SPORTMiX Pet Foods Recalled Over Possible Link to Dog Deaths

Several products from SPORTMiX pet foods were found by the FDA to have high levels of aflatoxin, which can be fatal to dogs.

  • Published
Image via FDA

SPORTMiX Pet Food Issues Recall of Several Pet Food Lots

On Dec. 30. 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published a bulletin advising that certain lots of SPORTMiX brand pet food were being recalled due to concerns that they might contain potentially fatal levels of aflatoxin:

On December 30, 2020, Midwestern Pet Food, Inc. announced a recall of certain lots of Sportmix pet food products after FDA was alerted about reports of at least 28 dogs that have died and eight that have fallen ill after consuming the recalled Sportmix pet food. Multiple product samples were tested by the Missouri Department of Agriculture and found to contain very high levels of aflatoxin. Aflatoxin is a toxin produced by the mold Aspergillus flavus and at high levels it can cause illness and death in pets. The toxin can be present even if there is no visible mold.

The FDA bulletin noted that the agency was “aware of at least 28 deaths and eight illnesses in dogs that ate the recalled product,” although it did not offer any documentation that a causal relationship between those deaths and SPORTMiX food had been established.

As the FDA explained, “Aflatoxin is a toxin produced by the mold Aspergillus flavus, which can grow on corn and other grains used as ingredients in pet food. At high levels, aflatoxin can cause illness and death in pets.”

What Are Symptoms of Aflatoxin Poisoning in Pets?

According to the FDA:

Pets are highly susceptible to aflatoxin poisoning because, unlike people, who eat a varied diet, pets generally eat the same food continuously over extended periods of time. If a pet’s food contains aflatoxin, the toxin could accumulate in the pet’s system as they continue to eat the same food.

Pets with aflatoxin poisoning may experience symptoms such as sluggishness, loss of appetite, vomiting, jaundice (yellowish tint to the eyes, gums or skin due to liver damage), and/or diarrhea. In some cases, this toxicity can cause long-term liver issues and/or death. Some pets suffer liver damage without showing any symptoms. Pet owners whose pets have been eating the recalled products should contact their veterinarians, especially if they are showing signs of illness.

List of Recalled Lots

The list of recalled dry pet food products announced by Midwestern Pet Food, Inc. on December 30, 2020, is as follows:

  • Sportmix Energy Plus, 50 lb. bag
    • Exp 03/02/22/05/L2
    • Exp 03/02/22/05/L3
    • Exp 03/03/22/05/L2
  • Sportmix Energy Plus, 44 lb. bag
    • Exp 03/02/22/05/L3
    • Sportmix Premium High Energy, 50 lb. bag
    • Exp 03/03/22/05/L3
  • Sportmix Premium High Energy, 44 lb. bag
    • Exp 03/03/22/05/L3
    • Sportmix Original Cat, 31 lb. bag
    • Exp 03/03/22/05/L3
  • Sportmix Original Cat, 15 lb. bag
    • Exp 03/03/22/05/L2
    • Exp 03/03/22/05/L3

The Recall Is Still Unfolding

According to a statement attributed to Amber McCoig, D.V.M., M.P.H., deputy director of the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) Division of Compliance:

Although this pet food recall is still unfolding, we are sharing the facts we have so far because the levels of aflatoxin found in the recalled pet food are potentially fatal. We are working quickly on this developing situation and will continue to update the public as new information becomes available. This is in service of FDA’s mission to protect human and animal health.