Mars Petcare US Chow Toll of Human Salmonella Hits 79
Source of Article: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601124&sid=aEIOAzftWiVw&refer=home
By Kurt Heine
Nov. 6 (Bloomberg) -- A Mars Petcare US Inc. factory churned out
bacteria-contaminated dog and cat chow for three years, spreading
salmonella that sickened at least 79 people in the first human outbreak
traced to dry pet food, a report said.
The last reported
illness was Oct. 18, after Mars said it would permanently close the
factory. That suggests people are still feeding
pets tainted dry food that the company voluntarily recalled Sept. 12,
according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality
Weekly Report published today.
The report is the first
to conclusively link the Mars Petcare plant to a
rare form of salmonella that sickened people, mostly children, in 21 states
since 2006. Salmonella is a type of food poisoning that can kill, though
the CDC said it knows of no fatalities associated with the Mars Petcare chow. The disease likely was spread by handling
the kibbble, lax cleaning of pet food bowls or
touching animal droppings, said the CDC, based in Atlanta.
``Dry pet food has a
one-year shelf life, and contaminated product might still be in the homes
of purchasers and could produce illness,'' said the CDC, which recommends
people throw out food from the factory.
The Mars Petcare recall is among 13 involving 135 pet products for salmonella since 2006, the CDC said. No
human illnesses have been associated with any other recall, according to
the agency. The Mars Petcare withdrawal involved
105 brands of chow, including Special Kitty Gourmet Blend cat food and
Pedigree and Retriever dog food.
Bertille Glass, a Mars spokeswoman, had no
based in Franklin, Tennessee, is owned by McLean,
Virginia-based Mars, the maker of M&M candy and Snicker's bars.
To contact the reporter
on this story: Kurt
Heine in New York
Updated: November 6, 2008 15:26 EST