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Salmonella sickens dozens in western NC

Posted May 4, 2012

— Salmonella spread across the state and the country in two food-linked outbreaks Friday.

In western North Carolina, health officials tracked more than 40 reports of illness to tainted tempeh, a form of soy protein common in vegetarian diets. The tempeh, made by Smiling Hara of Asheville, was recalled on Tuesday, but person-to-person contact meant the illness continued to spread.

North Carolinians are among those sickened by contaminated dog food made at Diamond Pet Foods' plant in Gaston, S.C., as well. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said no deaths have been reported, but at least five people were hospitalized in that outbreak. 

"People who became ill, the thing that was common among them was that they had fed their pets Diamond Pet Foods," said CDC spokeswoman Lola Russell. The recall covers a number of pet food brands made at the Gaston plant, including Canidae, Natural Balance, Apex, Kirkland, Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover's Soul, Country Value, Diamond, Diamond Naturals, Premium Edge, Professional, 4Health and Taste of the Wild.

Humans can get salmonella by handling infected dog food, then not washing their hands before eating or handling their own food, health officials said.

The South Carolina plant temporarily was shut down April 8 and Diamond Pet Foods has issued four rounds of recalls for food made at the plant, located outside of Columbia, S.C., between Dec. 9 and April 7. The latest recalls came Friday.

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