Mars Petcare is closing a plant in Everson, Pa.,
that produced dry pet food that investigations suggested
was the source of an outbreak of human infection with Salmonella
enterica serotype Schwarzengrund.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Nov. 7 that the
total number of cases in the outbreak had risen to 79. Because dry pet food
has a one-year shelf life, the CDC noted that food from the Everson plant
could still be in consumers' homes, despite recalls by the company.
The CDC, Food and Drug Administration, and multiple state health
departments first investigated reports of human infection with Salmonella
Schwarzengrund in 2006 and 2007. The
investigators initially identified 70 cases, mostly in children, and
identified the source of infection as dry dog food from the Everson plant.
Testing by the FDA at the Everson plant found the outbreak strain in two
brands of dry dog food. On Aug. 21, 2007, Mars Petcare
recalled specific sizes of the brands. The Everson plant ceased operations
from July to early November 2007 for cleaning, disinfection, and
From Dec. 29, 2007, to Sept. 18, 2008, investigators identified nine
more cases of human infection with the outbreak strain of Salmonella
Schwarzengrund. On July 29, Mars Petcare suspended production at the Everson plant.
In August, testing by the FDA found the outbreak strain in multiple
brands of pet food at the Everson plant. On Sept. 12, Mars Petcare recalled all dry dog and cat food that the
Everson plant produced from Feb. 18 until the suspension of operations. On
Oct. 1, the company announced the permanent closure of the plant."