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Tainted pet food can sicken owners and kids
August 9th, 2010
02:34 PM ET

Tainted pet food can sicken owners and kids

Contaminated dry pet food can sicken animal owners and children with Salmonella, according to a study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics.

The study conducted by researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that there were 79 reported cases from a 2006 to 2008 Salmonella outbreak. Through interviews with the affected households, results suggested exposure to animals as a possible source of infection.

Lab and epidemiologic evidence indicated that dry cat and dog food produced at a plant in Pennsylvania resulted in human illness during that three-year period, according to the study.

“Both direct contact with animals and indirect contact with environments where animals live and roam and other materials associated with animals (tank water, food and water dishes, and cages) can lead to human infections,” wrote the authors in the article.

About half of the reported cases of the 79 Salmonella infections were children aged 2 or younger, prompting the authors to provide these tips about avoiding contamination:

– Pet food bowls and pet feeding areas should be routinely cleaned and disinfected
– Keep infants out of pet feeding areas
– Children under age of 5 years should not be allowed to touch or eat pet food, treats
– Animal housing, food or water dishes should not be cleaned in kitchen sinks or tubs


soundoff (75 Responses)
  1. CB

    considering that I live in an apartment with only a tub and kitchen sink....how am I supposed to wash my cat's dish? I mean, wouldn't one exercise just as much caution when handling raw poultry in and around the kitchen sink?

    August 9, 2010 at 16:51 | Report abuse | Reply
    • vet tech

      that makes absolutely no sence! how do you wash your dishes? just because our pets eat the same thing every day doesn't mean that they aren't dirty!

      August 9, 2010 at 17:35 | Report abuse |
    • Ituri

      Quite strange indeed. Nobody in my family, in any of our homes, has an "extra sink" just for animal use. They want us to use the garden hose, with no heat or disinfectant? Silly. If you clean your dishes and garbage in the sink, you should be disinfecting your sink regularly anyway. Washing pet bowls will cause little difference. Sinks are already crawling with microbes anyway.

      August 9, 2010 at 22:36 | Report abuse |
    • Gracie's Caretaker and Friend

      Read this again! "Through interviews with the affected households, results suggested exposure to animals as a possible source of infection."

      What the hell. "as a possible" cause. OMG...The study probably cost a million bucks! Oh gee, less then 50 per yr. Those that got sick were probably fed the food. And what was the name of the "plant" that produced the bad food? Duh...lets feed more of the trash to our pets! Stupid article.....

      The article is stupid, stupid and freek'n stupid.

      August 10, 2010 at 00:56 | Report abuse |
    • Ken in TN

      Silly me, and I thought it was just common sense that dishes, counters and the sink should be clean prior to any use and then cleaned after you have performed a task which has likely dirtied them and that pet dishes were to be treated just like our dishes (washed with soap, etc. – just stored in a different location and used for a specific purpose).

      August 10, 2010 at 01:54 | Report abuse |
    • Rocket Scientist

      Try getting a slightly bigger basin or bucket in which to clean your pet dishes. Then you can dispose of the dirty water in the toilet or outside.

      August 10, 2010 at 02:20 | Report abuse |
    • Paul

      I would think so. Another "partial" CNN story.
      Bleach or otherwise disinfect your sink and pet bowls after washing.

      August 10, 2010 at 06:03 | Report abuse |
  2. Selfish Gene

    I feed my dogs a raw diet.

    August 9, 2010 at 17:28 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Ituri

      There's a reason wild carnivores live shorter lives, and it isn't just the competition factor. Infection via raw food sources is common in the wild. You just don't see them... since they DIE and get CONSUMED by other wild animals. Clean and natural... just like your "forward thinking" raw diet you feed Fido.

      How about feeding them a natural diet thats safe? If you have the time and finances for raw, you have the time and finances for cooked.

      August 9, 2010 at 22:34 | Report abuse |
    • Emily

      You possibly have not accepted the fact that dogs are just about as domesticated as you get. They scarcely can tolerate anything other than processed dog food. They cannot hunt well any more for the most part. They are bred to retain puppy-like characteristics their whole lives. I love all of these things about dogs, it's what makes them lovely. And I feed my dog from among the best DOG FOODS available. Human food, whether cooked or raw, does not provide a balanced diet for a dog. For the other people who lovingly feed their dogs human food, as if they're little people, you're just making your dogs FAT.

