Also on this page is an article about a previous toxic dog food recall.
The company, based in Meta, Missouri, issued a recall of 19 varieties of dog and cat food on December 21 because some of the pet food made at the Gaston facility was discovered to contain aflatoxin.
Aflatoxin, a naturally occurring chemical that comes from a fungus sometimes found on corn and other crops, can cause severe liver damage. Aflatoxin poisoning can cause sluggishness, a lack of appetite and in severe cases severe vomiting, fever and jaundice.
The recalled pet food was sold in 23 states under the brand names Diamond, Country Value and Professional, and bears the date codes of March 1, 2007, through June 11, 2007. Consumers are asked to immediately stop using the product.
Last week, Tony Caver, the state veterinarian in South Carolina, said that state has five presumed cases linked to aflatoxin, including three fatalities.
Seven dogs from the Rochester, New York, area were being treated at Cornell University Hospital for Animals for liver disease and failure after eating contaminated food, said university spokeswoman Sabina Lee. An area veterinarian discovered the link after three dogs died in the area, she said.
In a December 20 press release, the company said it had notified distributors to hold up the further sale of Diamond pet food that had used corn. The next day it ordered the recall.
"To ensure we got all the affected product or potential to be affected, we cast a very wide net with the recall," Diamond spokesman Jim Fallon said Friday. He said the company is conducting tests and has set up a consumer information center, open seven days a week, to handle consumer questions.
"We are working with customers and their vets to confirm a link between the pet food and the pet's illnesses," he said. "Our whole focus is saving pets' lives and doing the right thing."
The company said it was analyzing retained samples of all of the affected pet food products in Gaston in an attempt to isolate specific lot numbers that were impacted and provide the information to distributors, retailers and customers.
According to the company, the pet food was distributed to stores in Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia, Vermont, and Virginia.
The FDA said some of the recalled product had been exported to at least 29 countries, including several in the European Union. Those countries have been notified, the agency said.Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.