Aflatoxin in Equine feed

AVMA Update  Published in May 08 includes

HorseFeathers Veterinary Service, PLLC 

Purina recalls horse feed because of aflatoxin

Purina Mills issued a recall of certain horse feeds and other products through local dealers in mid-February after tests detected aflatoxin in an ingredient, and the company released an update about the situation in May following questions from animal owners.

In February, company tests of incoming ingredients and routine state regulatory testing at a manufacturing plant in Statesville, N.C., found aflatoxin concentrations exceeding the Food and Drug Administration’s action levels. An internal investigation determined that a single ingredient from a single supplier was the source of the aflatoxin. The supplier also served the Purina Mills plants in Harrisburg, Pa., and Guilderland, N.Y.

Purina Mills suspended purchases from the supplier. The recall does not apply to products that the Statesville or Harrisburg plants manufactured after Feb. 8 or that the Guilderland plant manufactured after March 10.

The recall applies to products in the following states: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia. The recall also applies to products in eastern Tennessee and northern Georgia.

A list of products subject to the recall is available at


What is an aflatoxin?

Aflatoxins are a form of mycotoxin and are secondary metabolites
produced by _Aspergillus_ spp. fungi. According to Gary Osweiler,
DVM, PhD, professor of veterinary toxicology at Iowa State
University, effects of aflatoxins can be progressive as well as
cumulative. At levels greater than 50 ppb (parts per billion),
aflatoxins can cause signs such as feed refusal, fever, weight loss,
sluggishness, liver damage, jaundice, bloody diarrhea, kidney damage,
birth defects, tumors, and suppressed immune function.

If you see or suspect any of the above clinical signs, contact your Veterinarian.  Some of those clinical signs listed above can be caused by many and various stimuli.  Your Veterinarian is the one who can best determine if your horse has a problem and what is the cause.


It has been my finding that speaking to your local feed store, either in person or by phone, is worthwhile.  The ones I have spoken to have been very open and have tracked the feed they have to offer on their shelves to assure me that what I'm purchasing for my horses is not at risk for containing aflatoxin.

So, please, talk to the feed store owner and ask.  The good and reliable feed store owners will not only be aware of what they have on their shelves, but also will do the back tracking as needed to assure you the customer that what you are feeding your horse is safe.