On Monday, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) updated its alert for the recall on Midwestern Pet Foods, Inc. products, which it says could contain “potentially fatal levels of aflatoxins.” The updated alert includes more products after at least 70 pets have reportedly died after eating the Sportmix pet foods and an additional 80 pets have gotten sick, although not all of the numbers have been confirmed as aflatoxin poisoning.
The company also updated its recall to include other products manufactured at its Oklahoma plant that contain corn. The products include multiple cat and dog food products which were distributed nationwide both online and through stores. The updated recall applies to adding 19 additional items and sizes to the list of Sportmix dog and cat food, including Pro Pac food, Splash Fat Cat, Nunn Better Maintenance, and various Sportmix options such as Premium Puppy, High Energy, Stamina, and Bite Size.
In a statement released by Midwestern Pet Foods on Tuesday, the company said that it “has been committed to ensuring that our products are safe and nutritious for nearly 100 years. Until recently, throughout our long history, we’ve never had a product recall. Though still limited in scope, in cooperation with the FDA and out of an abundance of caution, we have expanded the voluntary recall … We continue a thorough review of our facilities and practices in full cooperation with FDA in an effort to better serve our customers and pet parents who put their trust in us.”
The initial recall occurred in late December, and reported that 28 dogs had died and eight dogs had gotten sick after eating the Sportmix Pet food. The company explained that the recall applies only to products manufactured at the Oklahoma facility, which will show the identifier “REG. OK-PFO-0005,” a date code of 05, and an expiration date before July 9, 2022.
The FDA explained that the counts of deaths and illnesses are approximate and that more pets could be affected, some reports of illnesses are only given to Midwestern Pet Foods and were not a part of the FDA’s count. The FDA encouraged retailers to contact customers who purchased the products from them and alert them of the recall.
The initial recall stated that aflatoxin “is a toxin produced by the mold Aspergillus flavus, which can grow on corn and other grains used as ingredients in pet food.” At high levels, aflatoxin can cause illness and death in pets.” The aflatoxins reportedly could be present in the food even if there is no visible mold. Aflatoxin poisoning causes sluggishness, loss of appetite, vomiting, jaundice, or diarrhea in dogs. Even pets who have not had symptoms of aflatoxin poisoning could have suffered liver damage, according to the FDA, and pet owners were encouraged to talk to their veterinarians.
At this point, there have been no reports of any human illness due to the aflatoxin, but the FDA and Midwestern Pet Foods each urged pet owners to be cautious with the pet foods and dispose of it immediately.