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Goss’s Wilt

Goss’s Wilt

If your pet food contains a corn ingredient, you have one more concern…Goss’s wilt.  Goss’s wilt is a bacterial infection of corn.  Genetic engineering is/was supposed to prevent the bacteria, but despite genetic engineering, Goss’s wilt is reported to be prevalent in corn crops across the Midwest this summer.  And our friend – Dr. Gary Pusillo (animal feed forensic scientist) – warns if Goss’s wilt corn makes it into pet foods, the outcome will be bad.

Goss’s wilt is described as a bacteria (Cornebacterium nebraskense) that ultimately can destroy 50% of a corn crop and make it prone to deadly aflatoxins. Leaves on the corn plant turn brown and resemble drought stricken plants and other plant diseases. The disease can survive in debris over winter, reinfecting the next crop or it can be spread on farm equipment and legs of animals.

The concern for pet food consumers is grain experts state Goss’s wilt corn is linked to deadly aflatoxins. Aflatoxin contamination in pet foods can be deadly, even small amounts of aflatoxins over years can result in serious illness. “After ingestion, aflatoxins are absorbed and carried to the liver via the circulatory system.  They are then converted by the liver into toxic reactive epoxides which bind covalently to intracellular macromolecules such as DNA, RNA and protein enzymes, resulting in damage to liver cells.”

Besides the risk of aflatoxins with grain ingredients, there is another concern. In researching Goss’s wilt, the main chemical in Monsanto’s weed control product Roundup – glyphosate – kept being listed in Google searches for more information. Many experts around the world are linking glyphosate to plant diseases – including Goss’s wilt and serious health risks including birth defects, genetic damage, cancer, neurological and behavior changes, brain tumors and more.

Dr. Michael Fox – friend and pet health advocate provides a very concerning review of glyphosates stating “My advice to consumers, parents and pet owners alike, is to avoid all corn, canola, beet sugar and soy-containing consumables unless they are organically certified. All community uses of herbicides and other pesticides need to be confronted especially where their use exposes children and companion animals to unnecessary risk, as well as indigenous wildlife, including aquatic affected by run-off. Garden supply centers should be informed and only permitted to sell less harmful lawn and garden weed control products. Applying the precautionary principle, in the light of considerable scientific evidence of the health risks of this class of chemicals, is common sense after all is said and done.”

A Wales based website shares that science has linked glyphosate to intestinal disorders…”glyphosate can cause micronutrients, especially manganese, to become unavailable and thus lead to deficiency diseases. A similar process is suspected to take place in the digestive tract of humans and animals. In certain circumstances, glypohosate can affect the microflora of the gastrointestinal tract of humans and animals. The first studies dealing with this topic fear that the gradual negative impact on the intestinal microflora is most likely the cause of long-term health consequences.”

And then there is still the concern of what the bacteria itself of Goss’s wilt might cause to the pets that would consume corn effected by the bacteria.

Any way you look at it, there is little benefit of corn ingredients in our pet foods.


Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,

Susan Thixton
Association for Truth in Pet Food
Pet Food Safety Advocate
Author Buyer Beware, Co-Author Dinner PAWsible

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  1. Here are the PFs I see most often being purchased in bulk from the large stores. Look at the ingredient they all have in common. It just makes me shudder.
    Beneful: Ground yellow corn, chicken by-product meal, corn gluten meal, whole wheat flour, animal fat preserved with mixed-tocopherols (form of Vitamin E)

    Ol’ Roy: Ground yellow corn, meat and bone meal, soybean meal, chicken by-product meal, wheat middlings, animal fat (preserved with BHA and citric acid)

    Pedigree: Ground Whole Corn, Meat and Bone Meal, Corn Gluten Meal, Animal Fat (preserved with BHA and Citric Acid) Ground Whole Wheat

    Purina One Smart Blend: Turkey, corn gluten meal, soy flour, animal fat preserved with mixed-tocopherols (form of Vitamin E), poultry by-product meal (natural source of glucosamine), whole wheat, whole corn, soybean meal, brewers rice, corn germ meal

  2. Didn’t you write a while ago that Big Pet Food wanted to change the regulations to allow a higher level of aflatoxin than was currently allowed?