      August 9, 2010 at 23:15 | Report abuse |
    • Ann

      Emily, human food is perfectly good for dogs. Dogs are omnivores and can eat just about anything. I fed my dog human food prepared each day at home - fresh vegetables, chicken and rice. He was a Great Dane and exceeded the breed's average lifespan (8-9 years) by 3 years. He was never fat, and until two weeks before his death, was never sick or lethargic.

      August 9, 2010 at 23:49 | Report abuse |
    • Sarah

      Gee, could part of the reason wild canids may live shorter lives be that they receive no veterinary care? Cooking food destroys enzymes and makes it less nutritious for dogs. They can scarcely tolerate anything other than processed dog food? What??? "Dog food" has only been around for several decades. Domesticating an animal does not change their digestive system. Dogs are also more likely to be overweight if they eat "dog food" rather than a natural raw meat diet. Hard working dogs are fed raw diets almost exclusively because no cooked diet has been found that will allow them to perform as well. To me that's pretty good evidence that a raw diet not only can but is much more likely to be "balanced."

      August 9, 2010 at 23:59 | Report abuse |
    • Gracie's Caretaker and Friend

      Raw meats if fresh is fine for most dogs. Perfectly fine! That includes fish less the bones. Cooked meats are destroyed and the bone must be removed before feeding so it does not chip or splinter. It is very true that "working dog" eat raw meat. Toss them a chicken leg! The bones digest if not cooked.

      Remember when doggie poo turned white after it sat out in the yard? If you don't you are younger then me. It turned white because it broke down and decayed. Now with the additives it preserves it.

      Recently there was an article about cheap dog food on the site. Read it. There is a vast difference in dog foods. Much of it is crap. Look for the best and that is usually the same food that the best breeders use for pups such as German Shepherds. A well feed and cared for GSD will live for 15 yrs.

      You might also ask your local cop what they feed their dogs. Expect to here "raw" and processed.

      August 10, 2010 at 00:34 | Report abuse |
    • MrsFizzy

      @Gracie's: I still see some white poo around & I did wonder about it bcos my dogs' don't seem to do that and they are on a relatively natural diet. I assumed that was the chemical residue ash precipitating out as the poo broke down.

      August 10, 2010 at 01:34 | Report abuse |
    • Mila

      My Scottish Terrier got ACH (Active Chronic Hepatitis) after getting into something rotten on the grounds when he was 7. For the next 3 years he was suffering from ACH, throwing up after every meal and losing energy. He was under the care of the best doctors in NY and later in CA, receiving medicine 3 times/day, including the one from a human compound pharmacy. He had the best and healthiest diet the money could buy. But his liver blood test had Alkaline Phosphatase in 3,000+ and climbing (the healthy number for him was in the teens). When he was 11 years old I knew that he was dying. The only one thing that I did not try was a raw diet because I was afraid and our very experienced vet strongly opposed to it.

      But at that point I had nothing to loose and one evening I gave him just 1/4 lbs raw ground beef (organic and lean), nothing else. I watched him literally inhaling it, first time that he was excited about his food in years. I was praying all night that he was all right, but for the fist time he didn't throw up after dinner and slept through the night. He actually had a little spark in his eyes the next morning.... This is when I knew that I was onto something. I started giving him only raw food from then on. I read an amazing book called Natural Nutrition for Dogs and Cats by Kymythy Schultze. She write about the importance of the right proportions in the raw pet diet to give the animal maximum nutrition and not deplete any nutrients. For my dog, the raw diet was like magic: I weened him off all of his medications within 6 months, including the one that we were getting from the compound pharmacy. I regularly took him to the vet (once a month) to check his liver blood panel. His Alkaline phosphatase dropped to 300's – not in teens but way lower than 3,000+! Other indicators were also stabilizing. Our vet was still against it because of the possible bacteria BUT he could not deny that my dog's health was on the mend; he finally consented that it worked for some dogs.

