What We Test For

Each batch of food and treats produced by Natural Balance Pet Foods, Inc. is rigorously tested to ensure quality and safety in every bowl.

Mycotoxins are naturally occurring toxins produced by fungi (molds). The class called aspergillus is of particular interest. There are several hundred types of aspergillus, 14 of which produce a harmful toxin called Aflatoxins (a Mycotoxin). Aflatoxin can be found on cereals (wheat, etc), oilseeds (peanuts, soybean, and sunflower) and tree nuts (pecans, pistachio, and walnuts). These fungi have a worldwide 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.

Vomitoxin (or DON, deoxynivalenol) is a mycotoxin derived from a fungus (mold) group called Fusarium, naturally present in soil and plants. Fusarium most often is present in grains such as wheat, barley, oats, and rye. This toxin causes severe gastrointestinal disease when ingested in sufficient amounts.

Escherichia coli (often 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 issues. We test for Shiga Toxin producing E. coli (STEC), which have been known to cause diarrhea with bloody stools, gastroenteritis, kidney failure and hemolytic anemia. In severe cases, infection with STEC organisms has led to irreversible injury to the gastrointestinal tract and death.

Fumonisin is a toxin produced by several species of the genus Fusarium Molds, which occur mainly in grains. Most species are harmless 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. 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.

Ochratoxins (A, B, 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. Ochratoxins may be toxic to humans as it collects in animal meat.

Salmonella spp. is a group of bacteria that have been known to be transmitted to humans or animals through contaminated foods. These organisms can cause illness such as diarrhea, sometimes with bloody stool, nausea, abdominal cramping and in more severe illnesses, urinary tract symptoms. While most people and animals recover with mild to moderate cases of Salmonellosis, hospitalization is often required with severe infections.

Zearalenone (ZEA) is a mycotoxin produced by some species of Fusarum and Gibberella Fungi (mold). Fusarium is a large genus of fungi widely distributed in soil and most species are harmless. However, some species produce mycotoxins in cereal crops, such as corn, barley, oats, wheat, rice, and sorghum, that can affect mammalian health.