Results of new survey of mycotoxin levels in dry petfood in Brazil raise a big red flag for aquafeed producers. The survey, conducted by Nutriad in 2016, concluded that pet food that contains grain should not be considered safe for cats and dogs in Brazil.
Mycotoxins are highly toxic secondary metabolic products of moulds. They are generally produced by Fusarium, Aspergillus and Penicillium species and found on common feedstuffs such as grains. The discussion about the potential risk of mycotoxins in companion animals has increased due to increased recalls of different pet food products in recent years. Mycotoxins certainly present a potential health threat to companion animals. Dry pet food is of particular concern because of its high cereal content.
The 2016 Nutriad Mycotoxin Survey included 14 commercially available dry pet food (cat and dog) samples bought in Brazil. The 14 dry pet foods of premium and super premium brands were purchased in regular pet shops in Brazil. Almost 100 analyses were conducted to test for the presence of the seven mycotoxins most frequently found in agricultural commodities intended for pet food production. The survey provided an insight into the incidences of aflatoxin B1 (AfB1), ZEN, deoxynivalenol, T-2 toxin, fumonisin B1 (FB1), fumonisin B2 (FB2), and ochratoxin A (OTA) across all regions of Brazil.
All seven mycotoxins were analyzed by liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC MS/MS), rapid high performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (HPLC–MS/MS) and high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) at the Laboratory of mycotoxicological analysis (LAMIC, Brazil). For the purpose of data analysis, non-detection levels were based on the limits of quantification (LOQ) of the test method for each mycotoxin as follows: AfB1 < 1 μg/kg; ZEN < 20 μg/kg; DON < 200 μg/kg; FB1 < 125 μg/kg; FB2 < 125 μg/kg OTA < 2 μg/kg and T-2 toxin < 100 μg/kg.
The results from the survey showed that 93% of the pet food samples were contaminated with FB1 and 85% with FB2. Almost 22 % of the samples contained AfB1. Most of the identified mycotoxins were in concentrations regarded as medium (>LOD but below EU recommendation levels) while the highest concentrations of FB1 and FB2 found reached 2831 μg/kg and 2609,8 μg/kg respectively. Interestingly, 42,85% of the samples contained ZEN, a mycotoxin which affects reproductive performance in breeding animals. Its maximum concentration reached 76,5 μg/kg, a level which is not significant. As expected, none of the samples contaminated DON, T-2 toxin and OTA, a known typical storage mycotoxin.
Percentage of positive samples (>LOQ)