      Since I put my dog on the strict raw food diet, we had a happy 1 1/2 years together. He was happier the last 1 1/2 years of his life than he was for the 4 prior years. He passed peacefully at the ripe age of 12 1/2 years and I am so glad that I discovered this diet. When I have another dog in the future, I won't listen to any vet and my pup will be on the raw diet from the start. The enzymes and defense immune nutrients that are in the raw diet give the body tools to heal itself. If I can help just one other animal by sharing our story, I feel that my dog's suffering was not in vain. Peace.

      August 10, 2010 at 03:31 | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      @ Emily: You do not have any idea what you are talking about. Science has not even taught us all we need to know about human nutrition. Animal nutrition is even further behind.

      Processed foods are generally a very poor source of nutrition for humans. We have taken to fortifying foods to make up for noted deficiencies. The same is true for animals. The truth is that you have fallen victim to marketing.

      Raw, whole foods are best, whatever species you are. Of course, for health, cook your meat (if you eat it...I don't).

      I think that the telling part of this article is that they do not FAULT the pet food companies for subpar sanitation. Contaminated food is contaminated food, and this plant in PA is hopefully shut down.

      August 10, 2010 at 04:27 | Report abuse |
    • JW

      I find the anti-raw sentiment annoying. Don't tell me what to feed/not feed my pets! I've seen my animals do really well on raw. ANIMALS CAN'T COOK. Do you really think dogs and cats would vanish from the planet if they didn't have food factories churning out garbage for them? NO. They've had millions of years of evolution on a wild prey diet. Did they ever die prematurely from such a diet? Perhaps they did. Do animals die prematurely today from eating overprocessed dry food garbage? Undoubtedly. So, it's my personal choice, I will vet my kitty if he gets sick for whatever reason–but he will continue to eat raw.

      August 11, 2010 at 10:48 | Report abuse |
  3. Bill

    What happened to the idea of washing your hands before handling food or eating? Somewhere I remember being taught to wash my hands after handling animals also. And the big question being missed is what are we feeding our pets!

    August 9, 2010 at 18:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. SJH

    Be very careful when "disinfecting" your pet's dishes or feeding area. Products such as Lysol (for example) can be extremely toxic to animals, especially cats. They get it on their paws, lick it off, and can get very sick or die. Whatever you use, use sparingly and be sure the area is thoroughly rinsed and dried before the pets get near it.

    August 9, 2010 at 19:16 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Emily

      Urban myth. It's well-documented on the interwebz. Of course, you wouldn't want Fido or Kitty to suck down half a bottle of floor cleaner, but no, if they walk across your wet floor and then lick a paw, they're going to be fine. Unless you're cleaning your floor with nitric acid or something 🙂

      August 9, 2010 at 23:18 | Report abuse |
    • Fluffernutter

      EMILY: I lost one of my cats this way. The toxicology report showed it was a particular cleaning agent that killed my cat. So screw you for calling it an urban myth. Just because it did not happen to YOU means SQUAT.

      August 10, 2010 at 15:28 | Report abuse |
  5. Sarah

    I don't know why so many people feed their pets such poor quality food in the first place. Aren't all the poisonings and recalls enough to make them realize how horrible most "pet foods" are and not even want the crap in their residences much less their beloved pets' bodies?

    Feed raw or at least read online pet food reviews and the ingredient label and choose a quality kibble, not grocery store junk food.

    August 9, 2010 at 19:32 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Ituri

      The reality of a raw diet for your animals (assuming you have carnivores to start with) is that it is just as dangerous as a "store bought kibble" diet, if not more. Handling and consuming raw meat leads to infection, bug infestation, worms, salmonella, and a host of other problems. This fad of a "raw diet for your dogs" ignores that canines eating raw in the wild live FAR shorter lives, partially due to that rough diet.

      Feed cooked. Its little more effort than raw, and is far safer than either raw or kibbles. Also, there is no reason a quality kibble can't be used. Many natural kibbles are made with bison, deer, lamb, etc, and are very nutritious for your dog, as well as safer than "walmart kibbles."

