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FDA warns more than 130 dog deaths, 220 illnesses may be linked to Midwestern Pet Foods

After inspections, investigators detected several violations of regulations to keep pet food safe

FDA warns of hundreds of dog deaths and illnesses linked to dog food brand.
FDA warns of hundreds of dog deaths and illnesses linked to dog food brand. (FDA)

The Food and Drug Administration is warning pet owners that hundreds of dog deaths and illnesses could be connected to Midwestern Pet Foods.

The agency issued a warning letter on Tuesday to the pet food manufacture company, stating that more than 130 dog deaths and 220 illnesses may be linked to its foods. In the letter, the FDA also stated that after inspections, investigators detected several violations of regulations to keep pet food safe, which was shared across multiple plants.

According to the FDA, this inspection of the Oklahoma plant was initially prompted by reports of illness or death in dogs that had consumed its SPORTMiX brand dry dog food in January.

Later, the FDA discovered that the food had levels of aflatoxin as high as 558 parts per billion, with 20 ppb being the limit. High levels of aflatoxin can result in illness and even death in pets. The company eventually recalled this product.

In March, Midwestern Dog Foods recalled several more brands after samples tested positive for Salmonella, including CanineX, Earthborn Holistic, Venture, Unrefined, Sportsmix, Wholesomes, Pro Pac, Pro Pac Ultimates, Sportstrail, Sportmix and Meridian, the FDC reports.

The FDC says that as of Aug. 9, it is “is aware of more than 130 pet deaths and more than 220 pet illnesses that may be linked to eating brands of pet food manufactured by Midwestern,” adding that the numbers could be higher as not all cases have been confirmed as aflatoxin poisoning.

At this time, the FDA is inspecting three of the company’s other manufacturing plants.

Midwestern Dog Foods has 15 business days to provide a written response to the FDA and failure to address any violations could result in legal action.

“The FDA is dedicated to taking all steps possible to help pet owners have confidence that the food they buy for their animal companions is safe and wholesome. We are issuing this corporate-wide warning letter because inspections of Midwestern Pet Foods, Inc.’s manufacturing plants revealed evidence of violations, which were shared across multiple plants and were associated with the illness or death of hundreds of pets who had eaten the company’s dry dog food. Samples of dog food were found to contain high levels of aflatoxin. It is imperative that manufacturers and distributors of pet foods understand their responsibility to comply with all requirements of federal law and FDA regulations and, when applicable, to implement a robust hazard analysis and risk-based preventive controls program. We’ll continue to hold companies accountable and protect animal health as a core element of the FDA’s public health mission.”

Steven M. Solomon, director of the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine

About the Author:

Jazmine Otey joined the 10 News team in February 2021.