By Christine Stebbins
CHICAGO (Reuters) - U.S. agribusiness giant Cargill Inc said it was voluntarily recalling a year's output of dog food made for its brands River Run and Marksman due to high levels of aflatoxin.
It was the second recall of pet food this week due to aflatoxin.
At Cargill, the dog food was manufactured at its Lecompte, Louisiana, plant from December 1, 2010, to December 1, 2011 and distributed in 13 states and two territories: Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Hawaii, Florida, California, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Cargill said in a statement.
"No illnesses have been reported in association with these products to date, and no other Cargill Animal Nutrition pet food products are involved in this recall," Cargill said.
Procter & Gamble Co earlier this week recalled a lot of its Iams puppy food high due to high levels of aflatoxin produced at its Henderson, North Carolina, plant.
Aflatoxin, a toxin that can cause liver failure and even death in dogs, is often found as a by-product of a corn fungus. The fungus tends to develop on crops during years of severe heat and drought, similar to what occurred this summer.
"The basic issue is that the weather in the southern part of the United States just trashed the corn. Aflatoxin was pretty prevalent," said Charles Hurburgh, a grain quality specialist for Iowa State University.
Whole corn or by-products of corn or ethanol processing, such as corn gluten feed or distiller's dried grain, are used to make pet food. Generally, the concentration of aflatoxin in corn by-products is three times that of whole corn kernels, Hurburgh said.
At least 76 dogs were believed to have died in the United States in 2006 after eating aflatoxin-infected food produced by Diamond Pet Foods.
List of recalled products on Cargill's web site: http://www.cargill.com/feed/dog-food-recall/
(Reporting by Christine Stebbins, editing by Bob Burgdorfer)