      August 9, 2010 at 22:40 | Report abuse |
    • Emily

      Raw meat is NOT easily digestible. It's kinda why humans started cooking meat the moment they harnessed fire. Dogs do far better on a highly digestible food. The raw diet craze is just hype...it adds nothing to dogs' longevity and potentially exposes them to the same bugs you'd be exposed to if you ate raw meat. Dogs have enzymes in their saliva that handle bacteria pretty well, but not parasites and heavy-duty bacteria.

      August 9, 2010 at 23:20 | Report abuse |
    • Sarah

      Can either of you provide links to credible evidence regarding your claims about the risks of raw diets? I know there are quality kibbles, even provided a link to a site with good reviews to help people find them, but my research and experience shows me that raw is better.

      August 9, 2010 at 23:41 | Report abuse |
  6. Sarah

    http://www.skylarzack.com/rawfeeding.htm

    August 9, 2010 at 19:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. sn

    If the Pet Food Companies would stop putting contaminated food products on the shelves and therefore in our homes there would not be a problem!

    August 9, 2010 at 19:33 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Sarah

      You don't have to buy whatever is on the shelf. Research.

      August 9, 2010 at 19:35 | Report abuse |
  8. Sarah

    http://www.dogfoodanalysis.com/dog_food_reviews/

    August 9, 2010 at 19:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Chris

    I feed my dog regular store-bought dry and wet dog foods. I handle my dog's bowl without washing. I wash my dog's bowl in the kitchen sink once or twice a week. I sometimes wash my hands before handling food, or after handling my dog - sometimes not. I usually wash after cleaning up her number two, but not usually after cleaning up her number one. I let my dog lick me on the nose, mouth, and ears. I am rarely sick. It's not that I don't believe in germs, it's that the more you hide from them, the less prepared you are for them. People need to stop listening to Proctor and Gamble. They and their ilk have been using scare tactics to (over)sell their products for over a hundred years. We should be able to expect more objectivity out of physicians, but sometimes they're not very good scientists. Seventy nine reported cases over a three year period, in a population of several hundred million? Gee, how many millions of dollars should we spend trying to reduce that by ten percent?

    August 9, 2010 at 20:00 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Sarah

      I agree with you about there being no need to be obsessive about trying to sanitize things, and that exposure to germs is good for us by building up our immune systems to fight them off, but if you're feeding "regular store-bought dry and wet dog foods" without researching what is in them and ensuring they are high quality, nutritious ingredients I feel sorry for your dog.

      August 9, 2010 at 21:57 | Report abuse |
    • Ituri

      Sarah, if you can't give a solid reason why Chris is wrong concerning his/her habits, then WHY should you try a guilt trip? Trying to harp your raw food diet? Most store bought kibbles are fine. Not great, but they are 99%+ NOT contaminated, and are economical as well. Many people would love to feed a higher quality kibble at the very least, but the difference of $40 is simply too high for most people. Trying to guilt trip them into something else is hardly going to help the situation.

      Perhaps we could actually get some laws and standards in place so that kibble can't be brought in from places that don't hold up? Most contamination has NOT been with US brand kibbles, after all.

      August 9, 2010 at 22:46 | Report abuse |
    • Emily

      I agree with you, and I would add that dogs are no filthier than a normal child who plays outside on the ground and touches all of their classmates stuff at school. I don't let my dog give me dog kisses, but I wouldn't let a toddler, either.

      August 9, 2010 at 23:22 | Report abuse |
    • Sarah

      Ituri, I have provided evidence and links showing why the vast majority of commercial pet food is NOT "fine," is not very nutritious at all and flat out dangerous. I don't know what Chris feeds but to me describing it as "regular store-bought dry and wet dog foods" sounds like he hasn't researched it. Yes, I do try to inform and encourage people to feed their pets better food. It's very important and few people know what they're really feeding their pets. If you can't afford to feed an animal properly you shouldn't have one, and the last thing we need is more laws and regulation, which would drive up the price anyway. People need to take personal responsibility for their choices and stop trying to blame others.

