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Pet food recall: FDA investigating unsafe levels of alfatoxins

On September 2, Sunshine Mills issued a voluntary recall of five lots of dog food due high levels of aflatoxin, a naturally occurring mold by-product and can be harmful to pets if consumed in significant quantities.

On October 8, the company expanded the recall to include additional 25 corn-based pet food products produced between April 3, 2020 and April 5, 2020 from a single load of corn with elevated levels of aflatoxin.

Aflatoxins are poisonous substances produced by certain kinds of fungi that are found naturally the world over; they can contaminate food crops such as corn which are used in the manufacture of pet food. As well as being dangerous to pets, they pose a serious health threat to humans and livestock.

On Friday, October 9, the FDA announced it was investigating the situation in cooperation with the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF); Sunshine issued the initial recall after the LDAF discovered that a single 4-pound bag of dog food contained elevated levels of aflatoxin during routine sampling.

  • Symptoms of aflatoxin poisoning in pets include sluggishness, loss of appetite, vomiting, jaundice, and diarrhea. In severe cases, aflatoxin toxicity can be fatal.
  • In some cases, pets may suffer liver damage but not show any symptoms.
  • Veterinarians who suspect aflatoxin poisoning in their patients should report the cases through the FDA’s Safety Reporting Portalor by calling their local FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinators.

No illnesses have been reported in association with these products to date.

An estimated 25% or more of the world’s food crops is destroyed annually due to aflatoxin contamination.

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