Sportmix Pet Food aflatoxin recall now international in scope – Updated January 26, 2021


Aflatoxin-contaminated pet foods may have been exported to as many as thirty-five (35) countries, according to an update on the Midwestern Pet Foods aflatoxin investigation released today by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The Damage Done

The FDA is now aware of more than 110 dogs that died and more than 210 pets that became sick after having eaten a Sportmix pet food.

Although the vast majority of the case reports involve dogs, the FDA has received a couple of reports of sick cats, according to an agency spokesperson.

Not all of these cases have been officially confirmed as aflatoxin poisoning through laboratory testing or veterinary record review, according to the FDA.

Reports submitted only to the pet food manufacturer are not shared with FDA and are not a part of this count. 

The Recall

On January 11, 2021, Midwestern Pet Foods, Inc. expanded an earlier recall to encompass “all pet foods containing corn and manufactured in the company’s Oklahoma plant, and having an expiration date on or before July 9, 2022.”

The list of recalled products includes multiple lot numbers of the following items:

  • Pro Pac Adult Mini Chunk
  • Pro Pac Performance Puppy
  • Splash Fat Cat 32%
  • Nunn Better Maintenance
  • Sportstrail 50
  • Sportmix Original Cat 15
  • Sportmix Original Cat 31
  • Sportmix Maintenance 44
  • Sportmix Maintenance 50
  • Sportmix High Protein 50
  • Sportmix Energy Plus 44
  • Sportmix Energy Plus 50
  • Sportmix Stamina 44
  • Sportmix Stamina 50
  • Sportmix Bite Size 40
  • Sportmix Bite Size 44
  • Sportmix High Energy 44
  • Sportmix High Energy 50
  • Sportmix Premium Puppy 16.5
  • Sportmix Premium Puppy 33

According to the recall notice, the affected products were distributed nationally to online distributors and retail stores nationwide. 

The FDA has since determined that one or more of the recalled products may have been exported to the following countries: Bahrain, Barbados, Chile, Costa Rica, Curacao, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, French Polynesia, Ghana, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong, Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Korea, Kuwait, Lebanon, Lithuania, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Singapore, Taiwan, Trinidad, Ukraine, UAE, Uruguay, and Vietnam.

The State of the States

Several state departments of agriculture are aiding the FDA in its response to the aflatoxin contamination by monitoring the effectiveness of the recall at the retail level and by testing samples of Midwestern’s products.

Several states, including Arkansas, Kansas and New Mexico and Washington, are in the process of analyzing multiple Midwestern Pet Foods samples for the presence of aflatoxin.

As of the end of last week, New Mexico had tested twelve samples, eleven of which were negative for aflatoxin. A sample of Sportmix Original Cat Food (Lot: EXP 04/29/22/05/L3/B167 14:21) contained 46 parts per billion (ppb) of aflatoxin, according to a Department of Agriculture spokesperson.

Kansas has completed testing on three samples, according to a spokesperson for the Kansas Department of Agriculture. Two of the samples did not contain aflatoxin; however, a third sample contained, on average, ~80 ppb, which is approximately four times the FDA’s 20 ppb action level for aflatoxin in pet food.

What Pet Owners Should Do

If your pet has symptoms of aflatoxin poisoning, contact a veterinarian immediately. Even pets without symptoms may have suffered liver damage, so you may want to contact your veterinarian if your pet has eaten any of the recalled products. Provide a full diet history to your veterinarian. You may find it helpful to take a picture of the pet food label, including the lot number.

Don’t feed the recalled products to your pets or any other animal. Contact the company listed on the package for further instructions or throw the products away in a way that children, pets and wildlife cannot access them. Sanitize pet food bowls, scoops, and storage containers using bleach, rinsing well afterwards with water, and drying thoroughly.

There is no evidence to suggest that pet owners who handle products containing aflatoxin are at risk of aflatoxin poisoning. However, pet owners should always wash their hands after handling any pet food.

You can report suspected illness to the FDA electronically through the Safety Reporting Portal or by calling your state’s FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinators. It’s most helpful if you can work with your veterinarian to submit your pet’s medical records as part of your report. For an explanation of the information and level of detail that would be helpful to include in a complaint to the FDA, please see How to Report a Pet Food Complaint.

What Veterinarians Should Do

The FDA urges veterinarians treating aflatoxin poisoning to ask their clients for a diet history. We also welcome case reports, especially those confirmed through diagnostic testing. You can submit these reports electronically through the FDA Safety Reporting Portal or by calling your state’s FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinators. For an explanation of the information and level of detail that would be helpful to include in a complaint to the FDA, please see How to Report a Pet Food Complaint.

Lawsuits Filed

At least two class action suits already have been filed against Midwestern Pet Foods by pet owners, alleging their dogs were poisoned by the company’s products.

Recalls and Alerts: January 21 – 23, 2021


Here is today’s list of food safety recalls, product withdrawals, allergy alerts and miscellaneous compliance issues. The live links will take you directly to the official recall notices and company news releases that contain detailed information for each recall and alert.