      August 9, 2010 at 23:34 | Report abuse |
    • MrsFizzy

      This is getting a little off-subject – we're talking about actual ingredients used vs. microbial contamination. And even if you are talking about "US brand pet foods", many of them buy their base ingredients from – guess where? China, where they bulked up the wheat gluten with melamine to eak out more profit. Of course, Chinese profiteers even poisoned their own babies, so why worry about some foreign pets. Anyway I agree you can go overboard with hygiene. If you're going to have pets you're not even going to be as sanitized as you think you are! But there's no reason for us to fear that our or our pets' food is going to be tainted with salmonella in this day and age.

      August 10, 2010 at 01:29 | Report abuse |
    • Mila

      My Scottish Terrier got ACH (Active Chronic Hepatitis) after getting into something rotten on the grounds when he was 7. For the next 3 years he was suffering from ACH, throwing up after every meal and losing energy. He was under the care of the best doctors in NY and later in CA, receiving medicine 3 times/day, including the one from a human compound pharmacy. He had the best and healthiest diet the money could buy. But his liver blood test had Alkaline Phosphatase in 3,000+ and climbing (the healthy number for him was in the teens). When he was 11 years old I knew that he was dying. The only one thing that I did not try was a raw diet because I was afraid and our very experienced vet strongly opposed to it.

      But at that point I had nothing to loose and one evening I gave him just 1/4 lbs raw ground beef (organic and lean), nothing else. I watched him literally inhaling it, first time that he was excited about his food in years. I was praying all night that he was all right, but for the fist time he didn't throw up after dinner and slept through the night. He actually had a little spark in his eyes the next morning.... This is when I knew that I was onto something. I started giving him only raw food from then on. I read an amazing book called Natural Nutrition for Dogs and Cats by Kymythy Schultze. She write about the importance of the right proportions in the raw pet diet to give the animal maximum nutrition and not deplete any nutrients. For my dog, the raw diet was like magic: I weened him off all of his medications within 6 months, including the one that we were getting from the compound pharmacy. I regularly took him to the vet (once a month) to check his liver blood panel. His Alkaline phosphatase dropped to 300's – not in teens but way lower than 3,000+! Other indicators were also stabilizing. Our vet was still against it because of the possible bacteria BUT he could not deny that my dog's health was on the mend; he finally consented that it worked for some dogs.

      Since I put my dog on the strict raw food diet, we had a happy 1 1/2 years together. He was happier the last 1 1/2 years of his life than he was for the 4 prior years. He passed peacefully at the ripe age of 12 1/2 years and I am so glad that I discovered this diet. When I have another dog in the future, I won't listen to any vet and my pup will be on the raw diet from the start. The enzymes and defense immune nutrients that are in the raw diet give the body tools to heal itself. If I can help just one other animal by sharing our story, I feel that my dog's suffering was not in vain. Peace.

      August 10, 2010 at 02:55 | Report abuse |
  10. Rob P.

    Let's keep this in perspective people, (and Dr. Gupta). Is it just possible that somewhere, someone will potentially get sick from contamination? We live in a world where the microbial flora and fauna outnumber us by the trillions, and reproduce (including evolutionary flaws our bodies might not be happy with) much faster than we do.

    I remember there was a fear campaign about west nile virus a few years ago, and a few years before that a campaign about rabies and contact with wild animals....lately it's been about the flu, avian or pig varieties.

    Some people die, and the rest of us are supposed to get scared. Hundreds of thousands of people (usually older) people die of pneumonia, or flu, or the common cold every year. I take reasonable precautions to wash my hands, but that's about it.

    I've also survived Infuenza A, and likely other forms of the illness described as disease (noted because I was sick for weeks at a time), and am ok. I lead a basically healthy lifestyle. If my time comes it will come no matter what, and Dr. Gupta should know better than to buy into the fear-mongering circus that only cause people to overmedicate themselves.

    August 9, 2010 at 20:14 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Sugar

      Flora & fauna might outnumber us but antibodies far outnumber flora & fauna – do some research.

      August 10, 2010 at 00:08 | Report abuse |
    • Veggiehead

      Salmonella is not ubiquitous, Rob P. And it is a dangerous pathogen, especially for children and the elderly. Children and the elderly are often around pets, pet food, and pet bowls. This is not an overreaction. I agree with the previous reply: do some research.

