Grain aflatoxins lead to U.S. pet food recalls, dog deaths

Pet food maker expands recall after more than 70 dogs die, 80 sickened

Reuters — Midwestern Pet Foods is expanding a recall to include several more products sold under its Sportmix brand and other labels after at least 70 dogs died and 80 others are known to have become ill, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Tuesday.

The food was found to have potentially unsafe levels of aflatoxins, a byproduct of mould, and the company is expanding its voluntary recall of pet foods issued on Dec. 30.

“As of January 11, 2021, FDA is aware of more than 70 pets that have died and more than 80 pets that are sick after eating Sportmix pet food,” the agency said.

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Aflatoxin can grow on corn and other grains used in pet foods, according to the FDA. At high levels, it can cause illness and death.

The Evansville, Indiana-based company, which has been family-owned since 1926, said in a statement that until recently it has never had a product recall.

The product recall includes Midwestern brands Sportmix, Pro Pac Originals, Splash, Sportstrail and Nunn Better dry dog and cat foods produced at its Oklahoma factory, the company said.

“We continue a thorough review of our facilities and practices in full co-operation with FDA in an effort to better serve our customers and pet parents who have put their trust in us,” the company said.

The FDA said that the actual number of dead and sickened animals might not be reflected in its count.

The agency said it “continues to work with veterinarians and state partners to follow up on suspected cases of aflatoxin poisoning.”

Symptoms of aflatoxin poisoning include sluggishness, loss of appetite and vomiting, the FDA said.

— Reporting for Reuters by Rich McKay in Atlanta.

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