An Australian dog food blamed for another Chinese health scare

A brand of imported pet food is being pulled off store shelves in China after reports of dogs being sickened by it, a company official said Tuesday.

Natural Pet Corporation, which is the distributor for Optima dog food from Australia, has ordered a recall, according to the company’s general manager in Shanghai, Zhang Haobin.

Reports of sick animals have been coming into Edis Pet Supply Company in Shanghai, a retailer selling Optima dog food, a company representative said. Veterinarians have told Edis of four dogs poisoned by aflatoxin after eating Optima products.

Chinese media reports detail dozens of additional poisonings. Aflatoxin attacks the liver in several animal species.

Although rare in many parts of the world, the fungi that produce aflatoxins can contaminate cereal grains often used in pet foods.

Zhang said Natural Pet Corporation is fully aware of the reports of sick dogs and that the products are being tested.

No results are available at this time, he said.

Although this dog food is imported from Australia, tainted products have been a troubling trend in China. In 2007, the US Food and Drug Administration recalled more than 150 brands of cat and dog food after finding that some pets became ill or died after eating food tainted with melamine.

Contaminated additives used in the pet food came from China.

The chemical is commonly used in coatings and laminates, wood adhesives, fabric coatings, ceiling tiles and flame retardants.

Two Chinese businesses, a US company and top executives of each were indicted by a federal grand jury in February in connection with tainted pet food, which resulted in deaths and serious illnesses in up to thousands of US pets, federal prosecutors said.

There have also been recalls of tainted toys made in China and melamine-contaminated milk killed at least six infants in China last year and sickened nearly 300,000 more.


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