Midwestern Pet Foods, Inc. may have exported the recalled product to one

consignee, respectively, in each of the following countries: Bahrain,Barbados, Chile, Costa Rica, Curacao, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Ecuador, ElSalvador, French Polynesia, Ghana, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong, Iceland,Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Korea, Kuwait, Lebanon, Lithuania, Malaysia,Mexico, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Singapore, Taiwan, Trinidad,Ukraine, UAE, Uruguay, and Vietnam.

On January 25, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced a list ofcountries to which pet food containing dangerous levels of aflatoxin may havebeen exported by Midwestern Pet Foods. As of January 21, 2021, FDA is aware ofmore than 110 pets that have died and more than 210 pets that are sick aftereating Sportmix pet food.

Midwestern Pet Foods, Inc. may have exported the recalled product to oneconsignee, respectively, in each of the following countries: Bahrain,Barbados, Chile, Costa Rica, Curacao, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Ecuador, ElSalvador, French Polynesia, Ghana, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong, Iceland,Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Korea, Kuwait, Lebanon, Lithuania, Malaysia,Mexico, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Singapore, Taiwan, Trinidad,Ukraine, UAE, Uruguay, and Vietnam.

Toxicologist, vet catch dog food toxin after early deaths

On the dry plains of the American West, Aspergillus fungus found the rightconditions for colonizing corn kernels weakened by drought or improperlystored. That fungus released a poison, or mycotoxin, into the grain. That cornwas used to produce contaminated pet food.

Shortly before Christmas, dogs began dying with symptoms of liver disease at asouthern Missouri dog breeding kennel. Veterinarian David Sikes sent dog foodsamples to his former professor Tim Evans, animal toxicologist at theUniversity of Missouri. The dog food, Sportmix High Energy brand, testedpositive for high levels of aflatoxin, a mycotoxin found in drought-stressedcorn or harvests stored in humid conditions. Sikes recognition of symptoms andEvans’ analysis may have caught the aflatoxin-contaminated dog food early,potentially saving lives.

“Aflatoxins are heavily regulated,” Evans said. “Generally, there is anappropriate representative testing occurring before incorporation of goods,and in many instances in the finished product. Somehow, those policies wereeither ineffective or not followed. I know no more details than that.”

On Dec. 30, the product’s maker Midwestern Pet Foods recalled the dogfoods, which had already been distributed in both brick-and-mortar ande-commerce channels. By January 11, more than 70 pets had died after eatingthe product, according to reports submitted to the U.S. Food and DrugAdministration (FDA). On that date, Midwestern expanded the recall toinclude all products meeting these three criteria: containing corn,manufactured in Oklahoma and with an expiration date on or before July 9,2022.

That location and date may have been the key to this deadly recall.

“Aflatoxins and other fungal toxins are commonly produced under particularweather conditions,” Evans told Petfood Industry. “Aflatoxins in particularare produced under drought conditions. Under drought conditions the fungusgains access to the corn. Then the hot and moist conditions that result intoxin production can occur in the field, or can occur in storage conditions.”

Oklahoma’s dry environment may have contributed to the risk. Portions ofwestern and southern Oklahoma ranged from abnormally dry to extreme drought in2020, according to the University of Nebraska U.S. Drought Monitor.

“All of the contaminated products came out of Midwestern Pet Foods’ plant inChickasaw, Oklahoma,” Evans said. “Oklahoma is very frequently under droughtconditions. It’s not unexpected that there might be contamination.”

Ultimately, the cause of the aflatoxin contamination remains unknown.

Midwestern Pet Foods has no previous recalls listed on the FDA orPetfood Industry recalls websites. The company was founded in 1926 andremains family-owned.

While the situation is tragic for pet owners, the company and its employeeswill feel negative effects too, amplified by overarching economic woes, Evanssaid. During the stress of the pandemic and political unrest in the U.S., hesaid that pet food companies, government regulators, diagnostics laboratoriesand others need to work together and remain vigilant to other risks.

