Pet Food Company Voluntarily Recalls Several Products After 28 Dogs Die and More Fall Ill

Midwestern Pet Food, Inc. has recalled certain varieties of their Sportmix pet food products after receiving reports that 28 dogs have died and another eight have become sick after eating some of the recalled products.

According to a statement released by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Wednesday, the organization is investigating these reports. In their statement on the recall, the FDA also explained to pet owners that select Sportmix brand pet foods are being recalled because the "may contain potentially fatal levels of aflatoxin," which, as the FDA states, 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 pets to become ill and die.

Midwestern Pet Food, Inc., Sportmix's parent company, announced the recall and the Missouri Department of Agriculture tested multiple product samples and found they did indeed contain "very high levels of aflatoxin."

The FDA is managing the developing situation and conducting follow-up activities at the manufacturing facility, and will update their statement with additional information as it becomes available — including if additional products are also potentially harmful. A list of the products currently affected by the recall, which includes dog and cat food, is available on the FDA's website.

A representative for Sportmix and Midwest Pet Food Inc. did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.

"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," said Amber McCoig, deputy director of the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) Division of Compliance. "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."

Symptoms of aflatoxin poisoning in pets include sluggishness, loss of appetite, vomiting, jaundice and/or diarrhea, the FDA adds.

Pet owners who have fed their pets a recalled Sportmix product, should contact their veterinarian, especially if their pet is showing symptoms of aflatoxin poisoning. The FDA also states that there is no evidence to suggest that pet owners who handle products containing aflatoxin are at risk of aflatoxin poisoning.

The FDA is asking veterinarians to report potential aflatoxin cases through the Safety Reporting Portal or by calling their local FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinators. Pet owners can similarly report suspected cases to the FDA.

For a full list of the nine recalled Sportmix pet food products, click here.

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