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FDA issues pet food alert after 28 dogs are reported dead from toxin

Credit: FDA

The Food and Drug Administration is alerting pet owners about high levels of aflatoxin in some pet foods after 28 dogs reportedly died and 8 others were sickened.

Posted: Dec 31, 2020 1:32 PM
Updated: Dec 31, 2020 1:52 PM

(CNN) -- The Food and Drug Administration is alerting pet owners about high levels of aflatoxin in some pet foods after 28 dogs reportedly died and 8 others were sickened.

The pet food containing the toxin has been identified as certain Sportmix products manufactured by Midwestern Pet Foods. The products were voluntarily recalled by the company on Wednesday.

The FDA and the Missouri Department of Agriculture are working with the manufacturer to determine whether more products contain high levels of the toxin. The FDA said the investigation is ongoing and the "scope of the recall may expand as new information becomes available."

Aflatoxin is produced by the Aspergillus flavus mold, the FDA said. It can grow on grains used as ingredients in pet food, and when high levels of aflatoxin are consumed, it can cause illness or death in pets.

Pets poisoned by aflatoxin can display symptoms including sluggishness, jaundice -- a yellowish tint in the eyes or gums caused by liver damage -- loss of appetite, vomiting or diarrhea, according to the FDA.

Even if a pet is not displaying any symptoms of aflatoxin poisoning, the FDA recommends that pet owners who have pets that have eaten the affected products contact their veterinarian -- as it can cause long-term liver damage.

While the FDA says there is no evidence that pet owners who have handled the affected food are at risk of aflatoxin poisoning, it recommends that pet owners always wash their hands after handling pet food.

The following dry pet foods have been flagged for recall:

Sportmix Energy Plus, 50-pound bag

  • Exp 03/02/22/05/L2
  • Exp 03/02/22/05/L3
  • Exp 03/03/22/05/L2

Sportmix Energy Plus, 44-pound bag

  • Exp 03/02/22/05/L3

Sportmix Premium High Energy, 50-pound bag

  • Exp 03/03/22/05/L3

Sportmix Premium High Energy, 44-pound bag

  • Exp 03/03/22/05/L3

Sportmix Original Cat, 31-pound bag

  • Exp 03/03/22/05/L3

Sportmix Original Cat, 15-pound bag

  • Exp 03/03/22/05/L2
  • Exp 03/03/22/05/L3

Pet owners can report suspected illnesses to the FDA electronically through its safety reporting portal or by calling the state consumer complaint coordinator. The FDA also offers a guide with steps to report a pet food complaint.

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