Kroger food stores has announced a recall of several Kroger, Old Yeller and Pet Pride brands of dry pet food due to possible aflatoxin contamination.
The following products, all with sell-by dates of October 23-24, 2011 are being recalled:
- Pet Pride Cat Food sold in 3.5 lb. packages
- Pet Pride Cat Food sold in 18 lb. packages
- Pet Pride Tasty Blend Poultry & Seafood Cat Food sold in 3.5 lb. packages
- Pet Pride Tasty Blend Poultry & Seafood Cat Food sold in 18 lb.
- Pet Pride Kitten Formula Food sold in 3.5 lb. Packages
- Old Yeller Chunk Dog Food sold in 22 lb. packages
- Old Yeller Chunk Dog Food sold in 50 lb. packages
- Kroger Value Cat Food sold in 3 lb. packages
- Kroger Value Chunk Dog Food sold in 15 lb. packages
- Kroger Value Chunk Dog Food sold in 50 lb. packages
Kroger stores in the following states are included in this recall: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia.
The recall also includes Dillons and Gerbes stores in Kansas and Missouri; Baker’s stores in Nebraska; Food 4 Less stores in Nebraska, Illinois and Indiana (Chicago area); and Jay C, Hilander, Owen’s, Pay Less and Scott’s stores in Illinois and Indiana.
Stores the company operates under the following names are not included in this recall: Ralphs, Fred Meyer, Fry’s, King Soopers, Smith’s, QFC, City Market, Foods Co., and Food 4 Less stores in California and Nevada.
Package UPC codes and additional information can be found at FDA.org.
This latest pet food recall is for possible contamination by a disease-causing mycotoxin. One of the brands being recalled, Pet Pride, was also involved in the 2007 pet food recall for melamine contamination.
In 2008, Diamond Pet Foods paid $3.1 million to settle a class-action lawsuit stemming from aflatoxin-tainted products. Hundreds of dogs became ill, developed permanent liver damage or died from aflatoxicosis in 2005 and 2006.
Aflatoxins are noxious metabolites produced by the Aspergillus flavus fungus.
Aflatoxins are the most extensively researched mycotoxins in the world, known to cause acute toxic illness and cancer in animals and humans. In fact, aflatoxins are among the most carcinogenic substances on the planet.
Sources of Aflatoxins
Agricultural products. Aflatoxins frequently contaminate crops prior to harvest. High temperatures, prolonged drought and insect activity promote pre-harvest contamination.
Aflatoxins can also infect crops after harvesting if the yield stays wet too long. And they can grow on crops during storage if moisture is too high, and mold develops.
The three crops with the highest incidence of aflatoxin contamination are:
Other agricultural products frequently contaminated include:
- Cereals: maize, sorghum, pearl millet, rice, white
- Oilseeds: peanut, soybean, sunflower, cotton
- Spices: chili peppers, black pepper, coriander, turmeric, ginger
- Tree nuts: almonds, pistachios, walnuts, coconuts, brazil nuts
Processed foods. Corn used in a wide variety of processed foods is the biggest worldwide contamination concern. Corn is typically grown in climates that have year-round aflatoxin contamination. Infected corn and cottonseed meal fed to dairy cows has resulted in aflatoxin contamination in milk and other diary products including cheese and yogurt.
Aflatoxicosis in Animals
Aflatoxicosis in animals is primarily a disease of the liver. Clinical signs include:
- Gastrointestinal dysfunction
- Reproductive issues
Aflatoxin types B1, M1 and G1 are associated with the development of cancer in animals, however, the only type currently identified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) is aflatoxin B1.
Pets that become ill from food contaminated with aflatoxins will exhibit some or all of the following symptoms:
- Severe, persistent vomiting combined with bloody diarrhea
- Loss of appetite
- Discolored urine
- Jaundice (yellow whites of the eyes, gums, belly)
If you suspect your pet has ingested aflatoxins, even if he’s showing no symptoms of illness, get him to your vet or an emergency animal clinic as soon as possible. Bring your pet’s food with you if possible.
You should also consult your holistic vet for recommendations on natural liver detox agents like milk thistle, SAMe and chlorophyll.
How to Protect Your Pet from Aflatoxins
- This could be the right time for you to start feeding your dog or cat balanced, species-appropriate meals prepared in your very own kitchen. By following the recipes in my cookbook, Real Food for Healthy Dogs and Cats, you can exercise complete control over what your pet eats.
- If you’re not quite ready to make the leap to home cooked meals, I recommend you take at look at my 13 Pet Foods – Ranked from Great to Disastrous. See where the food you feed your dog or cat ranks on the list, and commit to gradually working your way up to a better quality of food for your furry buddy.
- Become an expert pet food label reader. This will help you avoid products with the ingredients that are most frequently contaminated by aflatoxins like corn and grain fillers.