A pet-food manufacturer linked to more than 130 pet deaths and hundreds of pet illnesses has been issued a corporate-wide warning by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration after inspections of its sites revealed apparent violations.

Midwestern Pet Foods, Inc. was told Tuesday it has 15 days to fix any violations, or it could face legal action, including seizure of all products.

According to the FDA, the violations shared across multiple plants were associated with deaths and illnesses of pets who had eaten the company's dry dog food.

Midwestern's brands are distributed nationwide and online. The initial inspection of Midwestern's plant in Chickasha, Oklahoma was triggered by reports of issues among dogs that had eaten SPORTMiX brand dry dog food, the FDA said. Samples were found to contain dangerously high levels of a toxin.

"The FDA is dedicated to taking all steps possible to help pet owners have confidence that the food they buy for their animal companions is safe and wholesome," said Steven Solomon, director of the FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine. "It is imperative that manufacturers and distributors of pet foods understand their responsibility to comply with all requirements of federal law and FDA regulations and, when applicable, to implement a robust hazard analysis and risk-based preventive controls program."

The company in January voluntarily recalled a number of products connected to its Chickasha plant, and in March recalled several brands of pet food manufactured in its Monmouth, Illinois plant after samples tested positive for salmonella.

The FDA said its current count of impacted pets — more than 130 deaths and more than 220 illnesses — is approximate and may not reflect the total number.

Contact reporter Dino Flammia at dino.flammia@townsquaremedia.com.

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