The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced a recall of several varieties of Sportmix pet food after at least 28 dogs have died and another eight fell ill.
Midwestern Pet Foods on Dec. 30 issued a voluntary recall of nine lots of its Sportmix pet food after testing by the Missouri Department of Agriculture found they contained very high levels of aflatoxin, which is produced by a mold that can grow on corn and grain that is used to make pet food.
In high enough amounts, aflatoxin can cause illness and deaths in pets and the substance can be present even if there is no visible mold. Pets are highly susceptible as they typically consume the same food over an extended period of time and the toxin can build up in their systems to potentially fatal levels.
“Pets with aflatoxin poisoning may experience symptoms such as sluggishness, loss of appetite, vomiting, jaundice (yellowish tint to the eyes, gums or skin due to liver damage), and/or diarrhea,” the FDA said and advised pet owners who suspect their pets have symptoms of aflatoxin poisoning to contact a veterinarian.
The FDA said that case counts could rise as more information becomes available.
No cat or human illnesses have been reported in connection with the pet food, the FDA said, but urged people handling pet food to always wash their hands afterwards as a precautionary good practice.
Retailers who carry the affected products should not sell or donate the pet food but should instead contact Midwestern Pet Foods for further instructions. They are also advised to contact consumers who have purchased the recalled products, the FDA said.
The list of Sportmix dry pet food products covered by the recall is as follows:
- Sportmix Energy Plus, 50 lb. bag
- Sportmix Energy Plus, 44 lb. bag
- Sportmix Premium High Energy, 50 lb. bag
- Sportmix Premium High Energy, 44 lb. bag
- Sportmix Original Cat, 31 lb. bag
- Sportmix Original Cat, 15 lb. bag
The affected products were distributed nationwide to both online retailers and physical stores.