Mycotoxins in pet food: A review on worldwide prevalence and preventative strategies

Maxwell C.K. Leung, Gabriel Díaz-Llano, Trevor K. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

102 Scopus citations


Mycotoxins contaminate cereal grains worldwide, and their presence in pet food has been a potential health threat to companion animals. Aflatoxins, ochratoxin A, and Fusarium mycotoxins have been found in both raw ingredients and final products of pet food around the globe. Aflatoxin, a hepatotoxin and carcinogen, has caused several food poisoning outbreaks in dogs, and aflatoxin content is regulated in pet food in many countries. Ochratoxin A and Fusarium mycotoxins including trichothecenes, zearalenone, and fumonisins may have chronic effects on the health of companion animals. Grain processing, sampling error, analytical methods, conjugated mycotoxins, storage conditions, and synergistic interactions are common challenges faced by the pet food industry. Food-processing techniques such as sieving, washing, pearling, ozonation, and acid-based mold inhibition reduce the mycotoxin content of cereal grains. Dietary supplementation with large neutral amino acids, antioxidants, and omega-3 polysaturated fatty acids as well as inclusion of mycotoxin-sequestering agents and detoxifying microbes may ameliorate the harmful effects of mycotoxins in contaminated pet food.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9623-9635
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Issue number26
StatePublished - Dec 27 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Analytical techniques
  • Feed sampling
  • Food processing
  • Microbial detoxification
  • Mycotoxin-sequestering agent
  • Mycotoxins
  • Nutrient supplementation
  • Pet food
  • Surveys

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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