FDA Links Hundreds of Pet Deaths, Illnesses to Midwestern Pet Foods Products
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced Tuesday that Midwestern Pet Foods likely violated federal law at several manufacturing facilities, which then presumably contributed to the illnesses and deaths of roughly 350 pets.
As of Aug. 9, the FDA has linked more than 130 pet deaths and 220 pet illnesses to food manufactured by the company. In the last 8 months, the administration has inspected four of Midwestern's manufacturing facilities, finding evidence of violations of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.
The FDA issued a warning letter Aug. 9 to Midwestern Pet Foods outlining its findings. It cautioned that the company's "failure to adequately address any violations promptly" could result in legal action or product seizures.
"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," Director of the FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine Steven M. Solomon, MPH DVM, said in a statement.
Midwestern Pet Foods did not respond to Daily Paws' request for comment Wednesday afternoon.
The company issued three food recalls—two for aflatoxin poisoning and one for salmonella infections—late in 2020 and earlier this year. The recalls included dozens of Midwestern's brands and more than 1,000 lots of food. Mold produces aflatoxin, which grows on ingredients, like corn, used in dog food. Salmonella is a bacteria. Both can make pets seriously ill and even lead to their deaths.
Midwestern Pet Foods announced its first aflatoxin recall in December after the FDA was told of 28 dogs who died and eight who became sick after eating the company's Sportmix food. In January, the recall expanded to all foods that contained corn, were manufactured at Midwestern's Oklahoma plant, and expired on or before July 9, 2022.
By then, the FDA had been notified of 110 dogs who died after eating Midwestern Pet Foods products. Another 210 were reported to be sick.
When the FDA tested some Sportmix dog food at Midwestern's Oklahoma plant earlier this year, samples contained "levels of aflatoxin as high as 558 parts per billion." The administration considers pet food to be tainted at 20 parts per billion.
In a January news release, Midwestern Pet Foods said it expanded the aflatoxin recall "out of an abundance of caution" and noted that "until recently, throughout our long history, we've never had a product recall."
The salmonella recall was announced in March, pulling dozens of dog and cat foods off shelves.
In its warning letter, the FDA credits Midwestern Pet Foods for recalling the tainted foods, but its staffers wrote that the company hadn't "provided documentation" showing that it could prevent future emergences of aflatoxins or salmonella.
"We'll continue to hold companies accountable and protect animal health as a core element of the FDA's public health mission." Solomon said.