In the wake of the death and illness of hundreds of dogs, FDA has issued a corporate-wide warning letter to Midwestern Pet Food after inspections of several of its manufacturing sites disclosed apparent violations of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. As of August 9, 2021, FDA had learned of at least 130 pet deaths and more than 220 illnesses that appear linked to pets eating these brands produced by the company.
The warning letter comes on the heels of a voluntary recall in March 2021 of certain Midwestern Pet Food dog and cat food brands possibly contaminated with Salmonella, including CanineX, Earthborn Holistic, Venture, Unrefined, Sportmix Wholesomes, Pro Pac, Pro Pac Ultimates, Sportstrail, Sportmix, and Meridian brands produced at its Monmouth, Ill. production facility.
That recall followed an FDA inspection of Midwestern’s Chickasha, Okla. plant conducted between December 30, 2020, and February 5, 2021, which found samples of Sportmix containing levels of aflatoxin as high as 558 parts per billion. FDA considers pet food to be adulterated if it contains more than 20 ppb of aflatoxin. In January 2021, the company voluntarily recalled these products and all corn-containing pet foods manufactured at the plant.
The August 2021 warning letter says that Midwestern Pet Food has not provided proper documentation demonstrating that the company has adequately implemented preventive control for mycotoxins that will significantly minimize or prevent further hazard. The letter also states that the company has not offered documentation to show it adequately implemented preventive controls for Salmonella to prevent recontamination at any of its four facilities. Therefore, FDA is unable to fully assess any corrective actions the company may have initiated.
“The FDA is dedicated to taking all steps possible to help pet owners have confidence that the food they buy for their animal companions is safe and wholesome,” said Steven M. Solomon, DVM, director of FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine, in a statement. “We are issuing this corporate-wide warning letter because inspections of Midwestern Pet Foods, Inc.’s manufacturing plants revealed evidence of violations, which were shared across multiple plants and were associated with the illness or death of hundreds of pets who had eaten the company’s dry dog food.”
FDA has requested a written response from Midwestern Pet Food asking for the specific steps they have taken to correct any violations. As of August 26, no further recalls have been issued.
Midwestern Pet Food did not respond to Food Quality & Safety’s attempts for comment, and no company statement has been released.