Updated December 27, 2012
The Diamond Pet Foods recalls
of spring 2012 were like a bad dream from which we in the pet industry could not seem to awaken.
It all began in early April 2012 with one product recalled, then expanded to include a whole bunch of pet food brands and formulas. Not only were Diamond products affected; other, otherwise highly respected pet food companies that utilized the company’s manufacturing facility in Gaston, S.C, were also mired in this mess.
I and many of my esteemed colleagues including About.com Guide to Cats Franny Syufy
and About’s Guide to Pet Supplies Barbara Nefer
, not to mention my non-About associates such as pet food activist, blogger and pet cookbook
co-author Susan Thixton, were toiling around the clock to keep up with the constant new developments.
Needless to say, we lost a lot of sleep and developed some new gray hairs in the process.
As of this writing, the scenario showed no signs of abating. And the first of what may turn out to be many lawsuits was filed. (See more about that at the end of this article.)
Meanwhile, I compiled the below handy timeline with posts from my news blog to help others (including moi
) to keep up with the mind-numbing sequence of events.
(Note: The dates denote when I posted to my blog, and are not necessarily the exact dates of the events. For full details and to read the posts in their entirety, please click on the blue headline links.)
April 7: Diamond Recalls Dog Food
Diamond Pet Foods announces a voluntary recall of Diamond Naturals Lamb Meal & Rice dry dog food due to possible salmonella contamination.
April 26: Production Halted at Diamond S.C. Plant
Diamonds suspends all production activities at its Gaston, S.C., plant in the wake of the initial recall. The now-affected brands extend to:
May 5: Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Dry Dog Food
- Taste of the Wild
- Premium Edge
- Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover's Soul
- Country Value
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announces that 14 people in the U.S. were sickened by exposure to tainted pet foods involved in the recall.
May 6: Kirkland Now on List of Recalled pet Foods
Diamond adds Kirkland, which is distributed through Costco, to the growing list of recalled pet foods.
May 7: Natural Balance Joins the Recall List
Natural Balance is a respected pet food company owned by actor Dick Van Patten. I'm sure he wasn't acting when he said he wasn't happy about this.
May 8: Welcome to the List, Solid Gold
This bring the total to 14 recalled products. At least they weren't number 13 (a small consolation).
May 16: FDA Releases Preliminary Report About Diamond Pet Foods Factory
The FDA releases a brief but revealing report about some of the goings on at the Diamond Pet Foods plant in Gaston, N.C., where pet foods involved in the recent recall were made. It ain’t good!
May 17: Two Cats in Canada Die From Tainted Pet Foods
The Montreal Gazette reports that two cats at the Humanochat cat shelter in Rivière des Prairies (Montreal) had died and another kitty was seriously ill after ingesting pet foods produced at the Diamond Pet Foods plant in Gaston, S.C. Up until this point, only people had been reportedly sickened due to the contaminated pet foods.
By this time, the number of people sickened due to exposure to tainted pet foods involved in the recall had escalated to 15 in the U.S. and one in Canada.
Meanwhile, the recalls had previously been confined to dog foods. Not anymore.
May 30: Pet Food Recall Now Includes Missouri Plant
The FDA announces that Salmonella Liverpool had been detected at Diamond’s Meta, Mo., plant. Meanwhile, Diamond Naturals Small Breed Lamb & Rice formula has been added to the list of recalled products.
In other developments, after publishing this report, I learned from the Food Poisoning Bulletin
that on May 28 a lawsuit
was filed against Diamond Pet Foods and Costco in New Jersey by the father of an infant who allegedly became ill with a Salmonella Infantis infection after coming into contact with Kirkland Signature Super Premium Healthy Weight Dog Formulated with Chicken & Vegetables. (This is a brand distributed by Costco.)
This reportedly was the first suit to be filed against any of the companies whose pet foods were involved in the recalls. I suspect it won’t be the last.
Then on May 30, a woman from Westbury, N.Y., named Barbara Marciano field a class action lawsuit against Diamond and Costco claiming that her dog, Benji, died after ingesting tainted Kirkland dog food. See more about that here
In mid-June, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that a total of 22 people (20 in 13 U.S. states and two in Canada) had contracted Salmonella Infantis from exposure to the tainted pet foods. Meanwhile, a pet safety blogger in Spain was threatened with a lawsuit after reporting about recalled Taste of the Wild pet food. Read more about these developments here
On July 18, the CDC announced
that the number of people sickened with Salmonella Infantis had increased to 49; 47 people in 20 U.S. states and two in Canada, with 10 people reportedly hospitalized.
For more info and helpful tips about how to navigate this mess, you may refer to my articles:
Meanwhile, stay tuned to my site for more news about this epic saga, which I am sure will continue...unfortunately.
July 20: More Pet Deaths and Illnesses Reported
A report contained on the eFoodAlert
food safety blog claims that 58 pets were reportedly affected by the contaminated pet foods; 8 died.