of NB today & might pick up another limited ingredient kibble since Maggie has allergies.

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    1. The staggering volume of homemade food I would have to make for Elka keeps me from doing it (I found a calculator online for it, not sure if it's even accurate, but she would need 22 ounces of homecooked, carefully balanced food daily).

      Allergies are no fun :(

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  4. Gross. I'm so glad I feed homemade. Will you keep Elka on BB? (I think that's what you said she was on)
    Nola's MOm

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    1. For now she'll be on BB, yeah. I know they had a recall a few years ago, but it was a "too much Vitamin ___" one, I think (I forget which vitamin), not salmonella. It's hard to choose. And everything is so expensive.

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