Pet food brand recalled for potentially fatal aflatoxin levels

January 4, 2021
dvm360 Staff

At least 28 deaths and 8 cases of illness have been reported in dogs that ate the recalled products.

Editor's Note: This recall has been expanded. Please visit this link to learn more.

On December 30, Midwestern Pet Foods, Inc. announced a recall of several lots of Sportmix brand pet food products due to potentially fatal aflatoxin levels. The announcement followed multiple consumer reports to the FDA regarding illnesses and deaths among dogs eating the food. To date, 28 dogs have died and 8 have become ill after consuming the recalled Sportmix products, according to the FDA. No cat or human illnesses have been reported, although 2 cat food brands are among the recalled products.

Aflatoxin is a naturally occurring mold by-product from the growth of Aspergillus flavus, which can grow on corn and other grains used as ingredients in pet food. Pets are highly susceptible to aflatoxin poisoning because they typically eat the same food daily over extended periods.

Ingestion of the recalled pet foods may cause sluggishness, loss of appetite, vomiting, jaundice, diarrhea and, in severe cases, death. Some pets may suffer liver damage but have no clinical signs.

Below is a full description of the affected products. Lot code information may be found on the back of the bag as a 3-line code, as follows:

  • Sportmix Energy Plus, 50-lb bag: Exp03/02/22/05/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/, Exp 03/03/22/05/L3

Pet owners should immediately stop feeding their pets the affected foods and consult their veterinarian if their pet displayed any of the signs mentioned above. Additionally, FDA advises pet owners to sanitize food bowls, scoops, and storage containers using bleach, rinsing well with water, and drying thoroughly.

Retailers should not sell or donate the affected products and should contact the manufacturer for further steps. If possible, retailers should contact consumers who have purchased the recalled products. Midwestern Pet Foods Consumer Affairs can be reached at 800-474-4163, ext. 455 from 7 am to 4 pm CT, Monday through Friday, or by email at info@midwesternpetfoods.com.

Veterinarians and pet owners who suspect aflatoxin poisoning should submit reports electronically through the FDA Safety Reporting Portal or by calling their state’s FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinators.

The FDA and Missouri Department of Agriculture are working with Midwestern Pet Foods to determine whether any additional products contain high levels of aflatoxin. The investigation is ongoing and new information will be released as it becomes available.