More than two dozen dogs have died after ingesting specific lots of Sportmix pet food that contained potentially deadly levels of aflatoxin, the Food and Drug Administration said this week.
Midwestern Pet Foods, the Indiana-based maker of Sportmix, has issued a voluntary recall of specific types of dog and cat food that were found to contain high levels of aflatoxin, a toxin produced by the Aspergillus flavus mold that at high levels can cause sickness and potentially death in pets. While the FDA said that no incidents involving humans or cats had yet been reported, eight dogs were sickened and at least 28 have died after ingesting some types of Sportmix pet food.
The FDA said that there isn’t any evidence to support the notion that pet owners who handle the toxic food are at risk of becoming ill—pets are sickened by eating the food over time—but the agency added they should normally be mindful of washing their hands after handling pet food anyway.
As of this week, four lots of Sportmix dog food and two additional lots of Sportmix cat food had been recalled. The codes for pet food found to be toxic are as follows:
- 50# Sportmix Energy Plus Lots Exp 03/02/22/05/L2, 03/02/22/05/L3, 03/03/22/05/L2
- 44# Sportmix Energy Plus Lots 03/02/22/05/L3
- 50# Sportmix Premium High Energy Lots 03/03/22/05/L3
- 44# Sportmix Premium High Energy Lots 03/03/22/05/L3
- 31# Sportmix Original Cat Lots 03/03/22/05/L3
- 15# Sportmix Original Cat Lots 03/03/22/05/L2, 03/03/22/05/L3
The FDA said that the situation is “developing,” adding that it’s continuing its activity at the site where the food was manufactured.
Symptoms of aflatoxin poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, loss of interest in food, or yellowing of the eyes, gums, or skin as a result of jaundice, though the agency said it’s possible that pets could suffer liver damage without displaying any unusual symptoms. The agency is advising anyone who suspects their pet has been exposed to the toxic food to contact their veterinarian ASAP and to report suspected cases to the FDA through its complaint portal.
Retailers are being advised to pull the specific food lots from shelves, and pet owners are being asked to remove any remaining lot-specific products they may have in their homes in a manner that will prevent access by pets, kids, or wildlife. Additionally, any pet food bowls and storage containers should be cleaned and sanitized thoroughly.