Check your pet food labels: FDA links deaths to recalled food

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The Takeout 19 August, 2021 - 12:58pm 20 views

What dog food does Midwestern Pet Foods make?

9634 Hedden Rd. Earthborn Holistic from Midwestern Pet Foods Inc. is a dog food line combining proteins, fruits, vegetables, vitamins and minerals selected to support immunity and wellness. Five formulas are available: Adult Vantage, Ocean Fusion, Puppy Vantage, Small Breed and Primitive Natural. petfoodindustry.comMidwestern Pet Foods Inc. Earthborn Holistic dog food

FDA Issues Warning to Pet Company Linked to Contaminated Pet Food and Over 130 Dog Deaths

CBS News 18 August, 2021 - 04:44pm

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning letter to Midwestern Pet Foods, Inc. "after inspections of its manufacturing sites revealed apparent violations of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act that were shared across the sites," the FDA announced in a release on Tuesday.

According to the warning letter addressed to Jeffrey J. Nunn, Midwestern's CEO and president, the FDA conducted inspections of four of Midwestern's manufacturing plants, starting with the inspection of Midwestern's Chickasha, Oklahoma plant.

This initial inspection "was triggered by reports of illness or death in dogs that had eaten SPORTMiX brand dry dog food manufactured by Midwestern" and Midwestern's voluntary December recall of select lots of SPORTMiX cat and dog food due to tests indicating "levels of aflatoxin that exceed acceptable limits," per the FDA's release.

Independent of the FDA, the Missouri Department of Agriculture collected and analyzed samples of Midwestern's "SPORTMiX High Energy Dog Food" from Midwestern's Oklahoma facility for the presence of mycotoxins in December, after receiving complaints from pet owners, according to the FDA's warning letter.

The FDA's warning letter added that the Missouri Department of Agriculture identified elevated aflatoxin levels, a byproduct of mold that can cause mycotoxin poisoning, in the samples. Additional analysis conducted by the FDA during their inspection of the Oklahoma plant found additional SPORTMiX branded products with elevated aflatoxin levels.

"These pet food products manufactured in your OK facility are adulterated in that they bear or contain a poisonous or deleterious substance which renders them injurious to health," the FDA wrote in their warning letter about the inspection.

Midwestern Pet Foods, Inc. has not yet responded to PEOPLE's request for comment on the FDA's warning letter and findings.

In January, Midwestern voluntarily expanded their December recall to include more SPORTMiX products and products from their Splash Fat Cat, Pro Pac, and Nunn brands due to potential high aflatoxin levels.

"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," according to the FDA.

In pets, signs of aflatoxin/mycotoxin poisoning include sluggishness, loss of appetite, vomiting, jaundice (yellowish tint to the eyes, gums, or skin due to liver damage), and/or diarrhea. Pets showing these symptoms should visit a vet immediately.

Following their inspection of Midwestern's Oklahoma plant, the FDA inspected three more of the company's manufacturing facilities and found "evidence of significant violations," according to the FDA's warning letter.

In March, in the midst of the FDA's additional inspections, Midwestern issued another recall, this time for several brands of pet food manufactured at their Monmouth, Illinois plant, after pet food samples from the plant tested positive for salmonella.

The FDA, which inspected the Illinois plant at the center of the March recall, shared in their release that "Midwestern's food safety program appears inadequate to significantly minimize or prevent salmonella in its pet food. None of the recalled products should be available to consumers to purchase."

Additionally, the release added that "the FDA is aware of more than 130 pet deaths and more than 220 pet illnesses that may be linked to eating brands of pet food manufactured by Midwestern. Not all of these cases have been confirmed as aflatoxin poisoning through laboratory testing or veterinary record review. This count is approximate and may not reflect the total number of pets affected."

These events led the FDA to send their warning letter to Midwestern on August 9. The letter details the violations the FDA found during their inspections of Midwestern's plants and requests a written response from Midwestern within 15 business days that includes the specific steps the company plans to take to correct their violations.

"Failure to adequately address any violations promptly may result in legal action, including product seizure and/or injunction," the FDA stated in their release.

"The FDA is dedicated to taking all steps possible to help pet owners have confidence that the food they buy for their animal companions is safe and wholesome," Steven M. Solomon, the director of the FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine, said in the release.

"It is imperative that manufacturers and distributors of pet foods understand their responsibility to comply with all requirements of federal law and FDA regulations and, when applicable, to implement a robust hazard analysis and risk-based preventive controls program," Solomon continued. "We'll continue to hold companies accountable and protect animal health as a core element of the FDA's public health mission."

Inspections "revealed evidence of significant violations" of regulations to keep pet food safe, officials said.

The Food and Drug Administration has issued a warning letter to Midwestern Pet Foods after inspections of its manufacturing facilities revealed violations that may be linked to the deaths of more than 130 pets and the illness of at least 220 others.

The investigation has been ongoing for months.

The FDA has issued a statement confirming that 130 pets have died and hundreds more have fallen ill after eating food produced by Midwestern Pet Foods.

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