A company is recalling its dog food products, which were distributed nationally, because they may contain a certain toxin that's "above the acceptable limit."

Sunshine Mills is voluntarily recalling dog food products under the brand names Triumph, Evolve, Wild Harvest, Nurture Farms, Heart to Tail Pure Being and Elm because they may have "potentially elevated levels" of aflatoxin, the company announcement posted on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) website noted.

Aflatoxin is said to be a naturally occurring by-product of certain fungi typically found in agricultural crops such as peanuts, maize and tree nuts. Exposure to aflatoxin typically occurs when people eat contaminated products or when agricultural workers inhale dust in the process of handling crops. It has been associated with an increased risk of liver cancer, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) said.

Pets who consume "unsafe" levels of it can develop aflatoxin poisoning. According to the FDA, pets are "highly susceptible" to aflatoxin poisoning. Unlike humans whose diets are typically varied, pets tend to eat the same kind of food for an extended period of time. As such, the toxins can accumulate in them, the agency noted.

Pets experiencing aflatoxin poisoning may develop symptoms such as loss of appetite, sluggishness, jaundice due to liver damage, vomiting, diarrhea or unexplained bruising.

"Some pets may suffer liver damage without showing any signs in the early stages of aflatoxin poisoning and if they continue eating contaminated food, they may die suddenly," the FDA said.

As such, pet owners who think their pets may have been eating products contaminated with aflatoxin should stop feeding them the "suspected food" and contact their veterinarian immediately, "especially if the pets are showing signs of illness."

So far, the company has not received reports of adverse health effects related to the recall, but has recalled the products as a "precautionary measure." 

"There are no other Triumph, Evolve, Wild Harvest, Nurture Farms, Pure Being, or Elm products or other lot codes of these products affected by this recall," the company announcement noted.

Photos and a full list of the affected products, along with the specific size, lot codes, "best if used by" dates and UPC codes are available on the FDA website. They were distributed to retail stores nationally, with the retailers already having been contacted and asked to remove the affected products from the shelves and inventories.

Those who may have bought any of the affected products should stop feeding them to their pets. They may return the unused portion to where it was bought to get a full refund.

Dog Food Bowl Representation Photo: Mat Coulton/Pixabay