Pet owners must be aware of the companies making their pets’ food, as shown in the recent spate of recalls for one pet food manufacturer. Midwestern Pet Foods recalled some dog food brands in January, followed by multiple other brand recalls issued in March.
The FDA has sent an official warning letter to Midwestern Pet Foods, which is based in Evansville, Ind. The FDA’s letter claims the company’s lax safety protocols might have been responsible for the deaths of at least 130 dogs and illnesses of more than 220 animals.
“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,” stated Steven M. Solomon, the director of the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine.
When Midwestern Pet Foods brands were recalled
In January, Midwestern Pet Foods voluntarily recalled products including the SPORTMiX brand of dry dog food, and any pet foods manufactured at its Chickasha, Okla. plant that contained corn. Some of the brands recalled were found to have unsafe levels of aflatoxin, which can cause illness and death in animals.
In March, the company recalled certain brands after samples from the Monmouth, Ill. plant tested positive for salmonella. Brands included in that recall were CanineX, Earthborn Holistic, Venture, Unrefined, Sportmix Wholesomes, Pro Pac, Pro Pac Ultimates, Sportstrail, Sportmix, and Meridian.
The FDA stated in its warning letter to the company that inspections of each of Midwestern’s manufacturing plants demonstrated evidence of “significant violations of the Current Good Manufacturing Practice, Hazard Analysis, and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Food for Animals regulation.”
How many pets have become ill
The FDA estimates that as of Aug. 9, over 130 pets have died and over 220 pets have developed illnesses in connection to consuming contaminated Midwestern Pet Foods brands.
The FDA stated that its count of pet deaths and illnesses linked to consumption of Midwestern Pet Foods brands is approximate and that more pets might have been affected. Only some of the pet illnesses and deaths have been confirmed as aflatoxin poisoning.
Consequences for Midwestern Pet Foods
The FDA director said in its press release, “We’ll continue to hold companies accountable and protect animal health as a core element of the FDA’s public health mission.”
According to the FDA, Midwestern Pet Foods has up to 15 working days to provide a written response to the administration to specify steps the company has made to correct any safety violations in its facilities.
If the pet food manufacturer fails to comply with the FDA's request for a concrete plan and implementation of improved safety practices, the FDA might take legal action. The results of such actions might include the seizure of company products and/or injunction, stated the press release.