Privately owned Diamond Pet Foods Thursday said it was recalling pet food after some dogs who ate it died from aflatoxin, a toxic chemical produced by a fungus found on corn and other crops.
CHICAGO Privately owned Diamond Pet Foods Thursday said it was recalling pet food after some dogs who ate it died from aflatoxin, a toxic chemical produced by a fungus found on corn and other crops.
The Meta, Missouri-based maker of premium pet food, sold under labels that include Diamond, Country Value and Professional, said it discovered aflatoxin in a product made at its Gaston, South Carolina, plant.
Aflatoxin develops on crops during hot weather and drought, and was detected in several key growing states including Iowa and Illinois this year. Large quantities can cause cancer in humans, and it can be deadly to animals.
Mark Brinkmann, Diamond's chief operations officer, said the company received a call Friday afternoon from a customer in New York whose dog had died. That prompted the company to test samples from the South Carolina plant.
Brinkmann said the company routinely pulls samples every 30 minutes, and was still testing them to narrow down which products may be contaminated. However, Diamond decided on a broad recall of all the pet food made at that plant from Sept. 1 through Dec. 10 while it waits for further test results.
He said there have been "some deaths" but he could not quantify how many animals were affected. Calls about sick animals came initially from New York and North Carolina, but the company has received inquiries from customers in several other states since the recall was announced, he said.
Brinkmann said the company did not yet know how much pet food was involved. The plant typically produces about 400 tonnes a day, but only food made with corn was affected and the company could not immediately say how much contained corn.
The recalled products were distributed in Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia, Vermont and Virginia.
The products carry a sell-by date between March 1, 2007, and June 10, 2007, and contain a capital "G" in the 11th or 12th position in the date codes.
The company said pet owners who suspect their animals are ill from aflatoxin should take them to a veterinarian. Symptoms include jaundice combined with lack of appetite, depression, bloody stools, and excessive bleeding.