Diamond Pet Food Hit with First Lawsuit, Others Sure to Follow

A lawsuit was filed Monday on behalf of a two-month-old baby boy who was hospitalized after contracting a dangerous infection from the outbreak strain of Salmonella Infantis, the same bacteria responsible for the nationwide recall of over 155 pet food formulas made by Diamond Pet Food.

The infant suffered from severe gastrointestinal symptoms, diarrhea, fever and loss of appetite. A day later, his pediatrician sent him to a hospital, where he spent three days and was diagnosed with salmonellosis.  The bacteria cultured from the patient proved to be the same rare genetic subtype, Salmonella Infantis found in other human and product samples associated with the outbreak and recall.

Though the baby has recovered, he suffered “severe injuries to his gastrointestinal tract.” He is at risk of kidney and liver damage and monitoring will be needed, doctors say.

The family’s dogs did not get sick, nor did the parents, and salmonella was not detected in the bag of dog food, which the County Health Department sent to a state health lab for testing after the baby became sick.  Despite the negative result for salmonella, it is believed that salmonella contamination would not be spread uniformly throughout the bag of food, which would explain the negative test result. Or that the contamination with the rare salmonella strain could have come from an earlier batch of dog food he purchased.

The baby’s father had been purchasing Kirkland Signature Super Premium Healthy Weight Dog Formulated with Chicken & Vegetables for the family dogs. It was one of the varieties of recalled Diamond dog food.

The family’s lawyer, Elliot Olsen of PritzkerOlsen in Minneapolis, says the route of transmission to the child is uncertain but there had to have been “some common contact with the dog food and source of food for the kid” and it “might have happened through the parents’ hands.” Olsen points out that the salmonella strain contracted by the infant is uncommon and the same as the one that sparked the recall. “To have a child come up with this exact form of salmonella, which is relatively rare, it’s epidemiologically pretty solid,” he says.

The seven-count complaint against both Diamond and Costco asserts claims under New Jersey’s Consumer Fraud Act and Product Liability Act, as well as common-law claims like negligence, breach of warranty and fraudulent misrepresentation.

The plant where the food was manufactured in Gaston, South Carolina was found to be in violation of several food safety laws. The FDA inspected the plant on April 12, 2012 and stated that the company was not taking “all reasonable precautions to ensure that production procedures to not contribute contamination from any source.”  Violations included a lack of microbiological analysis, no hand washing and hand sanitizing facilities, and poorly maintained equipment, containers, and utensils that were difficult or impossible to clean, specifically the duct tape and cardboard used on machinery.

(Source: Infant Allegedly Got Salmonella From Contact With Dog Food)

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Mollie Morrissette

Mollie Morrissette, author of Poisoned Pets, is an animal food safety expert and advisor to AAFCO. Help support her work by making a donation today.

Comments (16) Write a comment

  1. Pingback: Anety

  2. Pingback: Diamond Pet Foods Hit with Class Action Suit over Salmonella Outbreak « Poisoned Pets

  3. I bought some diamond dog food for my Pekignese. She became severally I’ll a couple of Days after eating the food. I took her to the vet, the vet said they didn’t know what was wrong with her. I then heard from my father there was a recall on the food, my dog food is on the recall list. They won’t give you a refund if you don’t have the receipt and won’t pay vet bills if you didn’t have blood drawn at the vet? My dog almost died because of diamond dog food and they are basically stating I can do nothing about it.

    Is there a place I can contact about getting the bag and dog food tested myself? I still have it.

    Reply

    • Read my article “How not to get shafted by a pet food company”. Have your vet test your dog for salmonellosis, (if he put your dog on antibiotics, don’t bother – it won’t show up), then have the vet send a sample of the food to Michigan State University and file a report with the FDA and your State CCC. They may want to test the food as well.

      Reply

  4. For this reason, I refused to renew my subscription to the Whole Dog Journal because year after year in their annual foods review issue they recommend the so-called premium foods put out by Diamond Pets and I wrote the editor 2ce questioning this decision and was never responded to. They say that they don’t get advertising money but in my opinion, they must be getting a whole lot of free food from Diamond.

    Reply

      • No Mollie, there are no ads in Whole Dog Journal. This person is merely trying to imply Whole Dog Journal is lying, irresponsible, and so on. The same you regularly write follow up “stories” regurgitating what others have already said, so much more concisely.

        If either of you did the research necessary to show the Diamond plants are actually in worse shape than the other plants, you would have something interesting to write. But you don’t, and you don’t.

        In the real world, where 20% of human children live in poverty, there is a great need for lower cost, quality food. What is your solution, to kill all the pets owned by poor people?

        If you want an interesting angle, write how even this bag of food can not even be proven to be contaminated. Is the family in error, or is testing pet food so hard it can not even be properly done after the fact?

        Reply

        • As far as testing goes, the article plainly states that Salmonella is not evenly distributed throughout the bag; further, the father said the contamination could have come from a previous bag of TOTW.

          I can assure you they have done environmental testing and further feed tests to determine the source of the contamination. And FYI Diamond Pet Foods was never able to determine the source of the contamination. What does that suggest to you?

          And don’t tell me about poverty or the “real world” – you have no idea who I am, how I’ve lived or what I’ve seen in the world, so don’t tell me I’m an elitist. Kill all pets owned by poor people? Please. Get real.

          As far as WDJ is concerned – had you done your research before sounding off – on Whole Dog Journal’s “approved pet foods” list where “all of the dog foods on this list meet our selection criteria”, the following foods are made by Diamond Pet Foods AND recommended by WDJ: Artemis; Canidae; Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover’s Soul (7 varieties); Premium Edge (8 varieties); Diamond’s Professional Pet Food (7 varieties); Taste of the
          Wild (4 varieties) and so on.

          In fact, they defend Diamond by saying:

          “In past years, Diamond Pet Foods has had some of its dry pet foods recalled – pet foods that were manufactured at its own dry pet food manufacturing facilities. Diamond also manufactures some dry pet food products for other companies at these facilities. But no educated consumer should blithely conclude that any food, wet or dry, that has any connection with Diamond is not to be trusted. That’s nuts. It’s also why pet food manufacturers have been reluctant (or have refused) to disclose their manufacturers – so they don’t get brushed with the same tar that gets casually splashed around online.”

          I wonder would they be so generous today? Considering not one, but two of their plants are currently under investigation by the Federal government right now.

          Reply

          • Thank you for further backing my point on WDJ, Mollie. I’d love to see next years candidates for their approved foods list after this latest Diamond mess. I personally think they need to re-evaluate their true agenda, but their questionable decisions was enough to lose me as a subscriber and I hope others follow suit

          • My pleasure Heather. He was a creep. I almost deleted it, but I thought no this is a forum so why can’t a creep have his say too? I was going to quibble with him over the advertising bit – but the larger point is – they recommend Diamond. Their bad, regardless of whether they accept advertising or not. I don’t think that was the point you were trying to make anyway.

        • What?! Sorry but you absolutely do not make any sense. So you avocate allowing this tainted food because it is less costly and that anything to make the food safe would increase the cost? Sorry but “poor” people cannot have the added cost of a sick and dying pet added to their problems. This is a problem with safety of a product, and if they cannot make it safe and healthy for our pets (and us) they need to be out of business.

          Reply

  5. Diamond will have to dig a lot deeper into their pockets for the peeps than they had to for the dogs affected by the aflatoxin recall in December 2005.

    Reply

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