Fast Facts

  • The FDA is alerting pet owners and veterinary professionals about certain pet food products manufactured by Sunshine Mills under several brand names that may contain unsafe levels of aflatoxin. This is an expansion of a previously announced recall.
  • Aflatoxin 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 illness and death in pets.
  • Pets experiencing aflatoxin poisoning may have symptoms such as sluggishness, loss of appetite, vomiting, jaundice (yellowish tint to the eyes or gums due to liver damage), and/or diarrhea. In severe cases, this toxicity can be fatal. In some cases, pets may suffer liver damage but not show any symptoms.
  • Pet owners should stop feeding their pets the recalled products listed below and consult their veterinarian, especially if the pet is showing signs of illness.
  • The FDA is asking veterinarians who suspect aflatoxin poisoning in their patients to report the cases through the Safety Reporting Portal or by calling their local FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinators. Pet owners can also report suspected cases to the FDA.

What is the Problem?

On September 2, 2020, Sunshine Mills announced a recall of certain pet food products after a retail product sample was found by the Louisiana Department of Agriculture & Forestry to contain an unsafe level of aflatoxin. Aflatoxin is a toxin produced by the mold Aspergillus flavus and at high levels it can cause illness and death in pets. The toxin can be present even if there is no visible mold.

On October 8, Sunshine Mills expanded its recall to include these additional products. FDA is issuing this advisory to ensure the public is notified about all of these potentially unsafe products that may still be on the market or in pet owners’ homes.

FDA is conducting follow-up activities at the manufacturing facility.

This is a developing situation and the FDA will update this page with additional information as it becomes available.

What are the Symptoms of Aflatoxin Poisoning in Pets?

Pets are highly susceptible to aflatoxin poisoning because, unlike people, who eat a varied diet, pets generally eat the same food continuously over extended periods of time. If a pet’s food contains aflatoxin, the toxin could accumulate in the pet’s system as they continue to eat the same food.

Pets with aflatoxin poisoning may experience symptoms such as sluggishness, loss of appetite, vomiting, jaundice (yellowish tint to the eyes, gums or skin due to liver damage), and/or diarrhea. In some cases, this toxicity can cause long-term liver issues and/or death. Some pets suffer liver damage without showing any symptoms. Pet owners whose pets have been eating the recalled products should contact their veterinarians, especially if they are showing signs of illness.

There is no evidence to suggest that pet owners who handle products containing aflatoxin are at risk of aflatoxin poisoning. However, pet owners should always wash their hands after handling pet food.

What Products are Involved?

On September 2, 2020, Sunshine Mills announced a recall of 12 total lots from six of the firm’s pet food products. Shortly after, FDA determined that additional products made with the same corn may contain unsafe levels of aflatoxin. On October 8, 2020, Sunshine Mills announced an expanded recall to include the additional products.  As new information becomes available, this list may continue to expand.

The list of recalled dry pet food products announced by Sunshine Mills on September 2 is:

  • Family Pet Meaty Cuts Beef, Chicken & Cheese Premium Dog Food 4 lb. UPC 3225120694
    • Lot Code TD3 4/APRIL/2020
    • Lot Code TD1 5/APRIL/2020
  • Family Pet Meaty Cuts Beef, Chicken & Cheese Premium Dog Food 14 lb. UPC 3225118078
    • Lot Code TB1 4/APRIL/2020
    • Lot Code TB2 4/APRIL/2020
    • Lot Code TB3 3/APRIL/2020
  • Family Pet Meaty Cuts Beef, Chicken & Cheese Premium Dog Food 28 lb. UPC 3225120694
    • Lot Code TB3 3/APRIL/2020
  • Heartland Farms Grilled Favorites Beef Chicken & Cheese Flavor Dog Food 14 lb. UPC 7015514299
    • Lot Code TB1 4/APRIL/2020
    • Lot Code TB2 4/APRIL/2020
  • Heartland Farms Grilled Favorites Beef Chicken & Cheese Flavor Dog Food 31 lb. UPC 7015514301
    • Lot Code TA2 4/APRIL/2020
    • Lot Code TA3 4/APRIL/2020
  • Paws Happy Life Butcher’s Choice Dog Food 16 lb. UPC 3680035763
    • Lot Code TA1 4/APRIL/2020
    • Lot Code TA2 4/APRIL/2020

On October 8, 2020, Sunshine Mills expanded the recall to include the following products:

