Category Archives: Pet Food Aflatoxin

Composition-Based Risk Estimation of Mycotoxins in Dry Dog Foods



The risk of mycotoxins co-occurrence in extrusion-produced dry foods increases due to their composition based on various grains and vegetables. This study aimed to validate a risk estimation for the association between ingredients and the ELISA-detected levels of DON, FUM, ZEA, AFs, T2, and OTA in 34 dry dog food products. The main ingredients were corn, beet, and oil of different origins (of equal frequency, 79.41%), rice (67.6%), and wheat (50%). DON and FUM had the strongest positive correlation (0.635, = 0.001). The presence of corn in the sample composition increased the median DON and ZEA levels, respectively, by 99.45 μg/kg and 65.64 μg/kg, p = 0.011. In addition to DON and ZEA levels, integral corn presence increased the FUM median levels by 886.61 μg/kg, = 0.005. For corn gluten flour-containing samples, DON, FUM, and ZEA median differences still existed, and OTA levels also differed by 1.99 μg/kg, < 0.001. Corn gluten flour presence was strongly associated with DON levels >403.06 μg/kg (OR = 38.4, RR = 9.90, = 0.002), FUM levels >1097.56 μg/kg (OR = 5.56, RR = 1.45, = 0.048), ZEA levels >136.88 μg/kg (OR = 23.00, RR = 3.09, = 0.002), and OTA levels >3.93 μg/kg (OR = 24.00, RR = 3.09, = 0.002). Our results suggest that some ingredients or combinations should be avoided due to their risk of increasing mycotoxin levels.

Research – Alltech: Testing of corn and forage in Europe indicates moderate to high mycotoxin risk for dairy cows.

Feed Navigator

In all regions of Europe, grass and corn silage samples contained levels of mycotoxins that would be deemed higher risk for use in dairy production, finds the Alltech 2022 European Harvest Analysis.

Research – Recent Research on Fusarium Mycotoxins in Maize—A Review


Maize (Zea mays L.) is one of the most susceptible crops to pathogenic fungal infections, and in particular to the Fusarium species. Secondary metabolites of Fusarium spp.—mycotoxins are not only phytotoxic, but also harmful to humans and animals. They can cause acute or chronic diseases with various toxic effects. The European Union member states apply standards and legal regulations on the permissible levels of mycotoxins in food and feed. This review summarises the most recent knowledge on the occurrence of toxic secondary metabolites of Fusarium in maize, taking into account modified forms of mycotoxins, the progress in research related to the health effects of consuming food or feed contaminated with mycotoxins, and also the development of biological methods for limiting and/or eliminating the presence of the same in the food chain and in compound feed. View Full-Text

Research – Straw Can Pose Mycotoxin Risk in Dairy Heifer Diets

Dairy Herd

Straw is a common, high-fiber, low-energy ingredient in U.S. dairy heifer rations. While we normally monitor grain quality to watch for harmful mycotoxins, it turns out straw can carry its own mycotoxin risk, according to a recent feed quality evaluation by Alltech, Inc.

Each year, Alltech conducts comprehensive mycotoxin testing programs in the U.S., Canada, and Europe to assess the mycotoxin risk in newly harvested grain crops. For the first time this year, wheat and barley straw were added to the sampling in Europe.

Danish farmers were worried about the damaging effects of wet weather both pre- and post-harvest. Because excessive moisture delayed straw harvest, the crops lay in the field for extended periods, damaging quality and fueling mold contamination.

A total of 70 straw samples from Denmark were evaluated. Deoxynivalenol (DON) was identified in 84% of samples, and emerging mycotoxins were found in 70% of samples. All told, 95% of samples contained some form of mycotoxin, with 50% containing two or more.

According a bulletin on mycotoxins in forage shared by the University of Wisconsin, DON may be a marker for other mycotoxins in contaminated feeds. When young dairy animals consume mycotoxins, they can be at risk for feed refusals, diarrhea, and immunosuppression. Additionally, mycotoxin-induced outcomes may be vague, and include unthriftiness, rough haircoat, poor body condition, and reproductive problems.

Alltech technical advisor and veterinarian, Dr. Radka Boutova, DVM, suggested adding straw to the list of feedstuffs that are screened for mycotoxins if it is a commonly used ingredient in a young stock ration. This is particularly important if the straw crop was stressed and/or delayed in the field due to unfavorable weather conditions, or for any straw that shows visible signs of mold.

UK – Further update from the Food Standards Agency and Food Standards Scotland following the rise in cases of feline pancytopenia – Mycotoxins


An update on the investigation into the recalled cat food following a rise in cases of feline pancytopenia and responses to common consumer queries.

The Food Standards Agency has been working closely with Fold Hill Foods over the course of the investigation into the recalled cat food. The company has co-operated fully.

The results of extensive testing identified higher levels of mycotoxins in some samples of the recalled cat food. This includes specific compounds known as T2 and HT2. These products are no longer on sale.

Mycotoxins are found in some types of feed and food and do not, in themselves, indicate they are the cause of feline pancytopenia. No causative link between pancytopenia and the recalled cat food products has been established.

As a result of these findings, Fold Hill Foods is working with its local authority to take steps to resume production.