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Interested in learning more about food safety and the history of foodborne disease outbreaks and investigations? Go to TAINTED to download the first couple of chapters of my new book.

United States

Allergy Alert: Door County Coffee & Tea Co recalls French Vanilla Flavored Cappuccino Single Serve Cups (5.1 oz; Lot codes 1C092220-2 & 1C120220-A; Expiry dates 9/22/2022 & 12/2/2022, respectively) due to undeclared milk and soy.

Allergy Alert: Frito-Lay recalls Ruffles Original Potato Chips, “Party Size” (13 1/2 oz; Both “Guaranteed Fresh” date and price of 23 MAR 2021 5.29 And the Manufacturing Code 225335014
73  03:xx with xx = 00 through 13) due to undeclared milk.

Food Safety Recall: Publix Super Markets, Inc. recalls select Publix Steam In Bag products prepared in-store due to possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination of the butternut squash ingredient. Please refer to the recall notice for a complete list of affected products.

Food Safety Recall: Bob Evans Farms, Inc.  recalls Bob Evans Italian Sausage (1-lb chubs; Lot #0352; Use/Frz By JAN 31 21) due to possible foreign matter (thin blue rubber) contamination.

Food Safety Recall: House-Autry Mills, Inc. recalls House-Autry Tartar Sauce (9 oz; Best by BB 08182021, BB 08232021, BB 09162021, BB 09172021, BB 09182021 and BB 09212021) due to spoilage.

Canada

Allergy Alert: Waisee Trading Co. Ltd. recalls Taidian Xiaolong Bun (15-count; UPC 858093700017; All units) due to undeclared oyster and wheat.

Allergy Alert: Hinnawi Bros. Bagel & Café recalls Bagels sésame végétalien (Best before dates up to and including 18 March 2021) and Bagels Nature végétalien (Best before dates up to and including 18 March 2021) due to undeclared egg.

Food Safety Recall: Clover Leaf Seafoods Corp. recalls Clover Leaf brand Sardines Boneless Fillets – Garlic & Chive in Oil (106g; Batch codes 0170CBXP 2025 JN 18 & 0204CBXP 2025 JL 22; UPC 0 61362 46008 6) and Sardines Boneless Fillets – Smoked Jalapeño in Oil (106g; Batch codes 0171CBXP 2025 JN 19, 0218CBXP 2025 AU 05 & 0307CBXS 2025 NO 02; UPC 0 61362 46009 3) because they may permit the growth of Clostridium botulinum

Food Safety Recall: Paillard de l’Auvergne recalls certain soups packed in glass jars due to lack of the required “Garder réfrigéré” label instruction. Please refer to the recall notice for a complete list of affected products.

Food Safety Recall: Brasserie Artisanale Le Trou du Diable recalls two products packed in glass jars due to lack of the required “Garder réfrigéré” label instruction. Please refer to the recall notice for a complete list of affected products.

Food Safety Recall: Service – Création Milorya recalls SAUCE À LA VIANDE / Meat sauce (1L glass jars; All product sold up to and including 22 January 2021) due to improper manufacturing and/or packing conditions that may render the product unsafe to consume and also due to lack of proper ingredient labeling.

Food Safety Recall: Messara Imports recalls Farma Elassonas brand P.D.O Kefalograviera cheese (Variable weight; Lot #260420; Expiry date 10/26/2021; UPC starts with 2 726905) due to E. coli contamination.

Food Safety Recall: St. Francis Herb Farm Inc. recalls St. Francis Herb Farm 52 Fields brand Coconut Oil and Ghee (370g; Lot #0530120; Best before MA2022FE; UPC 8 17695 00206 2) due to mold and bacteria.

Europe

Allergy Alert (Iceland): Múlakaffi recalls Hjónabakki, þorramatur fyrir tvo / dry food for two (Best before 17.01.2021 & 23.01.2021) due to undeclared egg and mustard.

Food Safety Recall (France): Fromagerie du Val d’Ormèze recalls Fromagerie du Val d’Ormèze brand Frais de brebis / fresh sheep’s milk cheese (120g; Lot 212006; Expiry dates 11/02/2021, 14/02/2021 & 16/02/2021) and Fromagerie du Val d’Ormèze brand Râpé de brebis bio / Grated sheep’s milk cheese (90g; Lot 212006; Expiry dates 14/02/2021, 15/02/2021, 17/02/2021 & 18/02/2021) due to Salmonella contamination.

Food Safety Recall (Germany): EDEKA Handelsgesellschaft Südwest mbH recalls Linz items and pastries with hazelnuts due to possible foreign matter (pieces of wire) contamination. Please refer to the recall notice for a complete list of affected products.

Food Safety Recall (Germany): Sternenbäck GmbH recalls various baked goods due to possible foreign matter (screw and washer) contamination. Please refer to the recall notice for a complete list of affected products.

Food Safety Recall (UK): Several retailers recall chilled and frozen seafood products due to possible Salmonella contamination. Please refer to the recall notice for a complete list of affected products.

