Pet Food Recalls / Pet Food Safety
on April 3, 2013

Mycotoxins in petfood: there’s an app for that

A key factor in fighting these common contaminants is knowing where the risks lie

The risk is not limited to the US or areas with mycotoxin friendly situations such as drought.

Here's a classic understatement: Salmonella has been receiving a lot of attention within our industry for the last few years. That makes some sense, because the US Food and Drug Administration's zero tolerance for the bacteria since the passage of the Food Safety Modernization Act in January 2011 has ratcheted up the number of petfood recalls, even though in nearly all of the cases where Salmonella was found in the environment, no products were contaminated. (And, subsequently and fortunately, no pets or people were sickened.)

Salmonella is getting so much focus, news even came in late February that a scientist is studying it in space! But in terms of contaminants that pose the highest risk to petfood—on a global basis—mycotoxins arguably deserve more attention.

Mycotoxins tend to  show up in grain-based ingredients and become even more prevalent after the type of drought the US suffered in 2012. As Dr. Max Hawkins of Alltech describes in his article, the grocery chain Hy-Vee's recall of its private label dog food products in February shone a spotlight on the elevated risk posed by drought conditions.

According to a article, crop insurance data from the US Department of Agriculture showed payouts for mycotoxins as of the beginning of March had reached almost US$75 million, three times the level of a year before. Nearly 85% of the claims were filed in six states

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