      August 10, 2010 at 01:27 | Report abuse |
    • Janet

      Veggiehead is a moron. This IS fear mongering. They do it all the time.

      August 10, 2010 at 15:31 | Report abuse |
  11. Rob P.

    I might start worrying about pet food when the medical profession starts tackling the issue of 100,000 deaths each year due to preventable errors. It's been reported on several times over the last 5 years, but we are supposed to worry about other things.

    August 9, 2010 at 20:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. JR

    Part of this doesn't make sense. If you wash your pet's dishes in your kitchen sink and ithey're possibly contaminated with Salmonella, what does that say about washing knives, bowls or cutting boards when preparing raw chicken, which can also be contaminated with Salmonella? Unless you don't clean your sink or wash your hands afterwards?

    To me, all you would need is normal dishwashing detergent and make some hot soapy water. Scrub it, and rinse. Afterwards, scrub your sink with Comet (or the equivalent) that has BLEACH or scrub it with whatever product, rinse and then spay with a diluted beach solution. Let sit. Rinse well.. Bowls clean, sink clean, no contamination. Wash your hands between your steps to avoid cross contamination. Do it in the bathtub? Same rules apply.

    Now bedding? If you can't wash it in a washing machine, home or commecial, you probably shouldn't use it, period because it means that you cannot clean it. Trying to imagine anything other than a gerbil cage that you could fit into a sink and I'm stymied. What is small enough?

    Animals have cooties but so does raw meat and people. Practice good hygeine for everyone, no problem in my eyes.

    Btw, if you want to get really anal, use stainless steal bowls only and run em through the santize function in your dishwasher. If you wash by hand, use steel wool and toss after a single use. Don't use your sponge for dishes on animal bowls.

    This is simple stuff to me.

    August 9, 2010 at 20:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Dr. Ann

    Besides Pet Food, what else gets people, especially kids, sick is Diet Coke and Diet Pepsi. Along with Mercury and other contaminations in the environment, Aspartame (NutraSweet and Equal – found in diet foods and drinks) has also been linked to Autism.

    See the chart at http://www.rumormillnews.com/cgi-bin/forum.cgi?read=180197, which shows the timeline of Autism rates with Aspartame product approval and usage rates. Europe has banned the use of Aspartame for pregnant and nursing women as well as children. The countries where Aspartame has been banned or never accepted, their Autism rate is only a small fraction of the U.S. rate. Since Aspartame has been approved in 1981, and placed in soft drinks in 1986, the Autism rate has skyrocketed. The Aspartame notes page explains just a few studies on how Aspartame has been linked with brain disorders.

    Some Main Points:

    Dr. Olney warned of the damage that this product would do to the unborn and to children. He said that the FDA acknowledged “aspartame had been shown to induce brain damage in neonatal animals” but FDA dismissed the neurotoxicity as irrelevant on grounds that the approved uses of aspartame don’t include feeding it to newborn humans. Yet aspartame can be found in prescription and over-the-counter pediatric drugs and in pediatric vitamins. Nursing babies receive this poison from mothers who breastfeed. The recent plague of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), autism, and birth defects manifest the neurologic devastations of aspartame. Supporting this view, Dr. Louis Elsas, Emory Professor of Pediatrics and Genetics, testified in a congressional hearing that aspartame is a teratogen (causes birth defects) and a neurotoxin.

    Aspartame is a teratogen that triggers birth defects. It is a deadly neurotoxin (Dr. Louis Elsas testimony before congress, pediatric professor,genetics). Dr. Russell Blaylock, M.D. says aspartame triggers ADD and autism.

    August 9, 2010 at 20:37 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Ewing

      That logic is faulty.

      SInce Reality TV has become so popular, the number of cases of autism has increased. So, therefore, Reality TV must cause autism?

      I don't think so.

      August 9, 2010 at 22:40 | Report abuse |
    • Emily

      Mission creep much?

      August 9, 2010 at 23:24 | Report abuse |
    • Emily

      Incidentally, if you are really a medical doctor, Dr. Ann, you'd know that 'Dr. so-and-so, M.D.' is redundant. If, however, you were highly trained in any biological science, Dr. Ann, you'd also know that correlation does not equal causation. For example, Atlantic pirates have declined over the last 200 years WHILE global temperatures have risen. Ergo, the decrease in pirates must have caused global warming. You see the problem? There's a great graphic showing this out there on the interwebz. Maybe you're a computer science professor or something?

