FDA Warns Against Midwestern Pet Foods’ Dry Dog Food After Dog Deaths

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has warned against Midwestern Pet Foods, Inc.’s contaminated dry dog food following reports of the illness or death of hundreds of pet dogs.

According to the regulator, the warning letter was issued to the company after inspections of its manufacturing sites revealed the presence of high levels of aflatoxin in samples of SPORTMiX brand dog food.

Aflatoxins are toxins produced by the mold Aspergillus flavus, which can grow on corn and other grains used as ingredients in pet food. At high levels, aflatoxins can cause illness and death in pets.

Samples of SPORTMiX were found to contain levels of aflatoxin as high as 558 parts per billion or ppb. The FDA considers pet food to be adulterated if it contains more than 20 ppb of aflatoxin.

As of August 9, the FDA is aware of more than 130 pet deaths and more than 220 pet illnesses that may be linked to eating brands of pet food manufactured by Midwestern.

The agency noted that the initial inspection of Midwestern’s Chickasha, Oklahoma plant was after reports of illness or death in dogs that had eaten SPORTMiX brand dry dog food manufactured by Midwestern.

The inspections revealed evidence of significant violations of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act that were shared across multiple plants. The violations included current good manufacturing practice, hazard analysis, and risk-based preventive controls for food for animals regulation.

In the reported cases of dog illness and deaths, the FDA noted that not all cases have been confirmed as aflatoxin poisoning through laboratory testing or veterinary record review.

In January, the company had recalled these products, as well as all corn-containing pet foods manufactured at its Chickasha plant. In March, Midwestern called back several brands of pet food manufactured at its Monmouth, Illinois plant after samples tested positive for Salmonella.

The FDA noted that Midwestern’s food safety program appears inadequate to significantly minimize or prevent Salmonella in its pet food.

The company is now required to provide a written response to the agency within 15 working days stating the specific steps they have taken to correct any violations. Failure to adequately address any violations would result in legal action.

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