Multiple voluntary pet food recalls within the last two months prompted a recent Food and Drug Administration inspection of Diamond Pet Foods’ Gaston, South Carolina food processing plant. The FDA released the Form 483 Inspection Observations that were noted during an investigation that took place between April 13, 2012 and April 20, 2012. Since the release of this information, the company has announced an additional pet food product recall for Diamond Naturals Small Breed Adult Dog Lamb & Rice Formula samples, 6 pound and 18 pound bag sizes, manufactured on Aug. 26, 2011. Additional information about the latest recall can be found here.
Four main items were noted in the FDA’s week-long inspection of the Gaston facility:
* All reasonable precautions are not taken to ensure that production procedures do not contribute contamination from any source;
* Failure to provide hand washing and hand sanitation facilities at each location in the plant where needed;
* Failure to maintain equipment, containers and utensils used to convey, hold, and store food in a proper manner that protects against contamination;
* Failure to maintain equipment so as to facilitate cleaning of the equipment.
The notes made by each the FDA inspectors for each of these items are very concerning. For example, an employee at the plant was seen touching the raw animal fat filters and oil without gloves, lack of hand washing stations, and details of cardboard and duct tape being used on the production equipment. Sadly, it is not hard to imagine some of these same findings are very common in other pet food production facilities.
Interestingly, the FDA inspection report notes that the plant manager could discuss the findings during the inspection with the FDA, or he may contact the FDA in writing to discuss the findings and correction measures being taken or planned. There is no note of any such conversation on the report, however. You can see the FDA inspection report here.