Sportmix High Energy pet food recall grows

Modified from a press release:

By January 11, more than 70 pets had died after eating Sportmix pet foods,according to reports submitted to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration(FDA). On that date, the product’s maker Midwestern Pet Foods expanded therecall for excess levels of aflatoxin to include all products meeting thesethree criteria:

  • contain corn
  • manufactured in Oklahoma
  • expiration date on or before July 9, 2022

The recall of Sportmix High Energy dog food expanded to more than 1,000 lots.Midwestern Pet Foods initially recalled the product after tests indicatedexcessive levels of aflatoxin. Laboratory analysis and veterinary recordsreviews haven’t confirmed that all the pets died of aflatoxin poisoning. TheFDA count is approximate and may not reflect the total number of petsaffected. Midwestern Pet Foods is based in Evansville, Indiana, USA.

Sportmix High Energy dog food recall lists

The list of recalled dry pet food products announced by Midwestern Pet Foods,Inc. on December 30, 2020 is:

  • Sportmix Energy Plus, 50 lb. bag
    • Exp 03/02/22/05/L2
    • Exp 03/02/22/05/L3
    • Exp 03/03/22/05/L2
  • Sportmix Energy Plus, 44 lb. bag
    • Exp 03/02/22/05/L3
  • Sportmix Premium High Energy, 50 lb. bag
    • Exp 03/03/22/05/L3
  • Sportmix Premium High Energy, 44 lb. bag
    • Exp 03/03/22/05/L3
  • Sportmix Original Cat, 31 lb. bag
    • Exp 03/03/22/05/L3
  • Sportmix Original Cat, 15 lb. bag
    • Exp 03/03/22/05/L2
    • Exp 03/03/22/05/L3

On January 11, 2021, Midwestern Pet Foods, Inc. expanded the recall to includeall pet food products containing corn that were made in the firm’s Oklahomaplant and that expire on or before July 9, 2022. More than 1,000 lot codes areaffected so they are not listed individually.

Lots of the following pet food products have been recalled if the date/lotcode includes an expiration date on or before “07/09/22” and includes “05” inthe date/lot code, which identifies products made in the Oklahoma plant:

  • Pro Pac Adult Mini Chunk, 40 lb. bag
  • Pro Pac Performance Puppy, 40 lb. bag
  • Splash Fat Cat 32%, 50 lb. bag
  • Nunn Better Maintenance, 50 lb. bag
  • Sportmix Original Cat, 15 lb. bag
  • Sportmix Original Cat, 31 lb. bag
  • Sportmix Maintenance, 44 lb. bag
  • Sportmix Maintenance, 50 lb. bag
  • Sportmix High Protein, 50 lb. bag
  • Sportmix Energy Plus, 44 lb. bag
  • Sportmix Energy Plus, 50 lb. bag
  • Sportmix Stamina, 44 lb. bag
  • Sportmix Stamina, 50 lb. bag
  • Sportmix Bite Size, 40 lb. bag
  • Sportmix Bite Size, 44 lb. bag
  • Sportmix High Energy, 44 lb. bag
  • Sportmix High Energy, 50 lb. bag
  • Sportmix Premium Puppy, 16.5 lb. bag
  • Sportmix Premium Puppy, 33 lb. bag

Lot code information may be found on the back of bag and will appear in athree-line code, with the top line in format “EXP 03/03/22/ 05/L#/B###/HH:MM”

FDA investigation into recalled pet foods

On December 30, 2020, Midwestern Pet Foods, Inc. announced a recall ofcertain lots of Sportmix pet food products after FDA was alerted about reportsof at least 28 dogs that died and eight that were ill after consuming therecalled Sportmix pet food. Multiple product samples were tested by theMissouri Department of Agriculture and found to contain very high levels ofaflatoxins. Aflatoxins are toxins produced by the mold Aspergillus flavusand, at high levels, can cause illness and death in pets. The toxins can bepresent even if there is no visible mold.