Pet Food Safety Recall (Iceland): Pak ehf. recalls Sportmix original cat food kattafóðri frá Midwestern pet food / Sportmix brand origial cat food (6.8 kg / 15 lbs; Batch no. 07092021L3 05; All expiry dates up to and including 07.09.22; Product of Midwestern Pet Food, USA) due to elevated levels of aflatoxin.

Australia and New Zealand

Food Safety Recall / Allergy Alert (New Zealand): NZ Food Manufacturing Ltd recalls Hai Chuan Heng brand and HiLife brand products (all batches, all dates and all packaging sizes) due to lack of process control and presence of undeclared crustacea, gluten, sesame, soy and sulphites.

Death count soars in Sportmix pet food aflatoxin investigation


BREAKING NEWS

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has received reports of more than 70 pet deaths and more than 80 pet illnesses associated with feeding Sportmix pet food containing potentially fatal levels of aflatoxin.

This count is approximate, according to the FDA, and may not reflect the total number of pets affected. Reports submitted only to the pet food manufacturer are not shared with FDA and are not a part of this count.

Not all of these cases have been officially confirmed as aflatoxin poisoning through laboratory testing or veterinary record review.

Sportmix pet foods are manufactured by Midwestern Pet Foods, Inc.

The company is headquartered in Evansville, Indiana. However, the contaminated pet foods were manufactured in Midwestern’s Oklahoma production facility.

On December 30, 2020, the company announced a recall of certain lots of Sportmix pet foods after the Missouri Department of Agriculture found “very high levels” of aflatoxin in multiple product samples.

Expanded Recall

The original recall has now been expanded to include all pet food products containing corn that were made in the firm’s Oklahoma plant and that expire on or before July 9, 2022—more than 1000 lot codes in all.

Lots of the following pet food products have been recalled if the date/lot code includes an expiration date on or before “07/09/22” and includes “05” in the date/lot code, which identifies products made in the Oklahoma plant:

  • Pro Pac Adult Mini Chunk, 40 lb. bag 
  • Pro Pac Performance Puppy, 40 lb. bag 
  • Splash Fat Cat 32%, 50 lb. bag 
  • Nunn Better Maintenance, 50 lb. bag
  • Sportmix Original Cat, 15 lb. bag
  • Sportmix Original Cat, 31 lb. bag
  • Sportmix Maintenance, 44 lb. bag
  • Sportmix Maintenance, 50 lb. bag
  • Sportmix High Protein, 50 lb. bag
  • Sportmix Energy Plus, 44 lb. bag
  • Sportmix Energy Plus, 50 lb. bag
  • Sportmix Stamina, 44 lb. bag
  • Sportmix Stamina, 50 lb. bag
  • Sportmix Bite Size, 40 lb. bag
  • Sportmix Bite Size, 44 lb. bag
  • Sportmix High Energy, 44 lb. bag
  • Sportmix High Energy, 50 lb. bag
  • Sportmix Premium Puppy, 16.5 lb. bag
  • Sportmix Premium Puppy, 33 lb. bag

Lot code information may be found on the back of bag and will appear in a three-line code, with the top line in format “EXP 03/03/22/05/L#/B###/HH:MM”

Investigation ongoing

The FDA is continuing to investigate the situation in cooperation with the state departments of agriculture for Missouri, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, and Washington.

Case counts and the scope of this recall may expand as new information becomes available.

What pet owners need to know

Pets are highly susceptible to aflatoxin poisoning because, unlike people, who eat a varied diet, pets generally eat the same food continuously over extended periods of time. If a pet’s food contains aflatoxins, the toxins could accumulate in the pet’s system as they continue to eat the same food. 

Pets with aflatoxin poisoning may experience symptoms such as sluggishness, loss of appetite, vomiting, jaundice (yellowish tint to the eyes, gums or skin due to liver damage), and/or diarrhea. In some cases, this toxicity can cause long-term liver issues and/or death. Some pets suffer liver damage without showing any symptoms. Pet owners whose pets have been eating the recalled products should contact their veterinarians, especially if they are showing signs of illness.

If your pet has symptoms of aflatoxin poisoning, contact a veterinarian immediately. Even pets without symptoms may have suffered liver damage, so you may want to contact your veterinarian if your pet has eaten any of the recalled products. Provide a full diet history to your veterinarian. You may find it helpful to take a picture of the pet food label, including the lot number.

Don’t feed the recalled products to your pets or any other animal. Contact the company listed on the package for further instructions or throw the products away in a way that children, pets and wildlife cannot access them. Sanitize pet food bowls, scoops, and storage containers using bleach, rinsing well afterwards with water, and drying thoroughly.

There is no evidence to suggest that pet owners who handle products containing aflatoxin are at risk of aflatoxin poisoning. However, pet owners should always wash their hands after handling any pet food.

You can report suspected illness to the FDA electronically through the Safety Reporting Portal or by calling your state’s FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinators. It’s most helpful if you can work with your veterinarian to submit your pet’s medical records as part of your report. For an explanation of the information and level of detail that would be helpful to include in a complaint to the FDA, please see How to Report a Pet Food Complaint.