To ease public concern over possible health threats in pet food, the Council of Agriculture (COA) said yesterday that its recent tests of the aflatoxin levels in about 100 types of dog and cat food showed that all products were safe for consumption.
“In January we sampled most brands of dry dog and cat food on the market for aflatoxin levels and found all to be within safety standards,” said Hsu Tien-lai (許天來), director of the council's Department of Animal Industry.
The COA investigation followed an incident in the middle of last month, when a batch of Dog Food House brand dry dog food produced on Nov. 7 was found to contain 155.59 parts per billion of aflatoxin, which is 15 times the legal safety standard.
Aflatoxin is a toxin produced by fungi. The substance is known to be carcinogenic in humans and has been documented as causing liver failure and deaths in dogs.
Hsu said the tests and analyses were conducted on 106 types of pet foods, including 94 types of dog food and 12 types of cat food produced by several popular brands, such as Pedigree, Purina, Hills, Classic, Eukanuba, Choice, Optima, Carrefour Brand, Whiskas, and DFH.
“If pet owners are still unsure about their pet's condition, the COA has asked the four veterinary hospitals affiliated with National Taiwan University, National Chung Hsing University, National Chiayi University and National Ping Tung University of Science and Technology to offer charged outpatient services specific to ailments related to animal feeds,” he said.
Concerned pet owners can also submit any suspicious pet foods to the council's Livestock Research Institute for a charged analysis, he said.
The COA will also hold a hygiene and food safety seminar with pet food manufacturers before the end of this month to prevent similar breakouts in the future, Hsu said.