Infant illness leads to lawsuit against Diamond Pet Foods and Costco

Infant illness leads to lawsuit against Diamond Pet Foods and Costco

Contaminated dog food blamed for infant's Salmonella infection; companies cited for negligence.
Jun 08, 2012
By staff

The latest hurdle facing Diamond Pet Foods in the aftermath of its large-scale pet food recall is a lawsuit that was filed after a New Jersey infant became severely ill due to Salmonella infection. The infection is believed to have resulted from contact with a bag of contaminated dog food in the household.

According to the lawsuit, which was filed on May 25 in U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey and names Diamond Pet Foods and Costco Wholesale Corp., the distributor of the pet food product, as defendants, the plaintiff purchased the Diamond Pet Foods product, Kirkland Signature Super Premium Healthy Weight Dog Formulated with Chicken and Vegetables, from a Morganville, N.J., Costco store. The product was later discovered to be one of many Diamond Pet Foods products contaminated with Salmonella. The lawsuit states that the infant began experiencing severe diarrhea, fever and loss of appetite, and “was in obvious pain and was extremely uncomfortable.” The infant was hospitalized for three days and during that time, a stool sample tested positive for Salmonella infantis, the outbreak strain linked to 16 other cases of human illness in the United States and Canada.

The lawsuit brings eight counts against the defendants, including negligence and fraudulent misrepresentation. The plaintiff is seeking an excess of $75,000 for compensatory and punitive damages and costs of the suit.

Diamond Pet Foods first made headlines back in early April when the company voluntarily recalled its Diamond Naturals Lamb Meal and Rice dry dog food after Salmonella was detected during routine product sampling. The recall quickly expanded and eventually included multiple varieties of the manufacturer’s products: Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover’s Soul, Country Value, Diamond, Diamond Naturals, Premium Edge, Professional, 4Health, Apex, Kirkland Signature, Kirkland Signature Nature’s Domain, Taste of the Wild and Canidae.

Shortly after, reports of human Salmonella infection surfaced and were linked to Diamond Pet Food products manufactured at the company’s Gaston, S.C., facility. An investigation conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ensued, which included a weeklong inspection of the Gaston production plant. It was noted that the facility failed on multiple counts to ensure product safety.

Most recently, a surveillance sample of Diamond Naturals Small Breed Adult Lamb and Rice formula produced in the company’s Meta, Mo., plant tested positive for Salmonella liverpool. At this time, no human illnesses have been linked to this strain of bacteria.