A 2006-2008 salmonella outbreak in many eastern states is being linked to some dry pet food, according to FDA data. The outbreak sickened 79 people, over half of whom were ages two and under. But don't worry, the kids weren't actually eating the dry food—just touching it and then putting their fingers in their mouths.
Dr. O. Alton Barron of Roosevelt Hospital told WCBS, “Kids under two years of age did it by cross contamination through the hands, primarily through care givers and the area in the home." None of the pets came down with the disease, but investigators found evidence of salmonella in the stool samples of pets who ate the tainted food. So the children could have gotten it from excrement too? Kids these days. Several brands of dry dog and cat food produced at Mars Petcare US plant in Everson, Pa. were found to be tainted, and the plant has shut down.
This is the first salmonella outbreak traced back to pet food, and there have been no reported illnesses related to pet food since the 2008 outbreak. But just in case there's anything else lurking in that chow, pediatricians recommend washing your hands after contact with pet food and pet bowls, keeping kids under five away from pet food and routinely cleaning feeding areas.