Pet Food Contaminants and Toxins
Aflatoxin is a naturally occurring toxin produced by a class of fungi (molds). The class called aspergillus is of particular interest. There are 160 types of aspergillus, 13 of which produce a harmful toxin called mycotoxins. These mycotoxins can be found on cereals (corn, wheat etc), oilseeds (peanuts, soybean, and sunflower) and tree nuts (pecans, pistachio, and walnuts). These fungi have a world-wide distribution and the incidence of contamination depends on many factors such as temperature, humidity and soil condition during growth and further on conditions during storage.
Vomotoxin is a fungus (mold) group called Fusarium, naturally present in soil and plants. When fusarium infects grain it can produce vomotoxin. This toxin causes severe gastro-intestinal disease when ingested in sufficient amounts. Vomotoxin is also known by its chemical name: deoxynivalenol (DON). Both these toxins pose health risks to humans and to our companion animals.
Escherichia coli (abbreviated as E. coli) are a large and diverse group of bacteria. Although most strains of E. coli are harmless, others can cause serious food poisoning. We test specifically for E. coli O157:H7, which can cause bloody diarrhea, urinary tract infections, respiratory illness, pneumonia, and even kidney failure
Fumonisin B1 is the most prevalent member of a family of toxins produced by several species of Fusarium moulds which occur mainly in grains. Fusarium is a large genus of filamentous fungi widely distributed in soil. Most species are harmless saprobes and are relatively abundant members of the soil microbial community. Some species produce mycotoxins in cereal crops that can affect human and animal health if they enter the food chain. The main toxins produced by these Fusarium species are fumonisins and trichothecenes. While the acute toxicity of fumonisin is low, it is the known cause of two diseases which occur in domestic animals with rapid onset: equine leukoencephalomalacia and porcine pulmonary oedema syndrome. Both of these diseases involve disturbed sphingolipid metabolism and cardiovascular dysfunction.
Ochratoxin A, B, and C are mycotoxins produced by some Aspergillus species and Penicillium species, like A. ochraceus or P. viridicatum, with ochratoxin A as the most prevalent and relevant fungal toxin of this group. Ochratoxin A is known to occur in commodities like cereal/grain, coffee, dried fruit and red wine.
Salmonella is actually a group of bacteria that can cause diarrheal illness in humans and animals. They are microscopic living creatures that pass from the feces of people or animals to other people or other animals. Salmonellosis is an infection with bacteria called Salmonella. Most humans and animals infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps. Most recover without treatment, though, the diarrhea may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized.
Zearalone (ZEA), also known as RAL and F-2 mycotoxin, is a potent estrogen metabolite produced by some Fusarium species and is the primary toxin causing infertility, abortion or other breeding problems. Fusarium is a large genus of filamentous fungi widely distributed in soil. Most species are harmless saprobes and are relatively abundant members of the soil microbial community. Some species produce mycotoxins in cereal crops that can affect human and animal health if they enter the food chain. Zearalenone is heat-stable and is found worldwide in a number of cereal crops, such as corn, barley, oats, wheat, rice, and sorghum.