A pet food company whose products have been implicated in the deaths of 130 dogs has received a stern warning from the FDA over alleged inadequacies in its safety procedures.
Midwestern Pet Foods has had to issue two recalls of its dry dog and cat food after aflatoxin contamination was discovered. Aflatoxin is poison, produced by mold, that can attack an animal’s liver. The contaminated food, sold under Sportmix and other brand names, may have killed 130 dogs and sickened 220 more, the FDA says.
The FDA sent a warning letter to Midwestern Pet Foods on Aug. 9 detailing lapses in safety procedures at its plants. Aflatoxin contamination in incoming shipments of corn and other grains are a known hazard, and testing shipments before use is a routine procedure.
“However, your facilities failed to follow proper sample preparation procedures, as outlined in the aflatoxin test kit manufacturer’s recommended procedure, referenced USDA Mycotoxin Handbook, and/or facility-defined procedures that your facilities reported as being followed,” the FDA’s letter says. “This led to potentially inaccurate analyses and test results for sampled products.”
The letter also criticized actions that Midwestern has taken in response to the contamination incidents. “For example, it is unclear if you have provided employee training on the new aflatoxin test procedures or if you have begun utilizing the new aflatoxin test procedures, as no employee training records or test records demonstrating implementation of the new test procedures were included with your responses,” the letter says.
The letter gives Midwestern 15 days to correct the alleged lapses in safety and submit documentation to that effect.