The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is alerting pet owners about high levels of aflatoxin in some pet foods after 28 dogs reportedly died from the toxin and eight others became sick. According to a CNN news report, the pet food containing the toxin has been identified as certain Sportmix products manufactured by Midwestern Pet Foods. The company has voluntarily recalled these products.
The FDA and the Missouri Department of Agriculture are working with the manufacturer to determine if more of these products contain high levels of the toxin. The investigation into this matter is ongoing and the scope of the recall may be widened as new information comes in, FDA officials said.
Why is This Toxin Dangerous?
According to the National Cancer Institute, aflatoxins are a family of toxins produced by some fungi that are found on crops such as corn, peanuts, cottonseed and tree nuts. The main fungi that produce these toxins are abundant in warm and humid regions of the world. Aflatoxin-producing fungi could contaminate crops in the field, at harvest or even during storage. Aflatoxin could grow on grans used as ingredients in pet foods.
When high levels of this toxin are consumed, pets could become sick or even die. According to the FDA, pets poisoned by aflatoxin show symptoms such as sluggishness, jaundice, loss of appetite, vomiting or diarrhea. The FDA recommends that owners of pets who may have consumed these products call their veterinarian because it has the potential to cause long-term liver damage.
While there is no evidence so far that these toxins affect humans, officials are recommending that pet owners always wash their hands after handling pet food. If you suspect that your pet has become ill after consuming these recalled products, you may report it to the FDA electronically through its safety-reporting portal or by calling the state consumer complaint coordinator.
If you are a pet owner whose pet has become ill or has died, you may be able to seek compensation for your tremendous losses by filing a product liability lawsuit. In such cases, consumers who have been affected may also be able to band together and file a consumer class action lawsuit seeking compensation. An experienced California class action lawyer who focuses on product defect cases may be able to provide more information to consumers who wish to pursue their legal rights.