Serious Mycotoxin Concerns


If your pet food has any corn ingredient in it, there is a serious concern for you to take note of.  A recent harvest analysis of 2013 corn and corn silage samples in the U.S. found 100% contamination with deadly mycotoxins.

Alltech – an international animal health company – surveyed 329 samples of corn from July 1 through Dec. 31, 2012, and results showed only one percent of the samples analyzed were free of mycotoxins.  The company has repeated this testing in 2013 and analysis “has shown similar results but with interesting new findings: the numbers of mycotoxins present are still increasing.”

The FDA allows mycotoxins to be at 20 ppb (parts per billion) in pet foods, however science shows that even small amounts of mycotoxins can be dangerous to pets.  From the International Journal of Food Microbiology, Drs. Herman J. Boermans and Maxwell C.K. Leung published the report “Mycotoxins and the pet food industry:  Toxicological evidence and risk assessment” in 2007.  One of the biggest issues of concern discussed, is that existing studies of mycotoxin contamination in pet food overlook the day to day consumption of small amounts of mycotoxins;  resulting in “chronic diseases such as liver and kidney fibrosis, infections resulting from immonosuppression and cancer.”

Please pay close attention to your pet food/treat ingredients.  Corn ingredients are of special concern due to the two year mycotoxin analysis mentioned above.


Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,

Susan Thixton
Pet Food Safety Advocate
Author Buyer Beware, Co-Author Dinner PAWsible
Association for Truth in Pet Food

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  1. Lisa P

    I’d also be concerned about it in cat litter that contains corn or any grains for that matter.

    • Peg

      Lisa P awhile back I used a litter that was corn based. I decided to call the company and ask them if they tested for mycotoxins before they packaged and shipped the products.

      The reply was that they could assure me the product was mycotoxin free before the package was opened but could not be responsible for what happened when the product was in use by the cats.

      I thought that was a rather bizarre answer and again asked them if they did lab testing for mycotoxins. I was told that another call was coming in and our conversation was over.

      I dumped all the corn based litter and switched all the cat litter in my home. It’s not just the pets that can be affected by mycotoxins.

      • Lisa P

        Me too Peg. I use Dr. Elseys now. I’ve been using that for the last three years and I’m much more comfortable with it. I won’t use the corn ones again. In fact I did a entry on my blog about this and some girl commented that I’m a “whack job” and her vet said corn based litters were fine. Of course her vet said that!! They aren’t educated about this sort of thing and even when we try to tell them, they won’t listen, unless they’re a holistic vet.

        • Peg

          Great minds think alike Lisa!!
          Dr. Elsey’s rocks for my gang too!!

          • Lisa P

            I LOVE Dr. Elsey’s! I recommend it to everybody and I feel good knowing there’s hardly any dust (if any really) and they are safe using it. Besides that, it lasts longer and I feel I get more than my money’s worth. Guess I should sell the stuff, LOL.

        • barbara

          I am also interested in a better litter, and went to Dr Elsey’s website. I wanted to know what exactly is in these wonderful litters, but the website is pretty vague about the main ingredient. One product said “all-natural”, one says “prairie grasses”, and another has “a natural herb attractant”. This all sounds good, but what is the main compound that is the basis of the litter? Clay or what? If anyone knows, please share. I found a store that carries it, in a town not too far away; so I can go and read the label there.

          • Casey

            Barbara, Dr. Elsey’s is a clay-based clumping litter. It is the lowest dust clumping litter I’ve found (back when I was using clay-based litters, it was my favorite).

            The mold issue in grain-based litters always concerned me. Along with the pesticide/GMO concerns I had about them.

