The Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) has issued an October 24, 2011, memorandum calling for nationwide testing of pet food “to determine the prevalence of Salmonella” and remove contaminated samples from commerce. According to CVM, regulators are concerned about the transmission of “pathogenic and antibiotic-resistant bacteria to humans and other animals,” as well as the risk that Salmonella tainted pet food, pet treats and supplements for pets could infect consumers in their homes, where products “are likely to be directly handled or ingested by humans.”

CVM has directed investigators to collect and submit non-canned pet food, treats and supplements for analysis, which aims to identify “the serotype, genetic fingerprint, and antimicrobial susceptibilities of each Salmonella found in samples.” The agency will also use these samples for “research purposes” and “providing surveillance information on microbes other than Salmonella.”

Salmonella-contaminated pet foods, pet treats and supplements for pets pose a significant health risk to humans,” warns CVM. “Certain vulnerable populations such as children, the elderly, and individuals with compromised immune systems, are particularly susceptible to Salmonella infection from such animal feeds. For these reasons, CVM considers it prudent to keep Salmonella-contaminated pet foods, pet treats and supplements for pets out of interstate commerce.”