Your Pet's Food May Be Making You Sick: FDA Investigates

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FDA investigates human salmonella risk in pet foodCareful with the kibble. The FDA has been rounding up pet food samples nationwide to test for salmonella that pet owners could accidentally ingest through casual contact.

A recent run of people sickened by pet food prompted the investigation, the FDA said.

The feed, treats and supplements in question are eaten by common domestic pets, from cats and dogs to fish, rodents and reptiles. But canine owners should note that canned dog food is not being eyed as a source.

Major distributors such as PetSmart (PETM), PetCo, WalMart (WMT), Costco (COST), Sam's Club, and Target (TGT) contributed samples in the October investigation, the FDA said in its announcement, posted last week.

Salmonella can be absorbed by consumers touching pet food and then unintentionally putting hands to their mouth.

Anyone who handles pet food should wash their hands carefully and keep children away from feeding areas, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises.

Salmonella is a bacteria that causes fever, cramps, diarrhea and vomiting, and is especially dangerous for the frail and elderly. Symptoms usually appear 12 to 72 hours after contamination and illness lasts four to seven days, according to the CDC.

The FDA cited recent cases that sparked its aggressive action, one of which was a 2007 outbreak in which 70 pet owners were sickened by salmonella transmitted through dry dog food.

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