Breaking News: Dog and Cat Food Recall (12/30/20)

A serving of a dog food.A serving of a dog food.
A serving of a dog food.A serving of a dog food.

Table of Contents:

  1. Which Products Are Being Recalled?
  2. Why Are These Products Being Recalled?
  3. What Are the Signs of Aflatoxin Poisoning?
  4. What Should Pet Owners and Retailers Do?
  5. Pet Food and Foodborne Illness

On December 30th, Indiana-based Midwestern Pet Foods, Inc. announced a recall for several lots of its SPORTMiX® pet foods, which encompassed a number of products.

Which Products Are Being Recalled?

As of December 30th, Midwestern Pet Foods has recalled nine total lots of pet food:

  • 50-pound bags of SPORTMiX® Energy Plus dog food
    • Lot Code: Exp 03/02/22/05/L2
    • Lot Code: Exp 03/02/22/05/L3
    • Lot Code: Exp 03/03/22/05/L2
  • 44-pound bags of SPORTMiX® Energy Plus dog food
    • Lot Code: Exp 03/02/22/05/L3
  • 50-pound bags of SPORTMiX® Premium High Energy dog food
    • Lot Code: Exp 03/03/22/05/L3
  • 44-pound bags of SPORTMiX® Premium High Energy dog food
    • Lot Code: Exp 03/03/22/05/L3
  • 31-pound bags of SPORTMiX® Original Cat food
    • Lot Code: Exp 03/03/22/05/L3
  • 15-pound bags of SPORTMiX® Original Cat food
    • Lot Code: Exp 03/03/22/05/L2
    • Lot Code: Exp 03/03/22/05/L3

Midwestern Pet Foods is working with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Missouri Department of Agriculture to assess whether any additional products may have been contaminated. Consumers can expect updates as the investigation continues.

Why Are These Products Being Recalled?

Midwestern Pet Foods announced the recall after tests revealed that the above products contained amounts of aflatoxin “that exceed the acceptable limits.” A by-product of Aspergillus flavus (a type of mold), aflatoxin is dangerous and even deadly in large doses.

This investigation came after an FDA report that at least 28 dogs have died and eight have gotten sick after ingesting the contaminated food. There are no confirmed reports of pet owners or cats being affected by any of the contaminated products.

What Are the Signs of Aflatoxin Poisoning?

According to the FDA, pets are more susceptible to aflatoxin poisoning than humans because of the lack of variation in their diets. While a single bowl of contaminated food may not cause any harm, eating that same food for every meal can cause the toxin to accumulate within a pet’s body. Pets suffering from aflatoxin poisoning may exhibit the following symptoms:

  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Yellowish skin, gums, or eyes

What Should Pet Owners and Retailers Do?

Pet owners should call their veterinarian immediately if their pet shows signs of potential aflatoxin poisoning. The FDA notes, however, that liver damage in pets does not always manifest itself in visible symptoms. Any pet owner who fed their dog or cat any quantity of the contaminated products should contact their vet out of an abundance of caution. Pet owners should also clean and sanitize any surfaces and serving utensils that came in contact with the affected foods.

The FDA encourages consumers to dispose of the recalled products in such a way as to make them inaccessible to other people or animals. In addition to removing the products from their shelves, retailers with the means to do so are advised to contact anyone who purchased them.

Pet Food and Foodborne Illness

While aflatoxin poisoning is uncommon in humans, contaminated food is often just as dangerous to pet parents as it is to pets. Check out this guide to pet food safety to keep yourself and your four-legged pals healthy.

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