The science to prove the risks to pets of various mycotoxins is abundant. As well, there is science to prove a toxic synergy occurs when multiple mycotoxins are present in a food. So why – with all this science to base risk on – have authorities not established regulatory limits for all mycotoxins and their cumulative effect on pets?
Mycotoxins are deadly in high doses, and are scientifically linked to everything from liver or kidney disease to infertility to cancer in low doses. Just a brief overview to some of the science…(various sources provided at the end of the post)…
Mycotoxin Health Risk to Pets
Aflatoxin – Hepatic damage and cancer, immunosuppression
Ochratoxins – Renal damage, immunosuppression
Trichothecenes – Weight loss /feed intake reduction, immunosuppression
Zearalenone – Infertility
Fumonisins – Damages numerous organs, liver and kidney tumors
Fusaric Acid – Hypotension and gastrointestinal, hepatic and pneumonic bleeding
And then we have the concern of multiple mycotoxins present in a pet food. The cumulative effect – as described by science – magnifies the risk (as compared to the single mycotoxin risk)…
“Mycotoxins that have a common site of action present the greatest opportunity for a cumulative toxic effect. A toxicological potentiation between DON (part of the Trichothecenes family of mycotoxins listed above) and fusaric acid, for instance, has been demonstrated in 8 kg piglets where DON toxicity was augmented when fusaric acid was added in diet (Smith et al., 1997). In another study, it was found that chickens fed combinations of DON and T-2 toxin from hatching to three weeks had significantly reduced body weight gain (Kubena et al., 1990). This variable was not reduced, however, when either DON or T-2 toxin were fed singly, thereby suggesting a synergistic interaction. The toxicity of a particular mycotoxin, therefore, depends on not only its own concentration but also the presence of other mycotoxins.”
(Note: the cumulative effect risk of multiple mycotoxins – as explained in our pet food testing results – was ignored by various parties who reviewed our results. The above science proves the toxic synergy of multiple mycotoxins does indeed exist and is scientifically documented – as our pet food test results stated.)
The serious nature of mycotoxins has been studied extensively. So…where does the FDA stand on safe levels of mycotoxins in pet food and the cumulative effect of multiple mycotoxins?
Currently, the FDA has only established maximums of aflatoxin, DON (Deoxynivalenol – one variety of the Trichotecenes group), and Fumosins mycotoxin.
Aflatoxins – 20 parts per billion or 0.02 parts per million
DON – 5000 parts per billion or 5 parts per million
Fumosins – 10,000 parts per billion or 10 parts per million
The toxic ignored:
1. There is no regulatory maximum for pet food or animal feed for all other mycotoxins (than the three above);
2. There is no regulatory maximum for a cumulative mycotoxin level in pet food or animal feeds;
3. There is no established LOAEL (lowest observed adverse effect level) or no established NOAEL (no observable adverse effect level) for any mycotoxin in pet food or animal feed.
LOAEL and NOAEL are very commonly used risk-assessment methods. As example, FDA states the NOAEL for melamine and cyanuric acid in pigs is 25 ppm each. Pets should be protected by the same lowest level and no risk assessment for mycotoxins and multiple mycotixins. There is no excuse.
The following email was sent to FDA on behalf of pet food consumers…
One of the deadliest concerns of pet food is the risk of mycotoxin contamination. It was alarming to learn that the agency has no maximum level established for numerous mycotoxins as well as the cumulative or synergistic effect of multiple mycotoxins in pet food.
Authors Herman J. Boermans and Maxwell C.K. Leung published the paper “Mycotoxins and the pet food industry: Toxicological evidence and risk assessment”. The following is some brief excerpts of this report.
“Mycotoxin contamination in pet food poses a serious health threat to pets.”
“…available reports of acute mycotoxicosis, however, cannot provide the whole picture of the mycotoxin problem associated with pet foods since only a small number of food poisoning cases are published. Veterinarians, furthermore, often overlooked mycotoxins as the cause of chronic diseases such as liver and kidney fibrosis, infections resulting from immunosuppression and cancer. These findings suggest that mycotoxin contamination in pet food poses a serious health threat to pet species.”
This report provides details (citing multiple studies) to the risk of Aflatoxins, Ochratoxins, Trichothecenes, Zearalenone, Fumonisins and Fusaric acid. As well – this report provides details to the synergistic/cumulative risks of multiple mycotoxins and suggests a formula to establish LOAEL and NOAEL risk assessment for pets possibly consuming mycotoxins their entire lives (via pet foods and treats).
On Google Scholar, a search for “mycotoxin + dog food” provides 9,190 results. A search for “mycotoxin + cat food” provides 10,500 results. In other words, there is an abundance of science for FDA to review in order to establish LOAEL and NOAEL assessments for all mycotoxin risks of pet foods and to establish LOAEL and NOAEL for the cumulative effect of multiple mycotoxins. Considering at least 50% of the pet foods available today contain one or more grain ingredients prone to mycotoxin contamination, ATPF encourages FDA to actively protect the pets that consume these foods.
ATPF reminds FDA of our recent pet food testing – our results found mycotoxins in eight of eight pet foods tested – including a grain free pet food. Our results found the pet foods contained from one mycotoxin to up to seven different mycotoxins.
Again, ATPF believes that mycotoxin contamination of pet food is a serious risk even at low levels (due to long term exposure to the pet). ATPF asks FDA to provide pet food consumers protection from mycotoxin risks by establishing and enforcing LOAEL and NOAEL assessments for all mycotoxin risks and cumulative risks taking into consideration the long life of a pet (as compared with the short life of livestock animals). No pet owner wishes to deal with liver disease or kidney disease or cancer caused by long term exposure to mycotoxins. We hope the FDA understands this and takes prompt action to protect our pets.
On behalf of pet food consumers,
Association for Truth in Pet Food
To learn more about mycotoxin risk…
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
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