Keeping kids away from pet food

May 15, 2008 7:46:28 PM PDT
Researchers from the United States Centers for Disease Control announced Thursday that salmonella bacteria in dog food sickened dozens of people in the northeast, many of them children. Salmonella, which is bacteria often found in raw meat and eggs, can also live in pet food, according to a new report from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Officials have documented 70 cases of salmonella poisoning in 19 states, most in the northeast, that were traced back to contaminated dry dog food.

People became sick after handling the pet food, which originated at a single manufacturing plant in Pennsylvania.

Eleven people had to be hospitalized to treat their infections. Young children seemed most vulnerable to getting sick - 24 cases occurred in infants 1 year or younger.

This is the first documented salmonella outbreak traced to pet food, but researchers say past poisonings may have gone unnoticed.

Doctors recommend keeping all pet food out of the reach of young children.

To further reduce the risk of salmonella contamination, experts say you should wash your hands with soapy water for at least 20 seconds after handling pet foods or pet treats.