Jump to content
BC Boards

Diamond -- DUHHHHHHH!


Recommended Posts

Originally posted by ccnnc:

Wouldn't it be reasonable to expect a dog food manufacturer to test the quality of the ingredients it uses BEFORE those ingredients are used!

Sad but true... there are a number of those large commercial dog food manufacturer's that don't use quality control before selling their products.


Are any of your bags on the suspected list?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Since I work for a firm that works with manufacturers, some of whom are process manufacturers in the food industry, I asked a couple of our consultants when quality control testing takes place. There is no *one* answer but apparently many, but not all, manufacturers rely on the quality control at their suppliers. That is, the manufacturer tells the supplier what they expect in terms of quality and the supplier is certified as to the quality of the ingredients being supplied (meaning that the supplier has shown the manufacturer that it has the system in place to be able to supply the standard/quality of ingredients that the manufacturer wants). According to one of the people I talked to, some food manufacturers will still do some "ad hoc" testing from within their own processes, but they don't necessarily do this since their supplier is already testing to the certification required by the manufacturer. With human food products, FDA regulations apply (obviously), so if a food producer is making a particular product and needs ingredients from a supplier, and the supplier meets FDA standards, then the producer shouldn't expect that it's receiving anything less than products that meet FDA requirements from its suppliers. Granted, dog food isn't FDA regulated (edited to add: apparently FDA does have a say in pet foods, given what I found and posted below), but standard practices do exist across industries, so it's perfectly reasonable to assume that the onus for providing clean corn fell on the corn supplier. It's a bit unfair to assume that Diamond is knowingly using substandard or untested ingredients, when it's entirely possible that the supplier was responsible for quality control and the failure actually occurred at that point. And if a manufacturer is spending money to retest an ingredient (which at least in the human food industry some do) that has already been tested by the supplier, guess who will pay for the extra testing? Anyway, the point is that the failure may not have been Diamond's and what happened at the Diamond plant doesn't mean that all dog food manufacturers are failing to use quality control.


Oh, and FWIW, y'all have probably heard this before, but even FDA allows a certain number of rat hairs or bug parts in human food, so quality if sort of relative....


An, no, I am not on Diamond's payroll and yes, my dogs did eat one of the affected products for close to two weeks (fortunately blended with one of their other, unaffected products), so I am one of those folks who's curious as to how soon symptoms appear and how long after exposure one can quit worrying about watching for symptoms.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Even though I'm something of a raw food fanatic, I'm not really prepared to blame Diamond particularly for this fiasco. I suspect it's impossible to test every kernel of corn that comes in and as they say, it just takes one bad apple. No matter what brand you feed, if it contains corn, this is a risk during dry hot years.


California Natural, which is made by a very, very conscientious company (Natura) had a similiar thing happen several years ago. I've forgotten what the contaminant was (some kind of chemical), but it not only was dangerous in itself but it also caused the bagged food to spoil.


It's a risk you run when you feed kibble. There's no way to know what's in those little brown chunks unless, as in this case, the company is very straighforward about what happened.


I would be more concerned if this happened and Diamond were the last to admit it. Anybody remember the Ol' Roy brouhaha from about ten years ago? It took several dog deaths and autopsies before Walmart recalled the food.


If I fed Diamond products (I don't anymore but I made the change a couple months ago) - I'd actually feel a little more confident that the company is a straight-shooter and is more eager to make it right than to protect their bottom line. Of course, if a lot of people think the way I do, playing it above the table WILL protect their bottom line.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

First, in my searching the web for info on this I found out that this year was a particularly bad year in the Midwest for alfatoxin. Second, the mold continues to grow on crops after it is harvested and stored meaning that the most appropriate time to test for this is when the corn is being used. Finally, the mold (and the toxin produced by the mold) is not uniformly distributed throughout the field or kernels in the bins making it harder to find.


Read this.

The toxins are produced inside the corn kernels and their presence can be determined only by analytical tests. Because aflatoxin levels vary greatly from kernel to kernel, sampling is the most critical step in determining actual levels of aflatoxin.


How to sample corn for aflatoxin testing


Because aflatoxin does not occur uniformly through a field or lot of grain, the best approach is to make a composite sample consisting of subsamples from every part of a load, bin, or other unit of corn. Sampling recommendations vary by the type of lot to be sampled. In general, the smaller the sample size, the higher the variability. The USDA handbook cited above reports sampling errors of about 40% of the value for 10 lb samples, increasing to about 100-125% of the value for 1 lb samples.


Grain in Bins

The recommended procedure is to sample periodically from each load as the grain is being placed in the bin, combining these samples to obtain a composite corn sample of 10 lb or more. As a bin is being filled, take a 1 lb cut with a pan or coffee can from each load. Sample at about the middle of unloading. Combine the load samples, and take the entire composite sample to the laboratory that will perform the test. The lab will have the correct equipment for reducing sample size before grinding. Do not climb on the wagon or into the combine grain tank to collect samples; this is not safe. Sampling at bin filling is the best way to collect information for future feeding or marketing decisions.


