Three Brands Of Pet Food Products Recalled After 28 Dogs Die From Aflatoxin Poisoning

The Midwestern Pet Foods company has recalled three brands of Sportmix products for dogs and cats after it caused the deaths of 28 dogs and made eight more ill.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration maintains that the products made by Midwestern Pet Foods may contain potentially fatal levels of aflatoxin, the byproduct of a mold that grows on corn and other grains used in pet food

The food was tested by the Missouri Department of Agriculture, which found “very high levels” of aflatoxin, the FDA said.

What is recalled?

The nine lots of Sportmix products recalled by Midwestern Pet Foods bear a lot code that begins with the letters “Exp” on the back of the bag.

An example of the printed codes on a bag of the recalled food.

Source: U.S. Food and Drug Administration
An example of the printed codes on a bag of the recalled food.

As of Dec. 30, the recalled include:

Sportmix Energy Plus

50 lb. bag:

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

44 lb. bag:

  • Exp 03/02/22/05/L3

Sportmix Premium High Energy

50 lb. bag: 

  • Exp 03/03/22/05/L3

44 lb. bag:

  • Exp 03/03/22/05/L3

Sportmix Original Cat

31 lb. bag:

  • Exp 03/03/22/05/L3

15 lb. bag:

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

The products were distributed to online retailers and stores nationwide, the FDA said. The FDA and Missouri Department of Agriculture are working to determine if any others need to be recalled.

Symptoms of aflatoxin poisoning

Signs of aflatoxin poisoning include:

  • sluggishness
  • loss of appetite
  • vomiting
  • jaundice
  • diarrhea

“Pets are highly susceptible to aflatoxin poisoning because, unlike people, who eat a varied diet, pets generally eat the same food continuously over extended periods of time,” the FDA reports. “If a pet’s food contains aflatoxin, the toxin could accumulate in the pet’s system as they continue to eat the same food.”

Severe aflatoxin poisoning can cause long-term liver issues and/or death.

“Some pets suffer liver damage without showing any symptoms,” the FDA report continues.

What to do

If your pet has symptoms of aflatoxin poisoning or has been eating the recalled products, contact a veterinarian immediately.

There is no evidence to suggest that pet owners who handle products containing aflatoxin are at risk of aflatoxin poisoning. However, pet owners should always wash their hands after handling pet food.

Pet owners who have the recalled products should contact the company for further instructions or throw the products out in a way that children, pets and wildlife cannot access them.

You can report suspected illness to the FDA electronically through the FDA’s Safety Reporting Portal or by calling your state’s FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinators.

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Matthew Russell is a West Michigan native and with a background in journalism, data analysis, cartography and design thinking. He likes to learn new things and solve old problems whenever possible, and enjoys bicycling, spending time with his daughters, and coffee.
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