Canada: anti-caking agent recalled over dioxin concerns

By Aerin Einstein-Curtis contact

- Last updated on GMT

© iStock/Zerbor
© iStock/Zerbor

Related tags: Feed ingredient, Canadian food inspection agency

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency advised a manufacturer to recall a feed ingredient from the Canadian marketplace due to unacceptable levels of dioxins.

The recommendation for the recall came from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and was based on the finding of “unacceptable”​ levels of dioxins in the diatomaceous earth feed ingredient. It is manufactured by Canadian-based Absorbent Products Ltd.

The product in question is Red Lake Earth – Diatomaceous Earth Diatomite, the agency said. The product can be used in feed as an inert carrier or anti-caking agent, other uses for the product include as an ammonia control agent, stall or barn deodorizer, pest control agent, soil amendment and in cat litter and other pet care items.  

“The objective of this recall is to prevent further exposure in livestock, humans and the environment,” ​the CFIA told us. “In addition, the recall is to support the production of safe food by preventing contaminants from accumulating in the food chain.”

The recall covers all lots of the product designed to be used as a feed ingredient, the agency said. However, it does not include complete feeds, supplements or premixes that have been made with the product.

“The concentrations of dioxins in the contaminated feed source and the potential transfer to foods of animal origin (for example, milk) are not considered an immediate animal or human health concern,” ​the agency said.

Recall details

The company offers its diatomaceous earth product in 20, 40 and 1,000lb iterations and at several granulation levels.

“The CFIA continues to work with the recalling firm, Absorbent Products Ltd, to identify the distribution of this product and the amount of product to be recalled from the Canadian marketplace,” ​the agency said.

The products being recalled appear to have been sold throughout the country, it added.

However, the agency is working to establish more specific information as it works with the company to monitor the recall, the CFIA said.

The recall is focused on the products that are designed to be added as a feed ingredient rather than all products that include diatomaceous earth, because if other products like compete feeds, supplements and premixes are used according the directions the amount of dioxin present will be low, said the agency. “The estimated concentrations of these contaminants in complete feed are not expected to result in residues of concern in foods of animal origin nor will they be harmful to the animals consuming such feeds,”​ it added. 

The company did not respond to requests for comment on the matter.

In addition to work in Canada, the company lists multiple distributors in the US.

Dioxin concerns

Dioxins are often found in low levels in the global food chain, said the CFIA. They can be released through both natural and industrial processes.

“The recall was prompted by the high levels of dioxins found in samples of this product,” ​the agency said. “The levels of dioxins found in the samples analyzed exceeded the CFIA’s action level of 1.5 ng WHO-TEQ/kg for minerals, mineral complexes, and anti-caking agents used in livestock feeds.”

In the US, there are no tolerances or administrative levels set by the FDA to allow dioxins in feed, said the US Food and Drug Administration. Some dioxins are considered to have the potential to be carcinogens at low levels of exposure over a period of time.

Previously, a series of animal feed contaminations with dioxin was noted​ in the US in 1997, the FDA said. That prompted a product known as “ball clay”​ to cease being accepted for use as an ingredient in animal feed by the Association of American Control Officials.

Additionally, other mined clays and naturally generated anticaking agents were sampled for dioxin presence.  

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