• A recall of pet food sold across the United States has been issued due to highly elevated levels of a mold byproduct called aflatoxin. 
  • Aflatoxin, when consumed by a pet, builds up in its system over time and can lead to a variety of troubling symptoms, up to and including death.
  • This is an incredibly serious situation, and at least 28 dogs have died as a result of consuming this tainted food. Another 8 illnesses related to the toxin have been reported.

There have been a ton of food recalls this year and while most of them were linked to foods that people consume, there were also a few that targeted our pets. A new recall bulletin published by the FDA suggests that 2020 saved the worst for last when it comes to pet food issues, as the food that is currently being recalled has already claimed the lives of at least 28 animals.

The food, produced by Midwestern Pet Food, Inc., is branded as “Sportmix” and it may contain highly elevated levels of a mold byproduct called aflatoxin. Aflatoxin is a natural byproduct of mold, but the particularly high levels of the toxin present in the recalled food, and the fact that pets eat the same food day after day, means that toxic levels of it can build up in an animal’s system and cause all kinds of really terrible symptoms.

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Some of the early signs of aflatoxin poisoning included loss of appetite and fatigue or sluggishness. The pet may also vomit or have diarrhea, and a check of its gums or eyes may show signs of jaundice (a yellowish tint).

According to the official recall bulletin, these are the products included in the recall:

  • Sportmix Energy Plus, 50 lb. bagExp 03/02/22/05/L2
    Exp 03/02/22/05/L3
    Exp 03/03/22/05/L2
  • Sportmix Energy Plus, 44 lb. bagExp 03/02/22/05/L3
  • Sportmix Premium High Energy, 50 lb. bag
    Exp 03/03/22/05/L3
  • Sportmix Premium High Energy, 44 lb. bagExp 03/03/22/05/L3
  • Sportmix Original Cat, 31 lb. bag
    Exp 03/03/22/05/L3
  • Sportmix Original Cat, 15 lb. bagExp 03/03/22/05/L2
    Exp 03/03/22/05/L3

This is an extremely serious recall situation. As mentioned, nearly 30 pets have already died as a result of eating the contaminated food, and another 8 have been reported ill. Unfortunately, even stopping the food before your pet is obviously ill may not be enough to prevent serious consequences:

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 dog 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.

If you have any of this food in your home, throw it out immediately. If your pet has been eating the recalled food, make an appointment with your vet to ensure all is well, or to determine what next steps need to be taken.

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Mike Wehner has reported on technology and video games for the past decade, covering breaking news and trends in VR, wearables, smartphones, and future tech. Most recently, Mike served as Tech Editor at The Daily Dot, and has been featured in USA Today, Time.com, and countless other web and print outlets. His love of reporting is second only to his gaming addiction.