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2020 Aflatoxin Pet Food Recall

Unfortunately, there has been another pet food recall. This time it was quite serious, with more than 28 dog deaths connected to the recalled food. Sportmix High Energy pet food was recalled due to presumed aflatoxin contamination. No illness to humans or cats was reported, as dogs were the only affected species.

What is aflatoxin?

Aflatoxin is a toxic mold spore found in the soil that can contaminate many different plant products including grains, nuts, seeds, vegetables, among others. The aflatoxin mold spores can even contaminate meat and dairy products through the food chain.

Aflatoxin toxicity can be very serious as it is carcinogenic, can cause liver damage and suppress immune function. At high concentrations, aflatoxin poisoning can even result in death. Normally ingredients are screened for toxins like this but sometimes improper detection or poor quality analysis can let it slip through the cracks.

Lethargic pitbull sleeping

Issued Recall

Upon investigation, Sportmix High Energy pet food was immediately pulled from retailers and distributors. If you have purchased Sportmix High Energy pet food check the following recalled lot codes to see if you product may be compromised:

  • 50# Sportmix Energy Plus Lots Exp 03/02/22/05/L2, 03/02/22/05/L3, 03/03/22/05/L2
  • 44# Sportmix Energy Plus Lots 03/02/22/05/L3
  • 50# Sportmix Premium High Energy Lots 03/03/22/05/L3
  • 44# Sportmix Premium High Energy Lots 03/03/22/05/L3
  • 31# Sportmix Original Cat Lots 03/03/22/05/L3
  • 15# Sportmix Original Cat Lots 03/03/22/05/L2, 03/03/22/05/L3
Sportmix energy plus high energy and original recipe packaging

How do I pick a pet food that won’t get recalled?

Unfortunately, recalls are part of the food industry (both human and animal). Food can be contaminated even from reputable companies without them even knowing. This is why it is important to stay on top of and inform yourself of current pet food recalls. The FDA keeps up to date recall information on their website for pet owners to review. Another helpful website is The Dog Food Advisor Website, which will email you with new recalled products.

Visual graphic of aflatoxin chemical structure
Visual graphic of aflatoxin chemical structure

View Sources

Fratamico PM, Bhunia AK, Smith JL (2008). Foodborne Pathogens: Microbiology and Molecular Biology. Norofolk, UK: Horizon Scientific Press. ISBN 978-1-898486-52-7.

Abbas HK (2005). Aflatoxin and Food Safety. CRC Press. ISBN 978-0-8247-2303-3.

Williams JH, Phillips TD, Jolly PE, Stiles JK, Jolly CM, Aggarwal D (November 2004). "Human aflatoxicosis in developing countries: a review of toxicology, exposure, potential health consequences, and interventions". The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 80 (5): 1106–22. doi:10.1093/ajcn/80.5.1106. PMID 15531656.

Food Safety News. “Dog deaths prompt pet food recall for Aflatoxin poisoning” 2020. https://www.foodsafetynews.com/2020/12/dog-deaths-prompt-pet-food-recall-for-aflatoxin-poisoning/#:~:text=After%20the%20reported%20deaths%20of,human%20illnesses%20have%20been%20reported.

Dog Food Advisor. “Pet food recalls”. 2020. https://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/dog-food-recalls/ 

Pet food industry. “28 dog deaths prompt Sportmix High Energy dog food recall” 2020. https://www.petfoodindustry.com/articles/9898-dog-deaths-prompt-sportmix-high-energy-dog-food-recall?v=preview 

FDA. “Recalls & Withdrawals” 2021. https://www.fda.gov/animal-veterinary/safety-health/recalls-withdrawals 

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