FDA sends warning letter to pet food company that may be tied to 130 pet deaths, 220 illnesses

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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning dog owners of a possible link between certain dog food brands and a serious form of canine heart disease.

CHICKASHA, Okla. (KFOR) – The Food and Drug Administration is warning a pet food company that may be linked to the deaths or illnesses of hundreds of pets that it needs to make changes.

Earlier this month, the FDA sent a warning letter to Midwestern Pet Food, Inc., citing multiple areas of concern after several inspections and recalls.

Officials say the conditions “likely contributed to the illness or death of hundreds of dogs.”

It all started after the FDA received a report about a dog becoming sick after eating SPORTMIX, which was manufactured in Chickasha, Oklahoma.

During that inspection, the FDA found that SPORTMIX contained levels of aflatoxin as high as 558 parts per billion. The FDA considers pet food to be adulterated if it contains more than 20 parts per billion of aflatoxin.

“FDA considers that aflatoxin levels in dog and cat food above 20 ppb will support a charge of adulteration under section 402(a)(1) of the FD&C Act [21 U.S.C. 342(a)(1)] because of the reasonable possibility that a regular diet of such food will be fatal or injurious to the health of the pet. Therefore, these pet food products manufactured in your OK facility are adulterated in that they bear or contain a poisonous or deleterious substance which renders them injurious to health,” the warning letter stated, citing findings of the inspection that occurred between Dec. 31,2020 and Feb. 5, 2021.

As of Aug. 9, the FDA says it 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.

“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, M.P.H., D.V.M., director of the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine

Now, the FDA has asked the company for a written response within 15 working days that states the specific steps they will take to correct any violations.

“Failure to adequately address any violations promptly may result in legal action, including product seizure and/or injunction,” the FDA said.

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