Pets and the Peanut Butter Recall

zoonotic disease in pets

Salmonella and Our Pets -With the recent Peanut Butter Recall,  Salmonella once more has become headline news. Salmonella is a  bacterium that can affect both humans and animals and can be passed  from human to animal and animal to humans (reverse zoonotic disease).  Most infections occur through ingestion of contaminated food or water  or through close contact with an infected host. In the Peanut Butter  recall, contaminated peanuts were used as a flavoring or an additive in  products including pet food and treats. Luckily, most dogs and cats  infrequently develop disease, but handling the infected treats and then  handling food or not washing your hands after handling infected  products can transmit the bacteria to humans.
Symptoms of a Salmonella infection can  include diarrhea, vomiting and dehydration. Not all pets or humans  show any signs of illness, but can harbor the bacteria for months,  passing the infection to those that are more susceptible; infants, the  elderly or the immune suppressed. Severe illness or death can occur in the most susceptible,  babies, the elderly or the immune suppressed. Salmonella is most often  found in raw meat, poultry, eggs and sometimes vegetables

Cooking  products to the proper temperature kills the bacteria. Most often,  infections occur with cross contamination, such as cutting raw meat on  a cutting board and then cutting vegetables for the salad on the same  cutting board or handling a contaminated product then eating or  handling food without washing hands. Most disinfectants and dilute  bleach will kill the bacteria. Feeding raw meat, poultry or eggs to  pets can result with Salmonella infection in our pets. Since some pets  may not develop symptoms but harbor the bacteria, they may pass  Salmonella in their feces for months and may cause infections in  humans.

What can you do to reduce your exposure to Salmonella?

  1. Always  cook food thoroughly. Do not ingest drinks or foods containing raw eggs  (This includes licking the beaters when making cake mixes, a bad habit  I am most guilty of)
  2. Wash hands after handling raw meats, poultry,  and pets: especially turtles, baby chicks, reptiles and pet feces.
  3. Wash your hands before eating. (Mothers are always right)
  4. Wash utensils, cutting  boards and plates after handling raw meat and poultry. (When grilling,  always use a different plate when taking the cooked meat off the  grill.)
  5. Do not feed pets raw meat, poultry or eggs.
  6. Wash hands  after handling pet treats (pig ears, rawhides, peanut butter treats) or  after playing with pets, especially turtles, birds, baby chicks and reptiles.
  7. When changing  diapers, wash hands before handling raw foods. To prevent cross  contamination, do not feed babies or the elderly while preparing raw  foods.
  8. If  you are served undercooked  meats at a restarurant, do not hesitate to send it back for further cooking. Also, you  may want to ask for fresh salsa if it looks like it may have been left  out too long. Salsa dips have been a source of Salmonella infections in  the past.
  9. Carry a hand sanitizer in your purse or car as extra  protection when there is no running water.

    I have more tips and links to web  sites concerning the Salmonella Peanut Butter recall at anchor 2 You can also view Facts about Salmonella at