The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a corporate-wide warning to Midwestern Pet Foods, Inc., after discovering that the company committed significant violations of food safety protocols that may have resulted in 220 cases of pet illnesses and over 130 pet fatalities.
Prompted by hundreds of reports of dead and ailing dogs that had eaten certain pet foods manufactured by the company, the FDA conducted its initial inspection of Midwestern’s factory in Chickasha, Oklahoma earlier this January.
The investigation revealed that SPORTMiX dry dog food contained high levels of aflatoxin, a type of toxin produced by mold that is known to grow on corn and other types of grains typically used to manufacture dog food.
According to the FDA, dog food containing more than 20 parts per billion (ppb) of aflatoxin is considered adulterated. Analysis of SPORTMiX pet food samples revealed that the product contained 558 ppb of aflatoxin.
The FDA has also investigated Midwestern’s three other manufacturing plants and found further evidence of food safety practice violations.
Midwestern recalled batches of contaminated products in January and March of this year. The company must respond to the FDA’s warning within 15 working days with detailed information on how they’ve corrected said violations; the company will face legal action should they fail to comply.
Signs of Canine Aflatoxin Poisoning and What to Do
Symptoms of aflatoxin include loss of appetite, vomiting, jaundice, diarrhea, and sluggishness. Exposure to high levels of aflatoxin can also cause liver damage in dogs, though they may not show any symptoms of it.
For pet parents who suspect that their dog has consumed contaminated dog food, it’s best to contact their vet immediately. Pet owners should also take a photo of the dog food label with the lot number so that they can trace where the product was manufactured and what batch it’s from.
To prevent future instances of food poisoning, pet owners should thoroughly wash all their dog stainless steel bowls at home. Pet parents must also clean and sanitize their floors, custom dog beds, pet chew toys, and any other surfaces that the dog has come into contact with. All remnants of contaminated dog food must be properly disposed of to ensure that other pets and stray animals do not accidentally ingest them.
The FDA also encourages consumers to report any instances of canine aflatoxin poisoning by going to the organization’s website's safety reporting portal or calling their local FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator's office.
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