As you undoubtedly know, a large Salmonella outbreak has occurred in the US, associated with contaminated peanuts. The scope of this outbreak continues to expand in unexpected areas, including pets. The latest development is a voluntary recall of bird seed. The recall affects 20-pound packages of Wild Birds Unlimited Wildlife Blend bird food (produced by Kentucky-based Burkmann Feeds) with the manufacturing date code 81132200 2916 08124. 

The contaminated bird seed was linked to the deaths of several birds in North Carolina, and it was confirmed that the bird seed manufacturer received peanuts from the Georgia facility that was implicated in the Salmonella outbreak.

People that have used this bird seed should clear out their bird feeders, ideally while wearing gloves. The feeders should be thoroughly cleaned and then disinfected (although this may be easier said than done). Hands should be washed after handling the bird seed, potentially contaminated feeders or any other potentially contaminated items.

The risk to people is presumably quite low, but people handling the bird seed could potentially contaminate their hands with Salmonella and then inadvertently swallow some of the bacteria. Concerns are greatest in people with compromised immune systems, the very young, the elderly and people taking antibiotics, as they are more likely to get sick following exposure to small numbers of Salmonella.

More information about Salmonella can be found on the Worms & Germs Resources page.