The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is expanding a dog-food recall of certain products from multiple brands that may contain an unsafe level of a toxin called aflatoxin. Aflatoxin is a byproduct of a type of mold (Aspergillus flavus) that can grow on grains commonly used in pet food, according to the FDA. When pets consume too much aflatoxin, it can cause sickness and, in some severe cases, longterm liver issues and/or death.
Pet-food manufacturer Sunshine Mills, Inc., first announced the voluntary recall on September 2 after the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (DAF) found elevated levels of aflatoxin in a bag of dog food during routine sample testing. (According to Sunshine Mills’ October 9 announcement, there have been no reports of sickness linked to recalled products yet.) The initial recall included 12 lots of six different dog-food products, from three different brands.
A subsequent FDA investigation traced the products back to a single load of corn containing high levels of aflatoxin that was used as an ingredient in products manufactured from April 3 to April 5, 2020, and distributed to retailers nationwide. On October 8, Sunshine Mills expanded the dog-food recall to other products made with that load of corn, adding multiple lots of 21 additional products from 15 more brands (including two cat-food products). Currently, the FDA and the Louisiana DAF are continuing to investigate these and other potentially unsafe corn-based pet foods from the Sunshine Mills manufacturing plant. They may add new products to the recall list and update this page as they learn more.
If you own one of the recalled products, stop feeding it to your pet, throw it away, and consult a veterinarian—especially if your pet is showing signs of aflatoxin poisoning. Symptoms of aflatoxin poisoning may include sluggishness, diarrhea, loss of appetite, vomiting, and jaundice (yellowing of the eyes or gums). However, it is also possible for pets to suffer liver damage from aflatoxin without showing any signs of illness, the FDA says, so you may want to consult a vet regardless of whether your pet is acting sick. The FDA also recommends sanitizing food bowls, scoops, and storage containers using bleach and water rinses.
Sunshine Mills says customers can return a partially used bag of recalled food to where you bought it for a full refund. And you may report suspected cases of aflatoxin poisoning to the FDA. By the way: While the FDA does recommend washing your hands after touching pet food, there is no evidence to suggest that handling products with aflatoxin in them puts humans at risk of aflatoxin poisoning.