Bad dog food in Taiwan

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, January/February 2009:
TAIPEI–Moldy corn imported from Pakistan and made into dog
food killed more than 1,000 dogs at animal shelters in four Taiwan
counties, the Taiwan Council of Agriculture disclosed on January 5,
The lethal ingredient was aflatoxin, a form of naturally
occurring mycotoxin, produced by fungi that grow on grain.
Aflatoxin is usually neutralized by cooking at high temperatures, a
normal part of pet food manufacturing, but since 2005 aflatoxin
incidents have also killed 17 dogs in New York state, 23 in Israel,
more than 600 in Venezuela, and an unknown number in China, where
the Shanghai Yidi Pet Company halted distribution of a contaminated
dog food line in early January 2009. Company spokespersons agreed
that the contaminated food was imported, but disagreed as to whether
the source was Taiwan or Australia.
The Taiwanese maker, Ji-Tai Forage, recalled and composted
29 metric tons of “Peter’s Kind-Hearted Dog Food,” produced only for
shelter consumption. About 20 metric tons appeared to have been
eaten by dogs without incident, and 1,450 metric tons of pig feed
made from the moldy corn contained no aflatoxin, according to spot
checks–but some dog food samples contained many times the known
lethal dose level.
Taiwanese public shelters were notorious in the 1990s for
refusing to kill impounded dogs, in keeping with Buddhist belief,
but allowing the dogs to starve instead. This was banned in 1998 as
part of a new national humane law, along with selling dogs to dog
meat restaurants, which was believed to the fate of up to a third of
all impounded dogs. The law banned selling dog meat altogether.
ANIMAL PEOPLE last received reports about Taiwanese shelters
violating these provisions of the 1998 law in 2002, but still
receives frequent complaints about overcrowding and lack of
veterinary care.

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