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At Least 79 People Sickened by Tainted Mars Petcare Products Since 2006, Says CDC

Nov. 6, 2008 -- A rare strain of salmonella in dry pet food sickened at least eight people this year, in addition to the 71 people who have fallen ill since 2006, according to the CDC.

Because of the outbreak of Salmonella schwarzengrund, Mars Petcare has permanently closed the plant where the pet food was made.

In September, Mars Petcare recalled pet food products made at that plant, located in Everson, Pa.

The first cases were seen in 2006, and the most recent reported case was tested in September. The CDC warns that additional cases may occur because dry pet food has a shelf life of one year, and some people may still have the contaminated products in their homes.

If you have any of the recalled products, return them or throw them out, says the CDC.

The CDC also reminds people to take these precautions with dry pet foods, pet treats, and pet supplements:

  • Wash your hands with warm water and soap immediately after handling dry pet foods, pet treats, and pet supplements and after handling pets or animal feces.
  • Keep infants away from pet feeding areas.
  • Don't let kids younger than 5 to touch or eat dry pet food, treats, or supplements.

Canned pet food isn't likely to contain pathogens because the canning procedure should eliminate bacterial contamination, the CDC notes in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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