FDA Releases Diamond Pet Foods Preliminary Inspection Report


Late this afternoon, FDA posted the Inspectional Observations report (Form 483 report) that was handed to the Plant Manager of Diamond Pet Foods in Gaston, South Carolina at the end of a week-long inspection.

The inspection, which was initiated on April 12th as a result of an outbreak of Salmonella Infantis infections in the USA and Canada traced to contaminated pet food manufactured at the facility, produced four significant observations:

OBSERVATION 1

All reasonable precautions are not taken to ensure that production procedures do not contribute contamination from any source.

Specifically, no microbiological analysis is conducted or there is no assurance that incoming animal fat will not introduce pathogens into their production and cause contamination of finished product. Also, the firm’s current sampling procedure for animal digest does (?) preclude potential for adulteration after sampling and during storage in warehouse. On 4/13/12, an employee was observed touching in-line fat filter and oil with bare hands.

OBSERVATION 2

Failure to provide hand washing and hand sanitizing facilities at each location in the plant where needed.

Specifically, there are no facilities for hand washing or hand sanitizing in the production areas where there is direct contact with exposed finished feed/food.

OBSERVATION 3

Failure to maintain equipment, containers and utensils used to convey, hold, and store food in a manner that protects against contamination.

Specifically, paddles in conveyor (South or Middle conveyor leading to the screeners going to packaging) were observed to have gouges and cuts, which exhibited feed residues. The damage to the paddles may allow for harborage areas for microorganisms and are difficult to clean and sanitize.

OBSERVATION 4

Failure to maintain equipment so as to facilitate cleaning of the equipment.

Specifically, firm utilizes cardboard, duct tape, and other non cleanable surfaces on equipment. These materials were observed to have residues adhering. The foam gaskets around access doors to the bucket elevators were observed in deteriorating condition and exhibited an accumulation of feed residues and dust.

This is what Diamond Pet Foods has to say about its own quality program:

  • Each of our products undergoes a rigorous quality control process prior to shipment, including 141 ingredient tests and 10 final product quality and safety checks.
  • Diamond uses only the highest-quality ingredients.
  • Every Diamond Pet Foods product is Precision Formulated™ for content, quality, consistency and uniformity.
  • Diamond is audited regularly by a highly respected independent laboratory for food safety, quality and palatability.
  • We only sell products that we would be proud to feed to our own pets.

Can anyone tell me how this company, with its self-proclaimed attention to product quality and safety, managed to miss the ongoing presence of Salmonella Infantis in its finished products for at least four months?

Can anyone tell me how the “highly respected independent laboratory that audits the company on a regular basis missed the cardboard and duct tape used on equipment in the Gaston plant, and also missed the deteriorating gaskets and the damaged paddles?

And, can anyone tell me why the FDA report does not mention sampling the production environment, ingredients or finished products as part of their week-long inspection?

There are other things we still don’t know, including:

  1. How many pets have become infected as a result of eating the contaminated food? Have any of the infected pets died?
  2. Where else – other than the USA, Canada and Puerto Rico – was the recalled pet food distributed? Asia? Europe? Latin America? The Caribbean? Neither FDA nor Diamond has answered that question yet.
  3. Why was December 9, 2011 chosen as the earliest production date for recall? The oldest batch of food in which a government lab found Salmonella was produced January 3-4, 2012. This suggests that the contamination was present somewhere in the production environment for five months without being detected by the company’s quality assurance program.

Here – once more – are some things consumers in Canada, the USA and elsewhere can do to protect themselves, their families, and their pets from becoming statistics in this outbreak:

  • Check your supply of pet food to see whether it is affected by the recall. If it is on the recall list, either throw it away or return the unused portion to the retailer. Do not assume that your pet food is safe if your state or country was not mentioned on the recall distribution list.
  • If you have handled one of the recalled products and you develop symptoms of Salmonella (stomach ache, diarrhea, etc), seek immediate medical attention and mention the possible link to pet food.
  • If your dog or cat was fed one of the recalled products and develops symptoms of gastrointestinal illness (vomiting or diarrhea), seek immediate veterinary attention. Ask your veterinarian to test your pet for Salmonella. If the test is positive, you or your veterinarian should contact FDA immediately to have the unused portion of the pet food tested. Direct your veterinarian to the CDC web site for information on how to proceed.
  • Review the FDA Tips for Preventing Foodborne Illness Associated with Pet Food and Pet Treats, and follow its recommendations to keep your family and your pets safe.
  • Monitor eFoodAlert’s Diamond Pet Foods, Etc. Recalls – 2012 page. It will be updated as more information becomes available.

Above all, be aware that dogs may be infected with Salmonella – and may shed the bacteria in their stool – without showing any outward symptoms of illness. If your pet has consumed a Diamond Pet Foods dry dog food, be especially careful to wash your hands after handling the animal, and supervise closely any interaction between children and your pet.

27 thoughts on “FDA Releases Diamond Pet Foods Preliminary Inspection Report

  1. diamond did this a few yrs back with corn (I am pretty sure it was that and it shouldn’t be in food ne ways) they stopped checks on the corn, got lax, and there was moldy corn…..dogs got sick and DIED!!! i refused to support, recc, etc diamond after that stupidity…..sadly I had HOPED they’d learned their lesson…..but I knew they wouldn’t….when I heard this recall my FIRST thought was what did they screw up this time….sure enough it was FAULTY on their part!! not doing checks, etc! GRRRR NO MORE DIAMOND, Foods processed in DIAMOND companies…..they should be …..

