Lawsuit over aflatoxin in recalled Sportsmix dog food

The lawsuit alleges that Midwestern Pet Food should have been aware of dangerous aflatoxin levels in Sportsmix dog food that the plaintiff fed her seven dogs, six adults and one puppy.

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(edwardolive | BigStockPhoto)
(edwardolive | BigStockPhoto)

Lawyers filed a class action lawsuit against Midwestern Pet Food on behalf of Tammy Johnson in the U.S. District Court of Indiana on January 15. The lawsuit alleges that Midwestern Pet Food should have been aware of dangerous aflatoxin levels in Sportsmix dog food that Johnson fed her seven dogs, six adults and one puppy.

The lawsuit follows numerous dog deaths associated with consuming Sportsmix dog food. Testing confirmed contamination of the pet food by aflatoxin, a poison produced by Aspergillus flavus mold growing in grain. Mycotoxins occur in most cereal commodities, which are also common ingredients in dry pet foods. Aflatoxins can cause severe liver damage, death and are carcinogenic. Dogs and cats poisoned with aflatoxin show loss of appetite, listlessness and vomiting.

Johnson’s dogs began showing symptoms like those early in 2021. Johnson regularly bought Sportsmix adult and puppy formulations at Tractor Supply in Eastman, Georgia for approximately two years. Then, her dogs fell ill during the week of January 3. She returned the dog food and purchased another brand.

Midwestern recalled the contaminated product on December 30, 2020. However, more than two dozen dogs had already died by that time. By January 21, more than 110 pets had died and more than 210 sickened after eating the products, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). On January 11, the recall expanded to include all Midwestern Pet Food products containing corn, manufactured in Oklahoma and with an expiration date on or before July 9, 2022. On January 25, FDA announced a list of dozens of countries, from Bahrain to Vietnam, to which the contaminated pet food may have been exported.

In Johnson’s case, the adult dogs recovered after several days of illness. However, Johnson’s veterinarian determined that the puppy developed colitis and will need future screening for liver damage.

Sportmix High Energy dog food recall lists

The list of recalled dry pet food products announced by Midwestern Pet Foods, Inc. on December 30, 2020 is:

  • Sportmix Energy Plus, 50 lb. bag
    • Exp 03/02/22/05/L2
    • Exp 03/02/22/05/L3
    • Exp 03/03/22/05/L2
  • Sportmix Energy Plus, 44 lb. bag
    • Exp 03/02/22/05/L3
  • Sportmix Premium High Energy, 50 lb. bag
    • Exp 03/03/22/05/L3
  • Sportmix Premium High Energy, 44 lb. bag
    • Exp 03/03/22/05/L3
  • Sportmix Original Cat, 31 lb. bag 
    • Exp 03/03/22/05/L3
  • Sportmix Original Cat, 15 lb. bag
    • Exp 03/03/22/05/L2
    • Exp 03/03/22/05/L3

On January 11, 2021, Midwestern Pet Foods, Inc. expanded the recall to include all pet food products containing corn that were made in the firm’s Oklahoma plant and that expire on or before July 9, 2022. More than 1,000 lot codes are affected so they are not listed individually. 

Lots of the following pet food products have been recalled if the date/lot code includes an expiration date on or before “07/09/22” and includes “05” in the date/lot code, which identifies products made in the Oklahoma plant:

  • Pro Pac Adult Mini Chunk, 40 lb. bag 
  • Pro Pac Performance Puppy, 40 lb. bag 
  • Splash Fat Cat 32%, 50 lb. bag 
  • Nunn Better Maintenance, 50 lb. bag
  • Sportmix Original Cat, 15 lb. bag
  • Sportmix Original Cat, 31 lb. bag
  • Sportmix Maintenance, 44 lb. bag
  • Sportmix Maintenance, 50 lb. bag
  • Sportmix High Protein, 50 lb. bag
  • Sportmix Energy Plus, 44 lb. bag
  • Sportmix Energy Plus, 50 lb. bag
  • Sportmix Stamina, 44 lb. bag
  • Sportmix Stamina, 50 lb. bag
  • Sportmix Bite Size, 40 lb. bag
  • Sportmix Bite Size, 44 lb. bag
  • Sportmix High Energy, 44 lb. bag
  • Sportmix High Energy, 50 lb. bag
  • Sportmix Premium Puppy, 16.5 lb. bag
  • Sportmix Premium Puppy, 33 lb. bag

Lot code information may be found on the back of bag and will appear in a three-line code, with the top line in format “EXP 03/03/22/05/L#/B###/HH:MM”

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