META, Mo. -- Diamond Pet Foods released the following statement on the issue of detection of aflatoxin in grain prior to the recall of its contaminated pet food:

"Diamond Pet Foods has seen media reports implying that our company knowingly distributed finished products containing toxic levels of aflatoxin. These reports are false and misleading.

"Prior to the initiation of our current voluntary recall, Diamond Pet Foods had no indication that any finished products manufactured by our Gaston, S.C. facility contained toxic levels of aflatoxin.

"What we did know is there was a higher prevalence of aflatoxin in last year's corn crop. This information was communicated by many state Departments of Agriculture because of the weather conditions the corn crop experienced during its growing season. These conditions included severe drought followed by high moisture, which contributed to the growth of this fungus in the crop.

"Diamond Pet Foods has stringent testing procedures to test loads of corn as they arrive. Last year, our company was rejecting one to two shipments of corn each week because testing revealed high levels of aflatoxin. However, even with stringent testing protocols, aflatoxin can exist in pockets and be missed.

"We have strengthened our testing procedures on incoming shipments of corn, and initiated final product testing as an additive step to our procedures. This additional step will provide an extra layer of protection prior to the bagging and shipping of our products.

"We know this is a tragic situation for our customers. But we will continue to do the right thing and be fair and consistent with all who are affected. Complete information on the voluntary recall can be found at"

SOURCE: Diamond Pet Foods via PR Newswire.