Pennsylvania Issues Salmonella Warning On Dog And Cat Food

Pet Food

As the Pennsylvania Department of Health investigates human cases of infection with an uncommon type of Salmonella, possibly connected to dry dog food, state Health Secretary Dr. Calvin B. Johnson reminded pet owners of steps they should take to prevent illness when handling pet food and pet treats.

Since January 2006, Pennsylvania has identified 21 individuals with illness caused by a specific strain of Salmonella serotype Schwarzengrund. Many of the illnesses linked to this strain involve infants and young children, who are especially vulnerable to Salmonella infections. Most of the cases have occurred in households with pets or where people are in close contact with pets, but there is no evidence that any human consumed pet food.

“While the department is working very closely with federal investigators to identify a specific cause and source for these illnesses, it is important that pet owners understand and follow steps to prevent Salmonella infection from occurring,” Dr. Johnson said.

Consistent with recent guidance from the Food and Drug Administration, Johnson recommends these simple precautions when handling pet food:

  • Purchase products (canned or bagged) with no visible signs of damage to the packaging, such as dents, tears, discolorations, etc.
  • Preferably, people should feed their pet in areas other than the kitchen.
  • Begin with clean hands. Wash your hands for 20 seconds with hot water and soap before and after handling pet food and treats.
  • Wash pet food bowls, dishes and scooping utensils with soap and hot water after each use. The bowl or utensils used for pet food should not be washed in the kitchen sink. In households where there is no alternative, the sink area should be adequately sanitized after these items have been cleaned and removed.
  • Do not use the pet’s feeding bowl as a scooping utensil – use a clean, dedicated scoop, spoon or cup instead.
  • Dispose of old or spoiled pet food products in a safe manner (example: in a securely tied plastic bag in a covered trash receptacle).
  • Pet food should not be handled or stored in areas where food for humans is prepared. If this does happen, it increases the potential for cross-contamination from the pet food to foods being served to people.
  • Promptly refrigerate or discard unused, leftover wet pet food (cans, pouches, etc.). Refrigerating foods quickly prevents the growth of most harmful bacteria. Refrigerators should be set at 40 degrees F. The accuracy of the setting should be checked occasionally with a refrigerator thermometer.
  • Dry pet food and pet treats should be stored in a cool, dry place under 80 degrees F.
  • If possible, store dry pet food in its original bag inside a clean, dedicated plastic container with a lid, keeping the top of the bag folded closed.
  • Keep pets away from food storage and preparation areas.
  • Keep pets away from garbage and household trash.

Salmonellosis is a bacterial infection that affects the intestinal tract and sometimes can affect the bloodstream and other organs. It is one of the most common causes of gastroenteritis, which can include diarrhea and vomiting. Approximately 2,000 cases of Salmonella infection are reported each year in Pennsylvania.

Source: Press release

15 Responses to “Pennsylvania Issues Salmonella Warning On Dog And Cat Food”

  1. Pukanuba says:

    Don’t forget your disposable gloves & mask when handling pet food…..& keep children & the elderly out of the room when feeding your babies. Give me a break…..

    Gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling about what they’re putting out these days & claiming is pet food. Sounds more like what to do when handling nuclear waste.


    Kind of scary I’d say……

  2. Roberto P. says:

    Pukanuba, I guess we all need to attend HazMat classes to feed our pets commercial food. I just read that dogs’ stomach acid is SO acid that Salmonella won’t survive there. So, the companies don’t need to clean it up. They just need to teach the stupid customers how to handle the food. I like the part about not preparing pet food where you prepare human food. I have always fed the cats in the kitchen. Sounds like the USDA’s take on E.coli. You need a fancy, flat digital thermometer to make hamburgers. Brown doesn’t mean it’s cooked past 160­ degrees. I guess if you don’t do that and get E.coli, it’s your own fault. It’s now always the customer’s fault.

  3. Roberto P. says:

    If we’re too stupid to make our own pet food, wouldn’t we be too stupid to follow biohazard procedures? These guys need to establish their party line and stick with it.

