Corn shipments were not properly tested for a deadly fungus in the weeks before a South Carolina plant distributed contaminated food that killed at least 35 dogs, according to a government report revealed in The (Columbia) State newspaper.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration determined that Diamond Pet Foods either did not test corn for aflatoxin at its Gaston, S.C., plant or tested inadequately. Since then, Diamond has begun new testing procedures and the manufacturing facility has been cleared to ship out pet food.
The federal agencys report is expected to be released this week, and does not require any penalties for the company.
In a statement posted on its website, Diamond Pet Foods said that it had cooperated fully with the FDA investigation, and added that its testing procedure now includes checking the finished product before it is packaged and sent out. Previously, testing was only done on corn as it arrived.
Diamond voluntarily recalled 18 brands of pet food in 23 East Coast states in December, after some dogs became sick from eating Diamonds products. The recall was later narrowed to two brands Diamond Maintenance Dog and Diamond Premium Adult Dog.
At least 100 dogs died or became sick from aflatoxin poisoning according to estimates from Cornell University and other sources, primarily in South Carolina but also in North Carolina, New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Georgia and Ohio.
Some new cases are still being reported, according to The State.
Posted: Feb. 1, 2006, 3 p.m. EST