Do dog food contain mycotoxins?

Should we fear mycotoxins in dog food? Are grain-free kibbles less contaminated?

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What are mycotoxins?

Mycotoxins are toxins produced by microscopic fungi found on our food and that of our pets.

If they are found mainly on foods of plant origin such as cereals, fruits, nuts, almonds, or apples, they can also be found in milk, eggs, meats or offal, if livestock or poultry have been exposed to contaminated feed.

Mycotoxins are very heterogeneous food contaminants whose effects on human and animal he alth are very varied.Some of them are acutely toxic and can cause significant effects when ingested at high doses only once, while others have chronic effects when low-dose contaminated foods are repeatedly ingested. In our latitudes, it is chronic toxicity that is most to be feared because cases of acute poisoning are now quite rare.

The toxicity of mycotoxins depends on the molecule involved. They can be the cause of various disorders such as impaired fertility, kidney damage, immune disorders or even cancer. Aflatoxin B1, a mycotoxin produced by Aspergillus, is thus known to be the most powerful natural carcinogen.

How do mycotoxins develop?

It is during cultivation in the field and during storage that the molds that produce mycotoxins develop. The climate can also strongly influence their development.

Furthermore, mycotoxins are highly resistant to conventional food processing processes such as cooking.

In other words, this means that if we have raw materials contaminated with mycotoxins, we will have contaminated finished products. The fight against mycotoxins is therefore carried out in an integrated way by farmers by adapting their cultivation practices and adopting good food storage practices.

Are our dogs' kibbles contaminated?

It is estimated that 50-70% of food that humans consume is contaminated with mycotoxins at very low levels. It is therefore illusory to think that the foods of our pet foods can escape this global contamination.

In human food, manufacturers are required by regulation to carry out checks and analyzes of their raw materials and finished products so as not to market foods that exceed the authorized standards for mycotoxins.

In animal feed, however, feed manufacturers are not required by law to carry out these checks. However, there are recommendations instead of the control obligations to which serious petfooders nevertheless submit.

Are grain-free kibbles less contaminated with mycotoxins?

Not sure In fact, mycotoxins develop on cereals but not only! They can also affect other plant foods that go into the composition of grain-free croquettes. Mycotoxins can also be found in the meat raw materials that make up these kibbles if the cattle have been fed with contaminated foodstuffs.

In fact, mycotoxins are everywhere and we still lack studies on the issue to say with certainty that grain-free kibble would be less contaminated than the others.

The same is true if you opt for a household diet for your dog made from fresh foods. You will not be able to escape mycotoxins for the reason mentioned in the previous paragraph, namely that 50 to 70% of our foods contain them! The only certainty you will have, in the latter case, is to offer controlled foods to your animal whose mycotoxin levels will not exceed the thresholds set for human food.

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