Mom and toddler

There’s always a chance that dry pet food and treats may be contaminated with salmonella, so it’s particularly important to keep infants and toddlers away from them.

In fact, Procter & Gamble has expanded its recent recall of Iams veterinary and Eukanuba specialized dry pet foods because they may be contaminated.

More than 23,000 tons of dry dog and cat food were recalled during several salmonella outbreaks between 2006 and 2008, with one manufacturer closing its plant permanently.

During this time, 79 human contamination cases in 21 states were identified—48% of which involved children 2 and younger. More individuals may have become ill but failed to report it, according to a study released Monday in the journal Pediatrics. Illness was primarily associated with feeding pets in the kitchen (as opposed to kids putting pet food in their mouths).

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration offers the following suggestions:

Buying

  • Purchase products in good condition, with no signs of package damage (dents or tears).

Preparation 

  • Wash hands with hot water and soap—for at least 20 seconds—after handling dry pet foods and treats.
  • Wash hands before preparing food and eating.
  • Keep infants and toddlers away from pets’ feeding areas. Don’t allow them to touch or eat pet food.
  • Wash pet food bowls, dishes and scooping utensils with soap and hot water after each use.
  • Don’t use your pet’s feeding bowl as a scooping utensil. Use a clean, dedicated scoop or spoon.
  • Dispose of old or spoiled pet food products in a safe manner (i.e., in a securely tied plastic bag to be placed in a covered trash receptacle).

Storage

  • Promptly refrigerate or discard any unused, leftover wet pet food. Your refrigerator should be set at 40º F.
  • Dry products should be stored in a cool, dry place (less than 80º F).
  • If possible, store dry pet food in its original bag inside a clean, dedicated container with a lid, keeping the top of the bag folded closed.
  • Keep pets away from food storage and preparation areas.
  • Keep pets away from garbage and household trash.