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UPDATED: Salmonella traced to dog treats made in NH

New Hampshire Union Leader

September 10. 2013 8:23PM

CONCORD -- A New Hampshire-made pet food appears responsible for an outbreak of salmonella in 21 residents — including some dogs — in Merrimack and Hillsborough counties, state health officials said Tuesday.
Officials said the manufacturer of the food has agreed to recall Joey’s Jerky brand Chicken Jerky from the six New Hampshire stores where it was sold, due to the risk of salmonella infection. The Loudon-based Kritter’s Kitchen Kreations has also agreed to halt its production operations for the time being, said Beth Daly, chief of infectious disease surveillance for the state.
Daly said state officials started recognizing the particular strain of salmonella in mid-June but became concerned in the last couple of weeks, when infections of that strain rose precipitously. An investigation traced the salmonella to Joey’s Jerky.
She said no one has died from the outbreak, but several have been hospitalized. Not all pets given the treats have come down with salmonella, but some have, she said.
“While uncommon, pet food and treats can sometimes be contaminated with salmonella, which is why it is so important for pet owners to wash their hands after handling pet food and treats,” said Dr. Jose Montero, New Hampshire director of public health.
Daly said the disease can also spread when owners clean up their dog’s waste.
The product was sold at America’s Pet in Hudson, Blue Seal in Bow, K9 Kaos in Dover, Osborne’s Agway in Concord, Sandy’s Pet Food Center in Concord, and The Yellow Dog’s Barn in Barrington.
Officials said pet owners should discard any unused portions of Joey’s Jerky.
A telephone message left at Kritter’s Kitchen Kreations was not returned. But on the website, the owner, named only as Krista, said she uses boneless chicken breast from local supermarkets. It is hand-trimmed and dehydrated at high temperature for several hours.
“We take great care in the proper handling and if it’s not suitable for us humans, then it’s not suitable for our furry children,” the write-up reads.
Daly said laboratory analysis of the treats revealed a presumptive positive finding for salmonella.
She said state health officials do not inspect animal-food operations. The state Department of Agriculture oversees registration of such operations and makes sure the product is properly labeled, she said.
Daly said Joey’s Jerky was isolated after exhaustive interviews with the salmonella patients. All had pets, and officials focused on Joey’s Jerky when one dog owner said the pet gets only homemade food, except for Joey’s Jerky.
Salmonella can cause diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps.
“Salmonella can be a serious illness and the sooner the source of an outbreak is identified, the sooner it can be stopped,” Montero said.

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