FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine unveils national initiative to test pet food for Salmonella contamination

Nov 02, 2011
By dvm360.com staff
Rockville, Md. — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently launched a national initiative to collect and analyze samples of pet foods, pet treats and other pet supplements from across the country for Salmonella contamination.

The objective of the new surveillance program is to determine the prevalence of Salmonella in selected pet products and to remove any affected products from the market. Samples will be collected between October 2011 and September 2012.

FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine says it is concerned about animal feeds serving as “vehicles for transmitting pathogenic and antibiotic-resistant bacteria to humans and other animals.” A particular concern, FDA says is the chance of Salmonella following exposure to tainted products.

Salmonella-contaminated pet foods, pet treats and supplements for pets pose a significant health risk to humans. Certain vulnerable populations such as children, the elderly and individuals with compromised immune systems, are particularly susceptible to Salmonella infection from such animal feeds,” says FDA. “For these reasons, CVM considers it prudent to keep Salmonella-contaminated pet foods, pet treats and supplements for pets out of interstate commerce.”

As part of the program, domestic samples will be collected from manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers and retailers. FDA says the surveillance program will not include samples of canned pet food or from imported products.

FDA says each of its 19 districts will collect 14 official and 14 investigational samples, for a total of 266 samples of each.

The official and investigation samples each will include: six samples of non-canned pet foods, five samples of pet treats and three samples of vitamins, minerals and other supplements. FDA’s servicing laboratories will then analyze the official samples. If a sample is positive, the laboratory will send each Salmonella isolate for serotyping.