Pets, peanut butter and salmonella: a cautionary tale

Editor’s note: This column was originally posted on and is reproduced here with permission from the author.

By Phyllis Entis

Between September 2008 and April 2009, contaminated peanut butter manufactured by the Peanut Corporation of America caused 714 confirmed cases of Salmonella Typhimurium diseases in the United States. The epidemic killed nine people.

In addition to the human toll extracted by contaminated peanut butter, the CDC has reported a laboratory-confirmed case of Salmonella in a dog from an Oregon household. Salmonella resembling the outbreak strain was recovered by a private laboratory from a sample of Happy Tails Multi-Flavor Dog Biscuits.

Some of the cookies in the package contained peanut butter.

The Happy Tails Cookies were reminded on January 23, 2009, just days after the dog fell ill.

In a separate incident, a dog in georgia has died after being fed Austin Peanut Butter Crackers. The crackers were one of a long list of products recalled in response to the Salmonella epidemic.

Peanut butter has been linked to several other outbreaks of Salmonella and an E. coli O157:H7 outbreak in the United States since 2009, resulting in ninety-three illnesses and twenty-three hospitalizations.

The Jif Peanut Butter Situation
The CDC now reporting sixteen confirmed cases of Salmonella Senftenberg across twelve states. Two people were hospitalized.

Ten out of ten outbreak victims surveyed by state and local public health officials said they had consumed peanut butter in the week before their illness. Nine of the ten said they had eaten Jif peanut butter. The tenth victim did not know what brand of peanut butter was consumed.

The May 20, 2022 recall of Jif peanut butter products has already triggered at least fifteen recalls in the United States by manufacturers who used any of the recalled products as an ingredient.

Although no pet foods or treats have been recalled to date, products contaminated with Jif Peanut Butter still pose a risk to pets.

Many dog ​​owners use peanut butter coated treat balls to occupy their pets when left alone.

Others use peanut butter to make pills more palatable or to tempt a dog’s appetite that has lost interest in food.

Although dogs are less likely than humans to develop symptoms of a Salmonella infection, they can become asymptomatic carriers and shed the bacteria in their stool for several weeks after being infected.

Protect yourself, your family and your pets

  • If your pet has eaten any of the recalled Jif peanut butter products, watch for symptoms of salmonellosis, including diarrhea, loss of appetite, or vomiting, and take your pet to the vet right away if these symptoms appear. If possible, bring a fresh stool sample to the veterinary office and ask for a Salmonella test.
  • If your pet shows symptoms of salmonellosis, take extra precautions to keep young children away and watch for signs of salmonellosis among household members.
  • Always wash your hands with soap and water immediately after handling pet food or treats.
  • Whenever possible, store pet food and treats away from where human food is stored or prepared and out of reach of young children.
  • Do not use your pet’s bowl to pick up food. Use a clean, dedicated scoop, scoop or cup.
  • Always follow the storage instructions on the bags or containers of pet food.

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