Aflatoxin found in pet food

I've been meaning to write something up about this for awhile, but keep forgetting. Anyhoo, because my own dog is currently ill and it's stressing me out watching her (not due to this, thankfully), I thought I'd do my own little part to get the word out to any dog owners who may not have heard of this recall.

Diamond Pet Food Recalled Due to Aflatoxin

Diamond Pet Food has discovered aflatoxin in a product manufactured at our facility in Gaston, South Carolina. Aflatoxin is a naturally occurring toxic chemical by-product from the growth of the fungus Aspergillus flavus,, on corn and other crops.

Out of an abundance of caution, we have notified our distributors and recommended they hold the sale of all Diamond Pet Food products formulated with corn that were produced out of our Gaston facility (see complete list below). Please note that products manufactured at our facilities in Meta, Missouri and Lathrop, California are not affected. The Gaston facility date codes are unique from other Diamond facility codes in that either the eleventh or twelfth character in the date code will be a capital "G" (in reference to Gaston). The range of date codes being reviewed are "Best By 01-March-07" through Best By " 11-June-07". Diamond's quantitative analysis records substantiate that Diamond's corn shipments were definitively clear of aflatoxin after December 10. As such, "Best By 11-June-07" date codes or later are not affected by this notice.

States serviced by our Gaston facility include Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky (eastern), Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia, Vermont, and Virginia.

We are rapidly analyzing retained samples of all products produced in Gaston so we can isolate specific lot numbers impacted and provide this information to our distributors, retailers and customers as quickly as possible.

Meanwhile, if your pet is showing any symptoms of illness, including sluggishness or lethargy combined with a reluctance to eat, yellowish tint to the eyes and/or gums, and severe or bloody diarrhea, please consult your veterinarian immediately.

There's a list of the brands recalled, sold under the names Diamond, Professional, or Country Value. Unfortunately, several dogs have already died due to this contamination.

About aflatoxin: this is a fungal toxin made by several species of Aspergillus. You may have heard of it previously because it's a potential bioweapon. It's generally found in crops that have either gotten wet or have long been exposed to high humidity; like most fungi, Aspergillus grows best in moist conditions. When ingested, aflatoxin generally targets the liver, and can cause either acute effects (including death) or cause damage leading to cancer. Either way, it's nothing to mess around with, so please double-check your dog food and if you have the affected brand, contact Diamond pet foods. There was finally some news coverage of this last night (I think on NBC) and it was noted that Diamond would pay all vet costs related to treatment of affected pets (though as far as I know, dogs are the only ones affected so far, the Diamond site lists some cat foods as recall products as well).

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