      August 9, 2010 at 23:28 | Report abuse |
    • VYA

      I've seen your posts spamming all over CNN. You lost all credibility with me when you started swearing phenylalanine is a neurotoxin. It's an essential amino acid, found in the breast milk of all mammals. I've read the research on aspartame, not just the secondhand hearsay that I've only seen in your offerings. I'll take my information from actual doctors and scientists, including Dr. Gupta, thank you.

      On the actual subject, after a scare with the tainted food from china (thankfully no sickness occurred), I give my dogs human-grade dog food products now, either food roll-kibble or cooked beef/rice/veggies-kibble combos.

      August 9, 2010 at 23:38 | Report abuse |
    • Ken in TN

      Ok this thread is off topic, but since you brought it up... I avoid artificial sweeteners (saccharin, aspartame, acesfulfame K and surcalose) as well as MSG and try to choose products devoid of HFCS. Since working on purging these items from our diet, it is clear every time one of these have slipped in under the radar (eat elsewhere, product accidentally put in cart without fully reading the ingredients, etc.) because of their now recognizable effects:

      Aspartame, acesfulfame K – Irritability, no seriously, I can get so ornery and short tempered – it starts fights.
      Sucralose – Stomach discomfort
      MSG – (I have asthma) Difficulty clearing throat, and possible attack... but also a brain fog (more a mental lethargy)
      HFCS – An unexplainable urge for more and more "sweet things"

      It takes longer at the grocery store, but well worth it to be more in control of what you eat and how you feel.

      August 10, 2010 at 02:28 | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      EMILY is wrong as usual. Artificial sweeteners are bad for everyone. Anyone who does not know so is a stone cold idiot.

      August 10, 2010 at 15:34 | Report abuse |
  14. MashaSobaka

    Kibble has always been more of a supplement to my dog's diet. Most of her food is meat...beef, chicken, turkey, you know, MEAT. A little grain too. Table scraps, really. How dogs can handle eating that dried-out corn-based crap every day is beyond me. My dog is fifteen, going on sixteen, and no major health problems aside from congenital hip dysplasia thanks to overbreeding in some of the breeds that make her up, so we must be doing something right.

    August 9, 2010 at 21:09 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Veggiehead

      Don't generalize so freely.There is no corn in the better brands of kibble. High quality kibble is an excellent source of balanced nutrients, fiber and protein for dogs and cats, as well as trace minerals. Used wisely, it helps to keep their teeth clean and their weight under control. It's good to supplement it with fresh meat or wet food, but that is more for the enjoyment of the animal than for nutrition. If you are buying the right kibble, that's all your pet needs, nutritionally.

      August 10, 2010 at 01:24 | Report abuse |
  15. NCPhoto

    The checklist at the end of the article was great. Very helpful. BUT HOW ABOUT WE GET THE SALMONELLA OUT OF THE DOG FOOD!!! Jesus! It can't be any better for dogs than it is for humans.

    August 9, 2010 at 22:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. SLD

    I got salmonella from feeding my dog a couple of years ago . I did some research and the food had been recalled. I probably got it from touching the food, I scoop it out of a bag. I was sick for a couple of days. My dog did not get sick from it.

    August 9, 2010 at 23:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Highviolet

    My pets only eat a macrobiotic diet of free-range grains and pulses gathered from co-op farmer's markets in solidly blue states.

    August 9, 2010 at 23:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Veggiehead

    CNN's use of stock photography is getting really sloppy lately. Why show an unweaned puppy (obviously Photoshopped into the shot) next to a dish piled high with adult-dog treats? Aside from the fact that the puppy can't eat what he is obviously not really looking at, the story is about pet food - as in kibble and wet food. The kind of treats shown in your photo generally do not contain meat products and are unlikely to be contaminated.