  2. Peter

    The issue that we should think of as well, first really, is WHY are there mycotoxins in the food in the first place? The grain ingredients used in pet foods are typically of the lowest quality (they can’t be used for anything other than pet food), generally broken, crushed “fines.” Because they spend so long in storage (the silo), moist pockets are an environment where mold (plants that feed on the grain)develops. Insects that feed on the mold are then attracted (storage mites). These insects spend their entire life cycle in the silo. To protect themselves against the mites, the molds secrete mycotoxins and aflatoxins. When pets consume these grain-based foods, they thus consume the toxins (which can be deadly, consumed long-term) AND the corpses of these insects (as well as their feces). To combat these issues, pet food manufacturers add anti-fungal agents (to combat the mold) and insecticides (to combat the insects). In the end, consumption of grain-based foods really means the dog or cat takes a 5-way hit: 1) mold; 2) insects: including their corpses and feces; 3) mycotoxins and aflatoxins; 4) anti-fungal agents; and 5) insecticides. We must all accept that generally speaking, it would be impossible to avoid these issues if feeding grain-based foods, as this essay suggests. Thank you for keeping the pressure on this topic.

  3. Josh

    We should outlaw corn!

  4. Breanna Verlinda

    Not to mention, corn is not meant for our pets, dang it! Such a subsidized widespread crop that’s GENETICALLY MODIFIED (which has NEVER been intended to exist in nature, let alone our pets).

  5. Ellie

    It’s true that many people do not take into consideration that their pet is eating the same food day after day. This results in the animals ingesting large amounts of substances that can cause negative effects to the body over time. This is true of allergy causing ingredients as well. While an ingredient like peas or white potatoes may be no problem when consumed occasionally in their natural state, eating them day after day can cause allergic reactions.
    When we first got our current dog as a puppy I went to the local pet food store and started reading ingredient lists. I was amazed to see how many of the different brands had corn as the first or second ingredient and the ingredients that followed were not any better. I finally found grain free foods but was not impressed with those ingredient lists either.
    There are actually very few pet foods available on the market that I would feed to my pets. I have made their food myself more than I buy it.
    Years ago Americans got their food from local stores that stocked mostly locally obtained meats and vegetables. Now much of the farm land in this country has been purchased by large companies that do whatever they can to mass produce. They genetically change the plants to be more resistant to disease and insects. They change the structure to produce more uniform sizes that will fit in their established size of plastic bags or wrapers. The farmland has been depleted of the natural nutrients by constant farming rather then the old way of crop rotation and letting the soil rest occasionally so they use chemically produced “fertilizer.”
    Just finding suitable food for humans is getting more and more difficult and expensive. Pet food has become refuse. The greed of so many of these companies seem to know no limits.
    We now have pets coming down with the same food induced diseases that humans have. It should be no mystery why these diseases are so rampant in this country. Look at the food sources!

    • Ursula

      Ellie, you are finally addressing the bottom-line problem that is driving most health problems in this nation for human and animals….. the industies that due to lack of sufficient oversight or massive pressure (lobbyists) on Congress literally get away with murder. Laws are changed in their favor on many fronts, and all done with minimum coverage by the media (where are they when you really need them). Monsanto should be a household name known for its cause of criminal health disregard caused by its products. You are absolutely right, look at the food sources!

      • Ellie

        Sadly, the food industry pays the bills for many, many media outlets. It’s little wonder that they say nothing.

  6. Jay Smith

    Add to the mycotoxin radar the seldom discussed Ochratoxin A problem, which is now so severe that new importing nations find the need to test pet foods imported from the United States for the presence of these compounds.

    Worse yet? New Importing nations (such as Pakistan, originating the report cited below, have found Ochratoxin A in 25% of the imported dog foods they tested, and 27% of cat foods. And, they found co-contamination with Aflaxtoxins.



    • Lisa P

      No way would I feed a food to my cat that contained linseed oil. Some of the other ingredients are not to my liking either. And this is just the wet food. I haven’t even looked at the dry food but I remember looking at this food before for someone and I was not happy with the ingredients.

  8. Jerry Pardue

    FYI: A great complement to litter is a product called PDZ which was originally marketed as a stall freshener for horse barns. It is a naturally occurring, mined product that absorbs ammonia. It doesn’t cover up the odor, it eliminates it. It comes in a granulated form and you use a couple of cups in the litter box just thrown over the regular litter product. The product is available at most feed and farm supply stores and chains like Tractor Supply Company.

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