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Dry Pet Food: Keep It from Getting You Sick

Feeding your pet is an everyday task you may not think twice about -- but maybe you should.

A report and one in the journal Pediatrics found humans got salmonella from certain dry pet foods in one outbreak between 2006 and 2008, affecting 79 people in 21 states. Almost half were kids 2 and younger.

Dr. O. Alton Barron. an attending physician at New York's Roosevelt Hospital, explained on "The Early Show" that dry food was contaminated because, after it was heated, eliminating salmonella and other organisms, it was sprayed it with food flavoring to make it more palatable to dogs and cats.

Dry Pet Food Linked to Salmonella in Kids

Barron said the kids who were sickened weren't eating the pet food.

He said, "They did it by being cross-contaminated through the hands, primarily through the caregivers and the area they were in the home."

How can you protect your family?

For starters, Barron suggests washing your hands after handling pet food.

Also, Barron said, it's imperative that pet food bowls be kept separate from humans' and washed in a separate area -- and not your kitchen sink.

"You need to absolutely disinfect (pet bowls) and keep them in a separate compartment," he said.

Additionally, Barron said small children should not be feeding pets or in the area where pets eat.

Barron said, "As much as we want to integrate our pets into our lives, we need to keep them out of the kitchen and keep them out of our bathtubs, and that's sometimes difficult in a small apartment."

"Early Show" co-anchor Erica Hill pointed out the brand found to contain salmonella has been taken off the market.

Is there anything to be concerned about now?

Barron said, "I think there's nothing else we can know. (Dry pet food) is regularly tested, so, hopefully that's going to prevent this. This whole plant out in Pennsylvania was closed as a result of this (outbreak). So, it's to longer being produced from that plant."