    August 10, 2010 at 01:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Valerie

    Use common sense. Add a capful of bleach to the wash water in your sink when cleaning your pet's dishes, and clean and disinfect your sink afterwards. This would be the same procedure as when you handle or prep raw meats. Use a clean SOS or steel wool pad to scour your pet's dish, and don't use that same item to clean your family's dishes. Simple, really.

    August 10, 2010 at 01:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Wendy Johnson

    What is the name of the plant? What cat/dog food brand was produced at the plant? Were any deaths reported? Why are we just now hearing about this 2 years later? There is a lot of information left out of this article. As the mother of a toddler, we need to know this information.
    Also, I agree with many of the responders: Where are you supposed to wash your pets dish at if you can't use the sink? This is a great example of "hysterical reporting" without much substance! Shame on you CNN.

    August 10, 2010 at 01:33 | Report abuse | Reply
    • bob b

      Which brands? Any dry cat food will get dangerous if left wet. Just one bad fly on wet food.. I agree this story is meek.

      August 10, 2010 at 04:49 | Report abuse |
    • Recall Company

      This pet food came from a P&G plant. Everything made at the specific facility was recalled. Check the FDA website for additional details about the recall.

      I find it interesting it came from a P&G plant since "Chris" above indicated perhaps this company is selling too many cleaning products. Therefore making our enviroments more sterile and not exposing us to enough germs.

      Maybe it's all a huge conspiracy...P&G gets a few people sick, so they can sell more cleaning products 🙂

      August 10, 2010 at 07:31 | Report abuse |
  21. barn

    I remember eating dog food when I was a kid to see what it tasted like. So did my friends. Stupid kid stuff – but I'm sure its quite common. We ate out of the bag of course, the bowl was a slobbery mess! If kids can get to it – they might just eat it.

    August 10, 2010 at 03:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Anne S.

    I've been around cats and dogs all of my life. Also I worked in the veterinary business, and hey I'm still alive.at 68. Also around dry food or canned food in feeding the animals. Had one dog that lived to be 14, and a cat that was going on 21 yrs. old. Over my lifetime I've had over 40 cats mostly indoors, and 9 dogs. And also handled umpteen animals when I worked for the vet. I guess what I'm trying to say is the animal food hasn't hurt my animals or me. That must have had time on their hands in doing this reasearch.

    August 10, 2010 at 05:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Judy

    Rather than taking the all-too-usual "frenzied" tone about how dealing with animals might cause diseases, how about giving us some worthwhile information like the name of the pet food plant in PA (where I just happen to live) that produced supposedly tainted food. I don't want to be purchasing food that might make my animals sick. Also, with regard to the quote that "...direct contact with animals.....can lead to human infections," here's a news alert......direct contact with ANYTHING can lead to human infections! How about concentrating on something positive for a change, such as how direct contact with animals can lead to psychological well being for children. That might actually benefit people AND the untold numbers of unwanted animals languishing in our country's shelters by encouraging pet adoptions.

    August 10, 2010 at 09:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Ed

    Dry holistic dog food is the way to go.

    August 10, 2010 at 11:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Jeff B

    What are the odds? A possible 79 cases out of the millions and millions of dogs being fed every day in this country over the three years of this investigation. I've hard this story in many national media sources now and while it makes another interesting "teaser" for an upcoming story, without telling your viewers the scope of the actual danger to them you are only using this for entertainment not journalism.

    August 10, 2010 at 14:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. KITTYBLINGBLING

    My kitty eats kibble all day-then at din din one scoop of organic soft food. She's 10yrs strong and very happy & peppy. I cleaned out my kitty's dishes out weekly w/her own sponge and any soap will do. Also, disinfect your kitty litter boxes where they step around..that helps ward off germs.

    August 10, 2010 at 16:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. KITTYBLINGBLING

    My kitty eats kibble all day-then at din din one scoop of organic soft food. She's 10yrs strong and very happy & peppy. I cleaned out my kitty's dishes out weekly w/her own sponge and any soap will do. Also, disinfect your kitty litter boxes where they step around..that helps ward off germs.

    August 10, 2010 at 16:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. PiercedPsycho

    Oh no! Keep small children away from dog bowls? But now where will my toddler go to look for bubbles?

    August 10, 2010 at 17:03 | Report abuse | Reply
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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.