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FDA inspection finds petfood safety issues at Diamond Pet Foods’ plant

Diamond Pet Foods, the petfood company linked to recent dry dog food recalls due to Salmonella contamination, did not take "all reasonable precautions" to ensure safety at its plant, according to the US Food and Drug Administration inspection report.

The Form 483 report from the Food and Drug Administration was released after a week-long inspection that began April 12 after petfood manufactured at Diamond Pet Foods' Gaston, South Carolina, USA, plant was found to be contaminated with Salmonella and linked to an outbreak of human Salmonella infantis.

According to the report, the administration's inspectors cited four observations:

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 April 13, 2012, an employee was observed touching in-line fat filter and oil with bare hands.

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.

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.

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.

The administration has not yet revealed how many complaints it has received about pet illnesses possibly related to the contaminated food.

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