FDA says hundreds of dog deaths and illnesses are likely linked to Midwestern Pet Food

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The agency said it found violations at the company’s facilities

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a warning to pet owners regarding Midwestern Pet Foods. The agency said Tuesday that the company’s dry pet food products have been “associated with the illness or death of hundreds of pets.” 

More than 130 reports of pet deaths and 220 reports of pet illnesses are believed to have been caused by the consumption of Midwestern’s pet food products. The FDA said that count was only an approximation as of August 9 since they had not been checked through lab testing or veterinary record review. 

However, the FDA said inspections of the company’s facilities turned up evidence of safety violations. The agency said it found salmonella and potentially unsafe levels of a substance called aflatoxin -- a byproduct of mold that can be harmful to pets if consumed in large quantities.

"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," Steven Solomon, director of the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine, said in a statement. "Samples of dog food were found to contain high levels of aflatoxin."

‘Inadequate’ food safety program

Pets who have recently consumed Midwestern’s products should be monitored for symptoms of aflatoxin poisoning, which include sluggishness or lethargy, reluctance to eat, vomiting, yellowish tint to the eyes or gums, and diarrhea.

Earlier this year, the FDA recalled several pet foods manufactured at Midwestern Food’s Illinois facility. In December of 2020, the company issued a recall of Sportmix dog food made at its Oklahoma facility. 

In its latest warning, FDA compliance officers told Midwestern Pet Foods that a recall alone is not enough to prevent more tainted food entering the animal food supply.

“The FDA found that Midwestern’s food safety program appears inadequate to significantly minimize or prevent Salmonella in its pet food,” the agency wrote. 

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