Next steps in the investigation

A multi-agency approach will continue to try and identify the causes of the pancytopenia. As new information emerges, we will review our approach on managing any identified risks in animal feed and inform industry so that they can take any action required as a result of our findings.

Details of the original product recall notice were published on 17 June.

Frequently asked questions

We understand how upsetting the past two months have been for cat owners and know how important it is that the cause of the recent feline pancytopenia cases is established.

Our tests and analysis to date have not found a causative link to the pancytopenia cases, but our investigation is ongoing and we will provide an update once we have more information.

Was the pancytopenia outbreak not caused by cat food?

To date testing has not been able to definitively determine a cause, we have not ruled out cat food or any other possible causes either.

Is it safe for anyone who still has the recalled cat food to feed it to their cats?

Cat owners should not feed any recalled cat food to their cats and should continue to follow the advice in our recall notice.

What other possible causes are being investigated?

We continue to work with the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) and the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) to identify the possible cause of the pancytopenia. At this stage we are not ruling out any possible cause.

Why is the company being allowed to restart production if it is not known for sure that its cat food is safe?

A causative link between the feline pancytopenia and the recalled cat food has not been established

A causative link between the feline pancytopenia and the company’s other cat food products has not been established, either.

Some social media posts have shown the results of mycotoxin tests, suggesting food is unsafe for cats. Why has action not been taken?

We are aware of some social media posts, in which test results have been misinterpreted as showing a danger to cats.

The mere presence of mycotoxins in cat food does not necessarily pose a risk to cats. Mycotoxins are naturally occurring substances produced by certain types of moulds (fungi) which can grow on a variety of different crops and feedstuffs.

If mycotoxins are widely found in animal feed, should people be concerned about other brands of cat food?

No. There is no evidence linking any other products to feline pancytopenia.

UK – Over 300 cats die in the UK from illness that could be linked to toxic pet food – Mycotoxins ?

ABC News

At least 330 cats in the United Kingdom have died from a rare illness that could be linked to toxins in cat foods that have been recently recalled.

The condition, called feline pancytopenia, is when the number of red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets decreases rapidly and results in serious illness, according to the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) in London.

The RVC first raised the alarm about the spike in severe feline pancytopenia cases in late May. To date, the cause of the deaths is yet to be officially identified.

The FSA said in a July 16 update that the presence of mycotoxins was identified “in a small number of samples of recalled cat food tested to date.

USA- Sunshine Mills, Inc. Issues Voluntary Recall of Certain Products Due to Potentially Elevated Levels of Aflatoxin


Company Announcement

Sunshine Mills, Inc. is issuing a voluntary recall of certain products due to potentially elevated levels of Aflatoxin above the acceptable limit. Aflatoxin is a naturally occurring by-product from the growth of Aspergillus flavus and can be harmful to pets if consumed in significant quantities. No illnesses have been reported in association with these products to date, and no other Sunshine Mills, Inc. pet food products are affected by this announcement.

Products affected by this announcement:

Product Name Size Lot Codes UPC Code
3.5 lbs. Best if used By 11 Feb 2022
Lot: TD2 11/Feb/2021
073657 008736
30 lbs. Best if used By 11 Feb 2022
Lot: TA2 11/Feb/2021
073657 008750
15 lbs. Best if used By 11 Feb 2022
Lot: TA1 11/Feb/2021
073657 380320
Best if used By 11 Feb 2022
Lot: TA2 11/Feb/2021
14 lbs. Best if used By 11 Feb 2022
Lot: TA2 11/Feb/2021
711535 509523
15 lbs. Best if used By 11 Feb 2022
Lot: TA2 11/Feb/2021
070155 113597
30 lbs. Best if used By 11 Feb 2022
Lot: TA2 11/Feb/2021
073657 380313
5 lbs. Best if used By 11 Feb 2022
Lot: TD2 11/Feb/2021
40 lbs. Best if used By 11 Feb 2022
Lot: TA1 11/Feb/2021
070155 225221

The affected products were distributed in retail stores nationally. Retailers who received the recalled lots have been contacted and asked to pull these lots from their inventory and shelves. There are no other Triumph®, Evolve®, Wild Harvest®, Nurture Farms®, Pure Being®, or Elm products or other lot codes of these products affected by this recall.

While no adverse health effects related to these products have been reported, Sunshine Mills, Inc. has chosen to issue a voluntary recall of the above-referenced products as a precautionary measure in furtherance of its commitment to the safety and quality of its products. Pets that have consumed any of the above recalled products and exhibit symptoms of illness including sluggishness or lethargy combined with a reluctance to eat, vomiting, yellowish tint to the eyes or gums, or diarrhea should be seen by a veterinarian.

Consumers who have purchased the recalled products should discontinue use of the product and may return the unused portion to the place of purchase for a full refund. Consumers may contact Sunshine Mills, Inc. customer service at (800) 705-2111 from 7AM to 4PM Central Time, Monday through Friday, or by email at for additional information.

This is a voluntary recall being conducted in cooperation with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Company Contact Information

Sunshine Mills, Inc. customer service
 (800) 705-2111

Product Photos