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Salmonella in bird food not linked to peanut recall

Posted March 24, 2009

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— Tests conducted by state inspectors have determined that salmonella detected in bird food is unrelated to the bacteria that prompted a nationwide recall of peanut products.

Two weeks ago, the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services found salmonella in samples of Wild Birds Unlimited bird food. Inspectors tested the food after receiving reports from across the state of dead wild birds.

Kentucky-based Burkmann Feeds recalled 20-pound packages of Wild Birds Unlimited Wildlife Blend bird food with the manufacturing date code of 81132200 2916 08124. The food is sold exclusively at Wild Birds Unlimited Stores.

Wild Birds Unlimited Woodpecker blend sold in five-pound bags also tested positive for salmonella.

State inspectors initially said the salmonella in the bird food was likely linked to the peanut recall because Burkmann Feeds received peanuts from a Georgia plant that was the focus of a nationwide salmonella outbreak that killed eight people and sickened hundreds more.

Further testing isolated the strain of salmonella in the bird food, however, and found it was different from the strain involved in the peanut recall, state officials said. The strain in the bird food also was different from the salmonella that killed the wild birds statewide, officials said.

Burkmann Feeds and state officials advised consumers to discard the contaminated bird food and avoid touching it with their hands. Anyone who handles the bird food should wash their hands thoroughly, they said.

State inspectors are working with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to identify the source of the contamination at Burkmann Feeds.

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