The Food and Drug Administration has sent a letter to Diamond Pet Foods warning the company that an inspection of its South Carolina plant revealed "significant violations" of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.
The investigator documented that, in late 2005, Diamond manufactured and distributed a number of lots of dog food containing aflatoxin in amounts exceeding the actionable level of 20 ppb (see JAVMA, March 15, 2006, page 829). Aflatoxin, which can cause fatal liver damage, is a byproduct of the growth of certain fungi on corn and other food crops.
The FDA inspection revealed that Diamond failed to implement controls to prevent adulteration of the lots with aflatoxin. The investigator also found that personnel failed to follow company procedures that could have prevented distribution of the lots.
Additionally, the inspection revealed that the company was selling material it salvaged from production to a hog farmer but was not labeling the scraps with the statement "Do not feed to cattle or other ruminants." Some of the food that the plant manufactures contains mammalian protein, and regulations require labeling scraps from such products to help prevent the transmission of bovine spongiform encephalopathy.
The FDA noted that Diamond initiated some corrective actions during inspection, including a voluntary recall. The FDA also acknowledged receiving a response to the investigator's observations that appears to set out actions to address the violations.