On January 11, 2021, Midwestern Pet Foods, Inc. expanded the recall to includeall pet foods containing corn and manufactured in the company’s Oklahomaplant, and having an expiration date on or before July 9, 2022. As of January11, FDA has been made aware of more than 70 dogs that have died and more than80 that are sick after eating Sportmix pet food. Not all of these cases havebeen officially confirmed as aflatoxin poisoning through laboratory testing orveterinary record review. This count is approximate and may not reflect thetotal number of pets affected. Reports submitted only to the pet foodmanufacturer are not shared with FDA and are not a part of this count. FDAcontinues to work with veterinarians and state partners to follow up onsuspected cases of aflatoxin poisoning.

FDA issued an advisory to notify the public about the potentially fatal levelsof aflatoxins in Midwestern pet food products that may still be on storeshelves, online, or in pet owners’ homes.

FDA is conducting follow-up activities at the manufacturing facility.

Aflatoxin and other mycotoxin risks in pet food

From previous Petfood Industry coverage: Measuring up mycotoxin risks inpetfood

The companion animal diet presents a unique and well-documented set of risksto our beloved best friends. Mycotoxins are secondary metabolites synthesizedby fungal molds as signature chemicals and “calling cards” deposited intocereals and other crop commodities. A relatively narrow range of fungiproduces hundreds of mycotoxins, each with its own unique chemistry andcorresponding impact on animal physiology and health.

Mycotoxins are highly stable and resistant to extreme physical conditionsincluding ultra-high temperatures and rapid drying regimes used in commodityprocessing and the manufacture of petfood. The toxic effects of mycotoxinsinclude: nephrotoxicity, hepatotoxicity, estrogenic imbalance, reproductivedisorders, immunosuppression, genotoxicity and carcinogenicity.

Identifying mycotoxin-producing fungi is the relatively easy part, because nomore than half a dozen genera are responsible for mycotoxin production-including Aspergillus and Penicillium (blue/green molds), Fusarium andClaviceps. Pinning down the culprit chemicals we call mycotoxins is muchless easy. Hundreds of mycotoxins exist, each with its own unique chemistryand signature syndrome for companion animals, livestock and humans.

Researchers continue to obtain data showing the occurrence and impact ofmycotoxins that appear in most cereal grain commodities which are commoningredients in dry pet foods. Aflatoxins have received more attention than anyother group of mycotoxins, due to their acute toxicity with high mortality,alongside liver damage and carcinogenicity. Aflatoxin is known to cause lossof appetite, listlessness and vomiting in both dogs and cats.

Mycotoxins are intrinsically stealthy in both presence and action. Synergisticeffects occur when different mycotoxins occur at the same time in rawmaterials and manufactured food or feed. The consequence of chemical andbiological interaction between two or more mycotoxins invariably outweighs theadditive effects of the individual chemicals. The use of one mycotoxin as amarker to flag the probable presence of another is the logical move.

“Masked” mycotoxins mean hidden challenges for petfood manufacturers-eventhough analysis may signal the all clear. These mycotoxins have been modifiedby chemical reaction and become bound to various natural ingredients in rawmaterials such as glycosides, glucuronides, esters of fatty acids and specificproteins. These mycotoxins, while not yet chemically active, may not be pickedup during analysis. They may then be released by the natural digestive processof the companion animal that consumes them and suddenly become toxic.

One strategy for mitigating the masked mycotoxin problem is to test as far upthe raw materials stream as possible. This means looking closely at harvestedgrain before it goes into storage or processing and ensuring the correctstorage and transit conditions are met from farm to finished productmanufacturing.

Once present, mycotoxins are virtually impossible to remove or destroy.Monitoring for prevention and avoidance are key. Mycotoxin managementessentially comes down to use of high-efficacy testing technology andequipment.

Source: PetfoodIndustry news

Image: Bigstock

Previous Human activity forces animals to move 70% further to survive

Next Snakes evolve a magnetic way to be resistant to venom

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.