    • FDA made changes a couple of years ago allowing higher levels of aflatoxins in some livestock feed. And in some cases they give special permissions to mix high level aflatoxin grains with low level. With pet foods, the max allowed is 20 part per million (ppm).

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        Grain dealers must complete a compliance agreement with the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship before doing any blending

        DES MOINES – The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the Department’s request to allow corn containing more than 20 parts per billion (ppb) of aflatoxin to be blended with corn with lower levels or no aflatoxin for animal feed. This allows the corn to be safely fed to livestock pursuant to the FDA’s long-standing guidelines.

        Before doing any blending of corn containing aflatoxin, the grain dealers and the Department must sign a compliance agreement. A memorandum outlining the application process and a copy of the compliance agreement will be sent to all grain dealers licensed by the Department and can also be found on the Department’s website at under “Hot Topics.”

        The compliance agreement outlines the requirements for grain dealers that will be blending corn containing aflatoxin.

        These requirements including that the blended product is below the appropriate aflatoxin action level in corn used as or in animal feed as outlined in FDA Guidance Document, Compliance Policy Guide- Section 683.100, “Action Levels for Aflatoxin in Animal Feeds.” FDA granted Iowa a similar request during droughts in 2003 and 2005 when aflatoxin was found in the state.

        Also, each batch of blended corn must be analyzed to determine the aflatoxin level. The analysis must be performed using approved sampling and analysis protocols and testing procedures outlined by the USDA Grain Inspection, Packers & Stockyards Administration (GIPSA). These results must be provided to the purchaser of the blended corn. The purchaser must also provide written assurance that the corn will be used for feed consistence with FDA guidance.

        Finally, the blended corn must be clearly identified and labeled for animal feed use only and corn containing aflatoxin levels greater than 500 ppb cannot be blended.

        On August 15, 2012 the Department submitted a request to FDA to allow corn containing more than 20 ppb of aflatoxin to be blended with non-aflatoxin containing corn for animal feed.

        The Department has also started requiring the testing of all milk for aflatoxin starting on August 31, 2012.

        The FDA has established guidelines for acceptable aflatoxin levels in corn based on its intended use. Corn containing aflatoxin in concentrations of greater than 20 ppb cannot be used for human consumption and cannot be used for feed for dairy animals or for immature livestock of others species. Corn containing aflatoxin at 100 ppb or less can be used in breeding cattle and swine and mature poultry. Corn with 200 ppb or less can be used with finishing swine greater than 100 lbs. in weight and corn with 300 ppb or less can be used in finishing beef cattle.


        • And who follows up to ensure that the final user follows the rules? If they understand the danger they wouldn’t buy it in the first place. If they believe the danger is exaggerated they could just ignore it and use it as they wish, who checks up on that?

  3. Dr. Fox wrote an interesting essay discussing one theory, that genetically modified vegetables interacted in an unpredictable way when introduced with melamine (added by profit mongers as a substitute for protein source in pet food formulas). This may explain why melamine, which was not an unknown additive/adulteration, combined with with cyanuric acid, (a constituent of urine) and formed insoluable crystals leading to renal failure, particularly in cats.

  4. I am researching pet foods because I needed to make a change for our Newfoundland and pet skunk. Skunks are touchy little things and I believe they are the canary in the family when there is something amiss in air, water or food. Though we feed clean meat and veggies and fruit, organic grains and such, and no dairy, Lacey started to vomit often, developed a stool problem, fur rough. We took her off everything and re-introduced foods that seemed bland enough, sorry to say that included the dry kibble, some of which she also would find after Danny Boy ate. The vet thought pancreatitis because we were not feeding her their prescribed ‘zoo food’. But when I learned of the GMOs and glyphosate, I realized the problem was likely her snacks of Eagle Pack Holistic dog food. That or the aflatoxin or both. We took her off the dog food snacks and her health issues cleared, her appetite became stable again. I am researching more info and on a crusade to find pet foods that can be chosen with confidence that they get it. Acana seems to be one, waiting for email to be answered.

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