News 412 views last update:6 Aug 2012

Aflatoxin kills hundreds of Taiwanese dogs

Agricultural authorities in Taiwan have ordered a local firm to destroy contaminated dog feed after it was suspected to have killed more than 300 stray dogs.

Ji-Tai Forage Company imported 1,500 tonnes of corn from Pakistan in November, of which 50 tonnes were used to make dog feed and 1,450 tonnes to make pig feed. The deaths of hundreds of stray dogs at two shelters in northern Taipei late last year prompted the Council of Agriculture to investigate.

Samples taken from the dog food showed it contained up to 150 ppb (parts per billion) of aflatoxin, a chemical produced by a fungus, which causes severe liver damage in animals. Dogs are very sensitive to aflatoxins. International allowable levels of aflatoxin for dogs stand at around 20 ppb.

Around 30 tonnes of the tainted dog feed were retrieved and destroyed but 20 tonnes, and 1,450 tonnes of pig feed, have been consumed. Pigs are less susceptible for the mycotoxin. Allowable levels of aflatoxin for pig feed are 200 ppb.

The council said it would step up its tests of corn imports from Pakistan to prevent any recurrence.

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