An alternative is to sample with a power probe through a storage unit (five perimeter samples and one center sample for each 6 feet of bin height). Again take the entire composite sample to the laboratory. The objective in either case is to get about 1 lb of sample per 500 bushels. This is essentially the same sampling frequency used by USDA GIPSA for Official aflatoxin measurements of flowing grain as it is being loaded on ships for export. Most elevators loading railcars, barges and ships are equipped with diverter samplers, which take a 1 lb cut approximately every 500 bushels of grain.



Grain in Trucks or Wagons

Grain in trucks or wagons can be probed to collect at least 5 lb of sample per load. Take 5-7 probes per load (depending on the amount of grain per probe). The GIPSA sampling pattern for trucks is shown below. Larger containers, such as railcars or barges, have expanded probe sampling patterns; see the GIPSA mycotoxin handbook, for probe sampling patterns to use in various situations.


Recognize that even a 5 lb sample is a loss of accuracy compared to a 10 lb sample. Smaller samples are a compromise for practicality reasons. However, a single truckload is far less grain than is in an entire bin; the error of analysis affects less grain and can be counterbalanced by the testing of multiple loads.


Since all sampling and testing procedures are subject to error, it is wise to identify for each load received (and accepted) the storage bin in which it was first placed. Maintain a composite sample for each bin by collecting a divided 1-lb (approximate) subsamples of each load in large container (eg 5 gallon bucket). When a bin is full, mix its composite and submit for laboratory analysis. Large bins may have several composites, representing layers. This procedure will provide a backup to screening at delivery and a more accurate inventory picture of the corn as it is in storage for future sale. Retention of this composite is the same as collecting the composite when filling farm bins.


Grain in the Field

In the field, sample individual fields or parts of fields separately. Fields that vary in cropping history, tillage practices, planting date, soil type, or hybrid can differ greatly in aflatoxin vulnerability. Sample a minimum of 10 to 30 locations within each field. To reach the same sampling frequency as testing grain in trucks, collect one sample (5-10 lb) for about every 5 acres. This would be about 2 ears per acre sampled. Use a GPS-based grid if the field is mapped.


Immediately dry ear samples to 12?14 percent moisture to prevent aflatoxin development during transit or storage. High-moisture samples should be frozen and delivered to the laboratory in the frozen state. Dried samples maintain their quality best if shipped in cloth bags (as opposed to plastic bags). Do not use paper bags; there is too much chance of breakage. If the laboratory cannot shell the ears themselves, do not have them shelled more than a day in advance of delivering to the lab.


Source: Sampling and Testing For Aflatoxin in Corn

Since this was a bad year for alfatoxin, I wonder if we?ll be hearing (or should be hearing) more recalls because of contaminated corn.


A toxic fungal residue has affected 30% of the corn crop in some Midwestern states ? an aftereffect from this summer's drought. Janet Babin reports.


Aflatoxin hits corn crops

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by Rebecca, Brook Cove Farm:

I suspect it's impossible to test every kernel of corn that comes in and as they say, it just takes one bad apple.

Good point Rebecca and one I forgot to mention. Even those producers who do test incoming ingredients are only sampling, not testing *everything* that comes in. Presumably they do this according to a statistical method that allows them to say that the sample is representative of the entire batch, but I imagine there can be failures with such methods.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

While the Diamond products I use don't contain corn (Lamb & Rice & Chicken Soup), the fact that Diamond has been up front from the get go and trying to rectify the problem is a good sign in my book. I have to respect a company like that. I'll continue to buy the Diamond products that I use and I hope that this is resolved soon for everyone's sake.


As Rebecca said, there is a risk to kibble. You have to rely on the integrity of the manufacturer. A manufacturer who has taken the course of action that Diamond has, IMO, has integrity.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't know where this information originally came from, but there has been some discussion of aflatoxin poisoning on Tick-L. According to what I have read (and none of this has come from the vets on the list) 14 days seems to be the magic number. I don't always read Tick-L closely, but will do so now in case there is some real medical information available there.


I'm with Vicki about Diamond.


edited to add: Here is a site with aflatoxin links, in case anyone wants to read up on it:




Here's one of those links:



And a quote therefrom:

Aflatoxins are considered unavoidable contaminants of food and feed, even where good manufacturing practices have been followed. The FDA has established specific guidelines on acceptable levels of aflatoxins in human food and animal feed by establishing action levels that allow for the removal of violative lots from commerce. The action level for human food is 20 ppb total aflatoxins, with the exception of milk which has an action level of 0.5 ppb for aflatoxin M1. The action level for most feeds is also 20 ppb. However, it is very difficult to accurately estimate aflatoxins concentration in a large quantity of material because of the variability associated with testing procedures; hence, the true aflatoxin concentration in a lot cannot be determined with 100% certainty.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It can happen to any kibble that contains grain.


In 1995 Nature's Recipe pulled thousands of tons of dog food off the shelf after consumers complained that their dogs were vomiting and losing their appetite. Nature's Recipe's loss amounted to $20 million. The problem was a fungus that produced vomitoxin, an aflatoxin, which is a subset of mycotoxin, a poison given off by mold contaminated the wheat.


Source: What's Really in Pet Food

In late 1998, Doane Products, the manufacturer of a large number of private-label foods including Ol' Roy, recalled over 50 lines of foods it produces. The deaths of approximately 25 dogs were attributed to aflatoxin, a deadly toxin that was found in the corn Doane had used in its products.


Source: Nexux Mag

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...