Culture of Quality | Preventing Mycotoxins

August 09, 2021 3 min read

Drawing of an aflatoxin spore.

Mycotoxin contamination is a common reason that pet foods are recalled. Because of Rayne’s ingredient selection and comprehensive quality control, our diets are low-risk for this issue. Read on to learn more about what mycotoxins are and how Rayne proactively prevents contamination.

WHAT ARE MYCOTOXINS?

Mycotoxins are a category of naturally occurring toxins that are produced by various fungal species. These fungi typically grow on stored ingredients such as corn, grains, and nuts. While fungi are easily killed by heat, the toxic secretions, known as mycotoxins, are heat-resistant and tasteless, making them a dangerous by-product of an otherwise well-known and manageable nuisance.

WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?

Consumption of mycotoxins can cause severe health issues in both humans and pets. Though our bodies are capable of handling small amounts of mycotoxins with no ill-effect, continuous consumption of a contaminated product can lead to negative health outcomes ranging from acute poisoning to long-term chronic conditions. Humans, overall, tend to eat a varied diet, which makes continuously eating a contaminated product unlikely. Our pets, however, often eat the same food scooped from the same bag for every meal, day after day. So if that bag of food happens to be contaminated, it can become a serious issue.

HOW DO YOU PREVENT IT?

Since mycotoxins cannot be killed by heat, the only way to prevent them from being present in the final product is to ensure they are not there in the first place. This can be done by either avoiding the use of at-risk ingredients, or if that is not possible, then to strictly test for mycotoxins on raw ingredients ahead of production. Recalls occur if a company neglects testing at-risk ingredients.

WHAT IS RAYNE DOING?

Rayne diets are low-risk for mycotoxin contamination, a common reason that pet foods are recalled. Mycotoxins are associated with dry products which contain grains, and because many of our diets are designed for highly sensitive pets who require “novel” ingredients, most of our diets do not contain grains. For our products which do contain grains, the source ingredients are tested before they come into the plant.

Our plant has never had a mycotoxin incident with the ingredients used in Rayne diets. 

AFLATOXIN & VOMITOXIN

There are two members of the mycotoxin family that are commonly associated with food recalls: aflatoxin and vomitoxin. Vomitoxin is one of the most common mycotoxins and occurs mainly in grains such as wheat, barley, oats, rye, and corn, and less often in rice, sorghum, and triticale. Aflatoxins are another major grouping of mycotoxins and are considered the most toxic.

To put it in perspective, many quality control tests measure mycotoxins in terms of parts per million. Aflatoxin is so potentially harmful, it is measured in parts per billion. This is our technical (and nerdy) way to stress just how important it is to catch any contamination before there is a problem.

At the time of creating this document, there are five grains and one seed used in various Rayne diets which could present mycotoxin concerns. We test these ingredients before they are even unloaded from the truck when they arrive. This ensures that if we were to receive a contaminated ingredient (like we mentioned previously, we never have!), it would never make it to production - let alone to your pet’s food dish.

DETECTION AND PROACTIVE PREVENTION*

INGREDIENT
PROACTIVE TESTING
DIET

Brown Rice

Each load is tested for aflatoxin (max. 20 ppb) and zearalenone (max. 600 ppm) 

Canine Adult Health-RSS
Canine Healthy Reduction-MCS

Oat Groats

Each load is tested for vomitoxin (max. 2 ppm)

Canine Adult Health-RSS

Millet

Each load is tested for aflatoxin (max. 20 ppb) 

Canine Rabbit-MAINT (with Quinoa)
Canine Crocodilia-MAINT (with Quinoa)
Canine Plant-Based
Canine Adult Optimal Choice 

Sorghum

Each load is tested for vomitoxin (max. 2 ppm) and aflatoxin (max. 20 ppb)

Canine Adult Optimal Choice

Pearled Barley

Each load is tested for vomitoxin (max. 2 ppm) 

Canine Adult Optimal Choice

Quinoa(though technically a seed, this ingredient still poses a risk for mycotoxin contamination)

Each load is tested for vomitoxin (max. 2 ppm) and aflatoxin (max. 20 ppb)

Canine Rabbit-MAINT (with Quinoa)
Canine Crocodilia-MAINT (with Quinoa)
Canine Low Fat Kangaroo-MAINT (with Quinoa)
Canine Plant-Based
Canine Adult Optimal Choice 

*This table is meant to be a helpful resource but is not necessarily an exhaustive list. Even if it is not listed here, all ingredients used in Rayne diets that could present a risk for mycotoxins are tested following these same strict specifications. If you have concerns about an ingredient you do notsee listed, please reach out to us.



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