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  2. When you ask about the “highly respected independent laboratory that audits the company on a regular basis missed the cardboard and duct tape used on equipment in the Gaston plant, and also missed the deteriorating gaskets and the damaged paddles?”. Diamond actually just says, “Diamond is audited regularly by a highly respected independent laboratory for food safety, quality and palatability.” This makes no mention at all of having their facilities audited for cleanliness/safety, etc. just the food itself. That lab no doubt has no physical interaction with the plant – samples are being sent for testing only. (but clearly not very thorough testing, eh?). Crazy that they would not be testing for Salmonella, or that the definition of “regularly” tested might be every 6 months or something…

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  3. As a federal employee, you just have to ask for more of the letter for more into. It is freedom of information act”able” meaning they are required to release it. I can promise you, everything was sampled and followed up.

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  4. Thank you for this information! I had 3 (out of 3) dogs get sick when I fed them out of a new bag of Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream food. I had been feeding this for over 6 months.. One dog was hospitalized for 3 days on IV’s, lost 10 lbs and took over 3 weeks to approach normal. The foster dog also ran 104 fever and refused a second meal of the food (at this time I did not know that TOTW was manufactured by Diamond).. I rushed her to the Emergency vet, she was treated and meds were given to me. Came home to 3rd dog with fever. I threw out the food, got meds for third dog. Spent the weekend with one dog in intensive care and two dogs at home being nursed.
    All 3 have recovered. Foster dog is in process of being adopted, my two rescue dogs are still on prescription dog food and are better. To this day, my treating vet is not open to the idea that this was salmonella.. and when I told him that I had the runs and stomach issues for 2 days, he dismissed that too.
    My vet bills are north of $2500 and I am going to notify Diamond although not sure that will do any good.
    Very discouraging that they are still saying that they test their products. Glad I am not a stockholder..

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    1. I’m really sorry to hear that. 😦 As a vet tech, I’ve seen how difficult it is for people to come in with sick pets, and for their bills to sky rocket. That’s why I went into this field to begin with, because I took my dog to my previous vet because she was vomiting when she consumed water.These dog food companies really need to step it up and I believe that any company (even manufacturers) need to hire people who are passionate about animals and put more care into our animal’s products.

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      1. I have had dogs for over 40 years and horses for over 30 years.. been through a lot healthwise through the years.. I’m not a vet nor did I sleep at a Holiday Inn Express but when 3 out of 3 dogs get sick with the same symptoms after I feed them from a newly opened bag of dog food.. and then I get sick.. I would just think that the ER vet and my treating vet would be more open to the possibility that it was the dog food. I am not trying to place blame anywhere but on the manufacturer. But I got the feeling the vets
        didn’t want to actually come out and say that it was the food. Nor
        did they offer to test for salmonella after I discovered that the
        brand was manufactured by Diamond.

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    2. I had similar experieces but not so extreme.

      Please submit a claim to Diamond. At first they asked for that, may have changed, but you have reasons.
      My vet didn’t test for salmonells as so odd but found high levels of bacteria in stools. Thank goodness my guys react well to Science Diet easy digest…may not be best food but helps them.
      Send your bills to them and notify the FDA. They now have a place to notify about dogs.
      Nancy

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  5. I think you caught the possible typo too. In Observation 1 they really meant does NOT preclude?

    Diamond and the companies that subcontract out to them have a lot of questions to answer. Time for full disclosure. Also time for a change of the laws that allow them to hide who is manufacturing the food and then hide the extent of the contamination.

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  6. I’m reposting this on all my facebook pages and sending to all my personal contacts. Excellent post Phyllis! Thank you so much!!!

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  7. I so appreciate your work and dedication Phyllis. This is my first blog and I am sure it wont be my last! I’m so glad I found you and your website. I have sent it out to all my friends. Thank you again. Valerie B.

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  8. I am pleased it is now in black and white. The companies who have food made there and continue to buy from them shows the truth coming out. My earth angel Buster is sitting on my shoulder and hugging me. I will continue to save another animals life each day by telling the uninformed to check out their pets food. Thank you to all who are keeping the information coming.

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  9. I am so disappointed with this company!!!! Everything you say you stand for has been false…. very shady!!! We need better laws to hold these companies to… Make your money and eat your own food… What goes around comes around…

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  10. I fed Chicken Soup to my dogs for 5-6 years. This fall the food was a different color and they had diarrhea. I changed to TOTW…better for awhile then diarrhea began again. Went to vet, fed a bag of easy digest and gave flagyl. Then new bag of TOTW … Symptoms again. Repeated…THEN after buying new bag, read news. Threw away—and bought a new bag with April 13 code after plant was supposedly cleaned, etc. AGAIN my dogs developed dreadful liquid diarrhea. I am stupid, I guess. I have loved how my animals thrived on Chicken Soup and then TOTW. I wanted to support local farmers supply. I was furious when the supposedly new bag after cleaning and reopening make them sick again. That’s it and then I read THIS report … How awful. I am lucky my Plott Hound and Whippet didn’t die. No, we didn’t test for salmonella… The test showed active bacteria in stool. Shopping for new good foods now and will not give Diamond another chance after reading the report and how the plant is. Days after the “voluntary recall” three of my local stores still had not been notified, didn’t believe me and THEIR contact web stuff didn’t show it at all. Now it does and the products have been pulled. Sorry for the soapbox…

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  11. Holy Moses. Phyllis, I am speechless. And for me that says allot. This deserves an immediate reblog. Thank you so much!

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