FDA issues pet food recall after at least 28 dogs die

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is issuing a recall of certain types of Sportmix pet foods, which have been linked to the deaths of at least 28 dogs that ate the recalled product. At least eight other dogs are ill, according to an FDA alert.The Sportmix pet food products, manufactured by Midwestern Pet Food Inc., "may contain potentially fatal levels of aflatoxin," a toxin produced by a type of mold that can grow on corn and other grains used in pet foods. Upon testing the products, the Missouri Department of Agriculture found "very high levels of aflatoxin," which can cause illness and death in pets, per the FDA. The affected products were distributed to stores and online retailers nationwide.
The recall affects nine total lots of Sportmix products, but this list is subject to change as the FDA and the Missouri Department of Agriculture continue to work with the manufacturer to make sure no other products were affected. To determine whether you have an affected product, match its lot code, a three-line code on the back of the bag, to the list below.The pet foods and corresponding lot codes being recalled by Midwestern Pet Food Inc. as of Dec. 30 are:
  • Sportmix Energy Plus, 50-pound bag
    • EXP 03/02/22/05/L2
    • EXP 03/02/22/05/L3
    • EXP 03/03/22/05/L2
  • Sportmix Energy Plus, 44-pound bag
    • EXP 03/02/22/05/L3
    • Sportmix Premium High Energy, 50-pound bag
    • EXP 03/03/22/05/L3
  • Sportmix Premium High Energy, 44-pound bag
    • EXP 03/03/22/05/L3
    • Sportmix Original Cat, 31-pound bag
    • EXP 03/03/22/05/L3
  • Sportmix Original Cat, 15-pound bag
    • EXP 03/03/22/05/L2
    • EXP 03/03/22/05/L3

Retailers who have sold affected Sportmix products should not sell or donate it and instead contact the manufacturer for further instructions. The FDA recommends retailers contact consumers who have purchased the recalled pet food to alert them, if possible.

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Midwestern Pet Food Inc. said in a statement to TODAY that it is issuing a voluntary recall and confirmed that so far there have been no reports of illnesses in cats or humans.

What is aflatoxin poisoning?

Animals who consume aflatoxin may experience symptoms including sluggishness; loss of appetite; vomiting; a yellowish tint to the eyes, gums or skin due to liver damage, known as jaundice; and diarrhea, according to the FDA. In some cases, it's possible for animals to experience liver damage without showing any symptoms.

If your pet has eaten one of the above products, especially if it shows signs of aflatoxin poisoning, contact your veterinarian immediately and provide a full diet history, Midwestern Pet Food Inc. advised.

The FDA also recommends that pet owners throw away any recalled products in an area where children and animals, including wildlife, cannot get to it, even if there's no visible mold. While the FDA has said there's no evidence to suggest that pet owners who touch products with aflatoxin are at risk of illness, owners should always wash their hands after serving pet food.

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

To continue to track the spread of affected products, illnesses in pets should be reported to the FDA. Veterinarians can submit case reports online through the agency's Safety Reporting Portal or by phone by calling state-specific FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinators. Owners can report suspected illnesses using those same sites, but should work with a veterinarian so that detailed medical records can be included in the report.

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For more information, visit the FDA's guide to reporting a pet food complaint.