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December 01, 2020

Pet foods recalled for possible excess aflatoxin

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Updated November 23, 2020

Pet food maker Sunshine Mills recalled products sold under 17 brand names for potentially harmful amounts of aflatoxin.

The company attributed the danger to mold on a single delivery of corn used in making the foods, mostly dog food and some cat food. In announcements Sept. 2 and Oct. 8, Food and Drug Administration officials indicated the company was recalling corn-based pet foods made April 3-5, 2020.

Clinical signs of aflatoxin poisoning include lethargy, lack of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, and jaundice, and aflatoxin poisoning can result in liver damage and death. The National Institutes of Health also lists aflatoxins among carcinogens in humans, citing links between exposure to the toxins and increased risk of liver cancer.

The recalled products are in 58 lots that had been sold under 17 brand names: Champ, Family Pet, Field Trial, Good Dog, Heartland Farms, Hunter’s Special, Old Glory, Paws Happy Life, Pet Expert, Principle, Retriever, River Bend, Sportsman’s Pride, Sprout, Thrifty, Top Runner, and Whiskers & Tails. The affected products range in size from 4 pounds to 50 pounds, and all have lot codes that include the text 3/April/2020, 4/April/2020, or 5/April/2020.

Additional details are available at the FDA website.

Sunshine Mills also issued recalls in August 2020 for potential Salmonella contamination in certain poultry-based dog foods and in November 2018 for dog foods with excess vitamin D, according to FDA information.

In the October announcement, FDA officials urged veterinarians treating pets with aflatoxin poisoning to ask their clients for the pets’ diet history and encouraged veterinarians to submit case reports, especially if they confirm their findings through diagnostic testing. Veterinarians can file those reports through the Safety Reporting Portal.


Visit the FDA's Recalls & Withdrawals page for more information.