Some rather unsettling details in the initial FDA inspection report on the inner workings of the Diamond Pet Food manufacturing facility in Gaston, South Carolina. For those who haven’t been keeping abreast on news, the recent pet food recalls for salmonella contamination have all be traced back to a single manufacturing plant, operated by Diamond Pet Foods, and producing a wide variety of private label, co packed dry dog, cat and small animal foods.
The Food and Drug Administration Report detailed four key findings:
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 (sic) 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 2Failure 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 3Failure 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 4Failure 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.
All of this is disturbing enough (duct tape? really? At a plant making ‘gourmet’ holistic food, some of which retails at close to $90 per bag?), but the conclusions that TheTruthAboutPetFood.com blog noticed about this report are even more worrisome, namely that “animal fat” and “animal digest”, per observation one of the FDA report above, are a rather worrisome note, considering that:
A) none of the foods made by Diamond list them on their ingredient labels
B) Animal Fat and Animal Digest are the two key ingredients linked to the inclusion of rendered, euthanized animals into pet food
Read the rest on the Truth About Pet Food blog.
If you weren’t worried before about whether or not your pet’s food was being co packed, this might give you the impetus to start worrying now.