Mycotoxin Binders Not Labeled Legally

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says the claims made by some feed products that they contain mycotoxin binders is illegal. In Kentucky last year, many feeds and supplements were touted as having mycotoxin binders in the face of mare reproductive loss syndrome (MRLS). Kentucky feed regulators now are encouraging manufacturers to discontinue those claims if they aren't scientifically proven. If the regulatory warning doesn't result in improper claims being removed, then regulatory action could be taken to stop the sale of the products in Kentucky.

It is not illegal for the feed binding agents to be in foodstuffs, just to make claims about mycotoxin binding properties. The most common anticaking or pellet binding ingredients are sodium aluminosilicate and hydrated sodium calcium aluminosilicate. Those ingredients should not exceed levels of 2% in accordance with good manufacturing or feeding practices, according to FDA.

In a note from the FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine, it was stated: "CVM is concerned that all mycotoxins are not uniformly bound by anticaking agents and that similar anticaking agents do not bind mycotoxins to the same degree. Furthermore, any mycotoxins which are bound might not remain bound when the feed is consumed and exposed to the acid environment of the gut."

Steve Traylor, Feed Coordinator for the Kentucky Division of Regulatory Services, said consumers should ask if products have been approved for use in horses. "Some Kentucky companies indicated that they will put these compounds in (feeds) year-round. Some products come in original form, and some are mixed with other products that aren't approved for use in horses even though they are approved for use in other species."

Traylor said that if he were a horse owner in Kentucky, he probably would use a product with these anticaking ingredients on the chance that they might provide some benefit, especially if there are no documented safety concerns. However, he warned, some of these binders could potentially interfere with nutrient absorption in the horse. "We don't know how we need to alter nutrition of these feed products, especially if the product has not been in horse feeds before, or been in feeds at these levels."

While Traylor said Kentucky isn't banning these anticaking ingredients, state regulators--in conjunction with FDA guidelines--are asking manufacturers not to claim they are mycotoxin binders without scientific research to prove they work.

About the Author

Kimberly S. Brown

Kimberly S. Brown was the Publisher/Editor of The Horse: Your Guide To Equine Health Care from June 2008 to March 2010, and she served in various positions at Blood-Horse Publications since 1980.

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