Tue, Jan 20, 2009 - Page 2 News List

Aflatoxin in food behind dog deaths: COA


Dog owners should pay close attention to the packaging of dry dog food purchased between October and last month as it may contain aflatoxin, a substance that is harmful to dogs, the Council of Agriculture (COA) said yesterday.

“A batch of Dog Food House brand [狗糧居, DFH] dry dog food produced on Nov. 7 was found to contain toxins that may harm dogs’ livers. We have requested that the company accept returns and refunds for the products by customers,” the Department of Animal Industry Director Hsu Tien-lai (許天來) said.

The incident came to light on Sunday when a dog owner in Tainan City surnamed Wang (王) sent a bag of dog food that she had purchased at a supermarket to the council, as she suspected the deaths of her two dogs were related to the food.

After collecting several more samples from other dog owners who bought the dog food, the council on Sunday confirmed that the dry pebbles contained 155.59 parts per billion of aflatoxin, 15 times the legal safety standard.

Aflatoxin is a naturally occurring toxin produced by fungi. It is carcinogenic in humans and has also been documented as causing liver failure and deaths in dogs.

This was not the first time the council had sampled DFH dry dog foods, Hsu said, adding that previous tests had been negative.

Hsu said the council has since inspected all brands of dog food on the market, including DFH, and that all had passed inspection.

Hsu said the tainted dog food may have been the result of DFH placing orders from a different factory in November because of fluctuating grain prices.

“This particular factory used to make pig feed and had not made dog food before. As pigs are less sensitive to aflatoxin than dogs, feed that would have met standards for pigs would make dogs sick,” he said.

The council would formulate a new law regulating pet food within the next six months, he said.

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