  4. Ruth says:

    I guess the pet food companies forgot to tell the Pennsylvania Department of Health how safe their pet food is. Isn’t that what the PF companies are saying with all the PR blitz and coupons. And now pet owners have to practically wear anti-nuclear gear just to feed a pet. (Good post Pukanuba)

    PF companies you lose points on this one. All your PR doesn’t help on this story. Your toxic pet food is still out there to pets and humans.

  5. pat says:

    in what universe is this anything like ok? they’re saying that pet food is toxic waste, not naming any specific brand, and then behaving as though it’s s.o.p. to continue feeding your pet potentially contaminated food. what is wrong with these people?

  6. straybaby says:

    well, i guess this explains why the FDA has safe pet food handling procedures. GAK! much easier than actually inspecting and giving us safe products!

    and all the people that have a hissy fit over us raw feeders telling us how bad it is because of salmonella, etc . . . i’d rather trust my ranchers and and take that risk, TYVM!

  7. Pukanuba says:

    straybaby: Whenever people tell me how bad it is to give my dog veggies out of a can (which I do at times when I run out) or chicken/beef in a can (ditto), I guess I should tell them about the safety procedures we have to follow now to handle commercial pf. Or should I say nuclear waste. Like something out of a can with a little extra sodium can compare to whatever it is they’re putting into the crap they call pf these days. Maybe we should rent a geiger counter & see what the food registers.

    Ok, I’ll bite…..what does TYVM stand for. You got me on that one.

  8. Pukanuba says:

    Thank you very much???

  9. straybaby says:

    “Thank you very much???”


    at least canned veggies are identifiable! i have cans of green beans in the cupboard for the dog. i don’t always have fresh ones. *shrug*. she likes them. can’t see how anyone can compare them to kibble ;)

  10. JJ in IL says:

    Pukanuba gotta luv ya! Disposable gloves to handle nuclear dog food - just loved that one! Anyone feeding franken food should stop before they all start to glow now.

  11. SMITH111 says:

    Don’t forget to check the expiration dates on pet foods. I’ve found expired dates on both dry and wet pet foods in the pet stores as well as the grocery markets. Please bring expired foods to the managers attention!

  12. Lynn says:

    This is crazy! Maybe I should throw away my knives after I cut up a raw chicken or maybe I should replace my countertops if raw egg drips on them. Wash my pets’ food dish in a sink other than the kitchen? Feed them somewhere other than the kitchen? Whatever!!!

  13. Don Earl says:

    At a certain point, you almost have to admire the blatant corruption of the FDA and the spin they’re willing to put on things to keep the bribes coming in. You can just about picture the pet food rep stopping by the FDA office with the usuals, explaining how salmonella doesn’t really bother pets that much, and ya know, it usually isn’t fatal to people most of the time, and hey, ya know, kids get sick at school all the time anyhow, so one more isn’t that big a deal, ya know, it’s not much worse than an especially nasty case of bird flu, and hey, if you just teach people how to handle the stuff, well, it’d be a lot cheaper than all these recalls, and, well, we could probably put you down for a share of the savings. Is the number of your off shore account the same as it was in March?

    If FDA corruption is a problem in China, where it’s worth a death sentence, what do you suppose it’s like here where every few decades someone gets fired?

    Maybe we should feel lucky pets don’t have a high tolerance for anthrax or ebola. Wandering around the house in one of those moon suits would get old real quick.

  14. Katie says:

    Wouldn’t it be interesting to see these FDA guidelines posted above the pet food displays in the grocery stores, pet food stores, etc. The PFI is concerned with profit loss now…. we have been trying to tell the general public that there are hazardous products in the pet food for a long time. What I just read confirms it! I know for certain now that I made the right choice on March 28 and now feed my pet home cooked meals with human food product which has been carefully scrutinized for harmful substances. Hey PFI if you’re reading this; maybe you all could explain why I need Hazmat classes before opening a bag of commercial dog food???


  15. MarySmith says:

    For more information on pet food recalls go to:

E-mail It