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Latest Salmonella Hazard: Frozen Mice Fed To Pet Reptiles

The care and feeding of all sorts of pets carries a risk of infection for pet owners from tainted food. Even frozen rodents used to sustain snakes and lizards can be a problem.

Is nothing safe anymore?

Here's comes the Food and Drug Administration telling us that even frozen mice can carry salmonella.

Frozen mice? Yes, frozen mice you might feed to a pet lizard, snake or other hungry reptile. You could buy them at the local pet store or over the Internet from ... wait for it ... Mice Direct.

The Georgia company just recalled a bunch of mice, rats and 25-count bags of chicks because of possible salmonella contamination.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported that 34 people in 17 states have been sickened with a strain of salmonella linked to the frozen rodent chow so far this year. One person landed in the hospital. Nobody died.

From now on Mice Direct says it will be irradiating the frozen carcasses to kill bacteria at a "level equivalent to the standards for human consumption." Yum.

So presumably you can order bags of frozen pinkies, fuzzies, hoppers and other cutely named rodent carcasses with greater confidence from now on.

The latest recall highlights the hidden risks of pet ownership. Yesterday we noted that tainted dry pet food has also been linked to big outbreaks of human illness from salmonella, too. Copyright 2010 National Public Radio. To see more, visit