CDC: Outbreak of Human Salmonella Infections Caused by Dry Dog Food

CDC is collaborating with public health and agriculture officials in multiple states and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to investigate an ongoing multistate outbreak of human Salmonella Infantis infections. Public health investigators used DNA “fingerprints” of Salmonella bacteria obtained through diagnostic testing with pulsed-field gel electrophoresis, or PFGE, to identify cases of illness that may be part of this outbreak.

They used data from PulseNet, the national subtyping network made up of state and local public health laboratories and federal food regulatory laboratories that performs molecular surveillance of foodborne infections. The outbreak strain is rare and typically 0-3 isolates are reported per month.

Multiple brands of dry pet food produced by Diamond Pet Foods at a single manufacturing facility in South Carolina have been linked to some of the human Salmonella infections. People who think they might have become ill after contact with dry pet food or with an animal that has eaten dry pet food should consult their health care providers.

A total of 14 individuals infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Infantis have been reported from 9 states. The number of ill persons identified in each state is as follows: Alabama (1), Connecticut (1), Michigan (1), Missouri (3), North Carolina (3), New Jersey (1), Ohio (2), Pennsylvania (1), and Virginia (1).

Among persons for whom information is available, illnesses began between October 8, 2011 and April 22, 2012. Ill persons range in age from less than one year old to 82 years old and the median age is 48 years. Seventy-seven percent of patients are female. Among the 9 patients with available information, 5 (56%) were hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.

The outbreak can be visually described with a chart showing the number of persons who became ill each day. This chart is called an epidemic curve or epi curve. Illnesses that occurred after April 1, 2012 might not yet be reported due to the time it takes between when a person becomes ill and when the illness is reported. This takes an average of 2 to 3 weeks. Please see the Salmonella Outbreak Investigations: Timeline for Reporting Cases for more details.

Investigation of the Outbreak

On April 2, 2012, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development detected Salmonella in an unopened bag of Diamond Naturals Lamb Meal & Rice dry dog food, which had been collected March 14, 2012, during routine retail testing of dry pet food. Public health investigators used PulseNet to identify recent cases of human illness with a PFGE pattern indistinguishable from Salmonella Infantis which was isolated from the unopened bag of dry dog food produced by Diamond Pet Foods. In interviews, ill persons answered questions about contact with animals and foods consumed during the week before becoming ill. Seven of 10 (70%) ill persons interviewed reported contact with a dog in the week before becoming ill. Of 5 ill persons who could recall the type of dog food with which they had contact, 4 (80%) identified dry dog food produced by Diamond Pet Foods that may have been produced at a single facility in South Carolina.

As part of this outbreak investigation, Ohio public health and agriculture officials collected and tested dry dog food produced by Diamond Pet Foods. The outbreak strain of Salmonella Infantis was isolated from an opened bag of Diamond Brand Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover’s Soul Adult Light Formula dry dog food collected from the home of an ill person, and an unopened bag of the product collected from a retail store. A sample of Diamond Puppy Formula dry dog food collected by FDA during an inspection at the South Carolina production facility has also yielded Salmonella.

Epidemiologic, laboratory, and regulatory investigations are ongoing to identify if other brands of dry dog food produced at this facility may be linked to human illnesses. Diamond Pet Foods is cooperating with public health and agricultural investigators in this ongoing investigation.


  1. Eek!!!

  2. Doreen says on  05/04/2012 at 4:45 pm

    So now that humans are getting sick, they are finally doing something, geez :(

  3. Sharing.

  4. Just one more reason to make your own dog food!!

  5. I bought some of that diamond dog food a few months ago and it made my dog so sick I took her to the vet.

  6. Greer says on  05/04/2012 at 4:53 pm

    No kidding! Thanks for the post, sharing.

  7. Stephanie says on  05/04/2012 at 4:57 pm

    I got horribly sick from the Diamond-didnt know about the recall until I was almost better-didnt go to the dr because of no inssurance so of course—

  8. I want 2 know if Blue Buffalo is involved n this outbreak…I just paid $32.00 4 a small bag of grain free, gluten free…better not b!!!!

  9. Wash your hands after handling ANY dog food, just to be safe. Its good practice, even if your brand doesn’t end up on the recall list.

