Midwestern Pet Foods expanded its recall of certain pet food products due to potentially fatal levels of aflatoxin after more than 70 dogs have died and 80 were sickened from consuming the product, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced in an updated notice on Monday.
The company is now recalling all pet food products containing corn that were manufactured in the company’s Oklahoma manufacturing plant and have an expiration date on or before July 9, 2022. This includes 19 products that “may still be on store shelves, online, or in pet owners’ homes,” according to the FDA.
Aflatoxin is a mold byproduct that has the ability to grow on corn and other grains, which are commonly used as ingredients in pet food. At very high levels, “aflatoxins can cause illness and death in pets,” the FDA said.
Midwestern initially issued a recall of nine different lots of Sportmix dry cat and dog food last month after the Missouri Department of Agriculture discovered “very high levels” of the toxin in multiple samples at the company’s Oklahoma plant.
The voluntary recall was initiated after the FDA received reports that at least 28 dogs died and eight were ill after consuming the recalled pet food.
However, not all of these cases have been officially confirmed as aflatoxin poisoning, the FDA said.
Still, the agency and Midwestern Pet Foods are urging pet owners to safely discard the products due to toxin, which can be present even if the mold isn’t visible, according to the agency.
Pets that have been poisoned by the toxin may seem sluggish and have a loss of appetite. They may also experience vomiting, jaundice (yellowish tint to the eyes or gums due to liver damage) and/or diarrhea, the FDA said. In some cases, pets may also suffer from liver damage without even showing symptoms.
Unlike people, pets are “highly susceptible” to aflatoxin poisoning because they generally eat the same food, according to the FDA.
“If a pet’s food contains aflatoxin, the toxin could accumulate in the pet’s system as they continue to eat the same food,” the FDA said.
Midwestern is also urging customers to wash and sanitize any pet bowls and areas where the food was stored. The company is also encouraging retailers to contact customers who have purchased the affected products.
Pet owners should also consult with their veterinarians regarding any concerns, especially if their pet is showing symptoms, the FDA said.
To date, the FDA says there is no evidence to show that handling the food poses any risk to pet owners, although they are encouraged to wash their hands after contact.
The investigation into the matter is ongoing. The FDA will continue to work with veterinarians and state partners to follow up on suspected cases of aflatoxin poisoning and plans to conduct follow-up activities at the manufacturing facility.
The agency will update the public when more information becomes available.
Midwestern Pet Foods did not immediately respond to FOX Business’ request for comment.