  • Champ Mini Chunk Dog Food Beef and Chicken Flavor, 12 lb. bags, UPC 7328315416
    • Lot Code TC2 3/APRIL/2020
  • Field Trial Complete Nutrition Premium Dog Food, 16 lb. bags, UPC 7015514530
    • Lot Code TC2 4/APRIL/2020
  • Good Dog Brand Dog Food Hi-Energy Formula, 50 lb. bags, UPC 5216624165
    • Lot Code TA1 5/APRIL/2020
  • Hunter’s Special Dog Food Hi Energy Formula, 50 lb. bags, UPC 7015510145
    • Lot Code TA1 5/APRIL/2020
    • Lot Code TA2 5/APRIL/2020
    • Lot Code TA3 5/APRIL/2020
  • Hunter’s Special Dog Food Maintenance Formula, 50 lb. bags, UPC 7015510135
    • Lot Code TB3 4/APRIL/2020
    • Lot Code TB1 5/APRIL/2020
  • Hunter’s Special Farm & Ranch Recipe Super Chunks Dog Food, 50 lb. bags, UPC 70155 10182
    • Lot Code TC2 5/APRIL/2020
    • Lot Code TC3 5/APRIL/2020
  • Old Glory Hearty Beef & Chicken Flavor Dog Food, 4 lb. bags, UPC 7015514339
    • Lot Code TE3 3/APRIL/2020
    • Lot Code TE2 4/APRIL/2020
  • Old Glory Hearty Beef & Chicken Flavor Dog Food, 12.75 lb. bags, UPC 7015514298
    • Lot Code TA3 3/APRIL/2020
    • Lot Code TB1 3/APRIL/2020
    • Lot Code TC1 3/APRIL/2020
    • Lot Code TC2 3/APRIL/2020
    • Lot Code TC3 3/APRIL/2020
    • Lot Code TA1 4/APRIL/2020
    • Lot Code TC1 4/APRIL/2020
    • Lot Code TA2 4/APRIL/2020
    • Lot Code TB2 4/APRIL/2020
    • Lot Code TC2 4/APRIL/2020
  • Paws Happy Life Nutritionally Complete Dog Food, 17 lb. bags, UPC 3680042561
    • Lot Code TC2 4/APRIL/2020
  • Pet Expert Always Fit Formula, 50 lb. bags, UPC 5208887976
    • Lot Code TC2 5/APRIL/2020
  • Principle Super Premium Natural Dog Food Breeder Pack, 40 lb. bags, UPC 580179 586032
    • Lot Code TA3 4/APRIL/2020
    • Lot Code TA1 5/APRIL/2020
  • Retriever Bites & Bones Adult Complete Nutrition Savory Chicken Flavor, 52 lb. bags, UPC 4939422642
    • Lot Code TC3 4/APRIL/2020
    • Lot Code TC1 5/APRIL/2020
  • River Bend Dog Food Basic Nutrition, 40 lb. bags, No UPC
    • Lot Code TC1 5/APRIL/2020
  • River Bend Dog Food Basic Nutrition, 50 lb. bags, No UPC
    • Lot Code TC1 5/APRIL/2020
  • River Bend Dog Food Select, 50 lb. bags, No UPC
    • Lot Code TB3 4/APRIL/2020
  • Sportsman’s Pride Maintenance Adult Formula Dog Food, 20 lb. bags, UPC 7015510082
    • Lot Code TB1 5/APRIL/2020
  • Sportsman’s Pride Maintenance Adult Formula Dog Food, 50 lb. bags, UPC 7015510110
    • Lot Code TB1 5/APRIL/2020
  • Sprout Bites & Bones, 50 lb. bags, UPC 7015505091
    • Lot Code TC2 4/APRIL/2020
  • Sprout Hi-Protein (cat food), 20 lb. bags, UPC 70155505120
    • Lot Code TI2 4/APRIL/2020
    • Lot Code TI3 4/APRIL/2020
  • Sprout Hi-Protein (cat food), 40 lb. bags, UPC 7015505119
    • Lot Code TI3 4/APRIL/2020
  • Thrifty Adult Dog Food, 12 lb. bags, UPC 7015513096
    • Lot Code TI1 3/APRIL/2020
    • Lot Code TI2 3/APRIL/2020
    • Lot Code TI3 3/APRIL/2020
    • Lot Code TA2 4/APRIL/2020
  • Sprout Maintenance, 40 lb. bags, UPC 7015505096
    • Lot Code TB1 5/APRIL/2020
  • Sprout Puppy, 20 lb. bags, UPC 7015505095
    • Lot Code TA3 4/APRIL/2020
    • Lot Code TA1 5/APRIL/2020
  • Top Runner Premium Dog Food, 50 lb. bags, UPC 3540650070
    • Lot Code TB1 3/APRIL/2020
  • Whiskers & Tails Adult Recipe Complete Dog Food, 17 lb. bags, UPC 2114003022
    • Lot Code TC2 4/APRIL/2020

The affected products were distributed to retailers nationwide within the United States. Principle Super Premium Natural Dog Food is exported exclusively to a distributor in Japan. Sportsman’s Pride Maintenance Adult Formula Dog Food is also exported to a distributor in Japan and Colombia.

What Do Retailers Need to Do?

Don’t sell or donate the affected pet food products. Contact the manufacturer for further instructions. The FDA also encourages retailers to contact consumers who have purchased recalled products, if they have the means to do so (such as through shopper’s card records or point-of-sale signs).

What Do Pet Owners Need to Do?

If your pet has symptoms of aflatoxin poisoning, contact a veterinarian immediately. Even pets without symptoms may have suffered liver damage, so you may want to contact your veterinarian if your dog has eaten any of the recalled products. Provide a full diet history to your veterinarian. You may find it helpful to take a picture of the pet food label, including the lot number.

Don’t feed the recalled products to your pets or any other animal. Contact the company listed on the package for further instructions or throw the products away in a way that children, pets and wildlife cannot access them. Sanitize pet food bowls, scoops, and storage containers using bleach, rinsing well afterwards with water, and drying thoroughly.

There is no evidence to suggest that pet owners who handle products containing aflatoxin are at risk of aflatoxin poisoning. However, pet owners should always wash their hands after handling any pet food.

You can report suspected illness to the FDA electronically through the Safety Reporting Portal or by calling your state’s FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinators. It’s most helpful if you can work with your veterinarian to submit your pet’s medical records as part of your report. For an explanation of the information and level of detail that would be helpful to include in a complaint to the FDA, please see How to Report a Pet Food Complaint.

What Do Veterinarians Need to Do?

The FDA urges veterinarians treating aflatoxin poisoning to ask their clients for a diet history. We also welcome case reports, especially those confirmed through diagnostic testing. You can submit these reports electronically through the Safety Reporting Portal or by calling your state’s FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinators. For an explanation of the information and level of detail that would be helpful to include in a complaint to the FDA, please see How to Report a Pet Food Complaint.

Read the full FDA report here.
As published by HealthyExaminer.com