  10. This brand of dog food has been bad for a long time.

  11. wow have used Daimond for years now, and me dogs got sick of the new bag, taking it back to the store and gettin my money back. i have no job right now so can not afford the real good stuff, ne sugjestions for food and not Science Diet.n

    • Cerues says on  05/05/2012 at 1:50 pm

      Look for relatively high protein, relatively low fat and a good kcal per cup on the bag. Nature’s Recipe Fish Meal & Potato has been good to us in the past and you can usually find a 40lb bag on sale for $35. Cheaper if you can track down some coupons. It is also gentle on stomachs.

  12. Phoenix, you could try making your own dog food…there’s all kinds of sights that have recipes…and its good for them…

  13. @Phoenix pedigree is good I feed that 2 my dogs

  14. We feed ours Pure Vita, it is about $35 for 15# but it lasts a long time. We have a JRT and a Pom Chi.

  15. Rebecca says on  05/04/2012 at 5:18 pm


  16. like i said no job, can barely feed my self. but thanks Sherri i will check them out so when i find a job i can.

    • RAY says on  05/05/2012 at 8:50 am

      if River Run 24-20 is avalabe in your area i highly recommend it. it is produced by Cargill,soy free,so skin reactions are not an issue.23.00 $ for 50 lbs.

  17. Pretty scary huh Susan ! ! !

  18. Good hygiene is key. People do not wash their hands enough.

    • Cheryl F says on  05/05/2012 at 2:26 pm

      You’re got the most commonsense response on this article. People do not wash their hands enough, if ever. Most people do not even wash their hands after using the restroom, particularly men. That in itself is enough reason to make sure everyone washes their hands frequently!

      Colds, the flu, and many other easily transferable illnesses could be cut by a huge percentage if people simply washed their hands!

    • Cheryl F says on  05/05/2012 at 2:27 pm

      and of course that s/b “YOU’VE got…” sheesh

  19. Sue says on  05/04/2012 at 6:37 pm

    @Cheryl — check Blue Buff’s website. They always post this kind of information.

  20. thanks Lynn but i think im gonna switch to taste of the wild its diamond and comes from a different plant than the reg diamond, and its grain free.

  21. Ann says on  05/04/2012 at 7:28 pm

    This does not surprise me at all. My husband is an OTR driver and told me about a bone meal plant he delivered to last week. He said the floor was covered in rotting bones, flies and maggots. The plant had no refridgeration, even though he delivered in a refridgerated truck. I’ve been trying to find a higher quality brand of food, but all that I’ve found contain this bone “meal”.

  22. Lisa says on  05/04/2012 at 8:07 pm

    I had no idea Taste of the Wild is made by Diamond!! :(

  23. Ophelia says on  05/04/2012 at 10:18 pm

    Thank Dog we feed raw. Just one more way kibble is soooooo gross!

  24. Anonymous says on  05/04/2012 at 10:32 pm

    Phoenix. Taste of the wild is on the recall list too. Try pulsar from horizon affordable and reeds really good, and small company!!

  25. mred says on  05/05/2012 at 6:00 am

    Please report any illness to the FDA. Diamond is denying any pets were made ill. I haven’t heard what they have to say about the people they made sick.
    From the AVMA:
    If your pet becomes ill from pet food or treats, you should file a report with to the FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator in their state, or electronically through the Safety Reporting Portal.

  26. mred says on  05/05/2012 at 6:08 am

    These two sites do a great job of announcing recalls. We should not need them so much!

  27. robin says on  05/05/2012 at 11:43 am

    A great website to visit when considering dog foods is They rate foods on a 5 star system according to analysis of the ingredients. It shows all the nutritional info & highlights any “questionable” ingredients. It’s my go-to anytime I’m researching any brand. I won’t feed my babies with anything less than a 4 star & if you take the time to research you can find very affordable foods in that category. Just thought ya’ll might like to know about it.

  28. Promised Land Pride says on  05/05/2012 at 7:31 pm

    Thank God we use Life Abundance food for our kennels in Florida and Illinois. we have railed about this problem and have sent out alerts “whats in your pet food” Now perhaps folks will pay attention contact me for updates and past alerts and info on how to get Homeopathic food shipped to your door.Also thinbk about learning to cook your own treats. we lost a prize dog to bad food so we know how the pert food industry is kiling our pets

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