Sunshine Mills, Inc. tells TCR no adverse health effects so far and compliance issues raised in 2019 FDA warning letter all addressed; “nothing incomplete”

Alabama-based Sushine Mills, Inc. issued its third aflatoxin recall in less than one year on Friday. This latest recall also marks the company’s fifth recall in about twelve months. Reached for comment late this evening through LinkedIn’s messaging service and asked if it remains the case that there have been no reports of illness or death related to the products, Sunshine’s Vice President of Marketing Ryan Brown wrote:

“There have not been any adverse health effects of any kind reported related to these products. This voluntary recall has been conducted with the FDA, which we always work with on a consistent basis to ensure the safety and compliance of our products.”

Asked about the FDA’s June 2019 warning letter issued to Sunshine, Brown wrote:

“As for any letters that far back, we have long since made any compliance updates and have had the FDA in our facilities for reviews since then. There is nothing incomplete, if that is the question.”

Sunshine, whose products are sold at big-box retailers like Walmart, grocery stores like Kroger, and discount stores like The Family Dollar, makes what it describes on its website as “value” pet food products, “marketed under various Sunshine brands as well as private label offerings. These items can be purchased at most of the major retailers across the USA….”

TCR is still waiting for a response from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Veterinary Medicine. We asked spokeswoman Anne Norris to provide a statement explaining what it would take for a pet food manufacturer to be ordered to stop operating.  TCR is filing new FOIA requests this week and will continue to update this story. Certainly, it’s possible that this recall speaks to successful quality control.

  • On July 29, 2021, Sunshine Mills, Inc. recalled several brands of dog food for possible aflatoxin contamination.
  • In June 2021, Sunshine Mills, Inc. recalled several brands of dog food for possible salmonella contamination.
  • In October 2020, Sunshine expanded the September recall to 23 dog foods and two cat foods.
  • On September 2, Sunshine issued another recall. The reason for the September 2 recall, according to the company announcement, was excessive levels of Aflatoxin, a mold by-product, detected in “routine” sample testing.
  • On August 24, Sunshine Mills recalled its Nature’s Menu Super Premium Dog Food with a Blend of Real Chicken & Quail for possible Salmonella contamination.
  • On June 5, 2019, the FDA issued Sunshine a Warning Letter following findings from 2018-2019 involving vitamin D contamination recalls
  • In December 2018, FDA alerted consumers to multiple dry dog food recalls manufactured by Sunshine Mills. This recall was due to toxic vitamin D levels
    • “According to FDA, Sunshine did not follow its own written procedures for receiving ingredients. The company neither obtained a Certificate of Analysis for the ingredient, nor conducted its own testing to determine whether the Vitamin D it received was the correct concentration for use in dog food. The error resulted in a level of Vitamin D in the finished dog foods of as much as 70 times the target amount. Sunshine was notified on October 23, 2018 about a consumer complaint reporting an ill dog that had eaten one of the company’s dry dog foods. Sunshine investigated the complaint and concluded on November 2nd that it was valid. FDA requires validated complaints to be reported within 24 hours; however, Sunshine did not submit a ‘reportable food report to FDA until six days later, on November 8, 2018. Although the sources of elevated vitamin D were different in these two situations, the course of events was similar.” [Food Safety News]

Following are some of the documents obtained by The Canine Review through Freedom of Information Act requests from the Food and Drug Administration