British retailers recall cat food over 130 cat fatalities

Since April, hundreds of cases of fatal feline pancytopenia have been recorded

Ellie Abraham
Wednesday 23 June 2021 16:50
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Retailers including supermarket Sainsbury’s and pet store Pets at Home are recalling some dry cat food after a series of cat deaths.

Owners are being advised by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and Defra against giving certain products to cats after 150 cases of feline pancytopenia were seen since April.

Pancytopenia is when the number of blood cells (red, white and platelets) decreases rapidly and can be fatal in cats.

The dried food that has been recalled is made by the company Fold Hill Foods, which produces a range of pet foods for a variety of retailers.

The FSA issued a statement in collaboration with Food Standards Scotland and Defra, advising cat owners against feeding them certain products.

It read: “The Food Standards Agency, Food Standards Scotland and Defra are advising cat owners not to feed their cats specific cat food products.

“Since April 2021 there have been over 130 cases of feline pancytopenia, an illness that can often be fatal in cats.”

A government spokesperson confirmed to the FSA that they were investigating a link between cat fatalities and some foods, but there is “no definitive evidence to confirm a link at this stage”.

They said: “No unsafe cat food has been identified but the manufacturer and brand owners affected, based on investigations so far, are taking the precautionary action of recalling and withdrawing cat food products that have been linked to affected cats.”

A spokesperson for Fold Hill Foods told The Independent: “We recognise and appreciate the distress this is causing to many people and are working with organisations including the FSA, Pet Food Manufacturers Association and veterinary authorities to assist them in identifying the source of the Pancytopenia cases.

“To find the cause, investigators are focusing on the reported cases, looking for commonalities between them. This has led them to scrutinise a potential link to the three brands recalled - selected products from AVA, Sainsbury’s and Applaws.

“As soon as Fold Hill Foods became aware of the matter, we issued a voluntary and precautionary recall of these selected cat food products. This was fully supported by the FSA. There have been no other safety concerns raised with other pet foods.

“This is an absolute priority for the business and there are a number of tests on food samples and ingredients being conducted by independent laboratories.

“As stated by the FSA, there is no definitive evidence to confirm a link at this stage between the cat food products and feline pancytopenia.

“We continue to fully co-operate with both the FSA and the Royal Veterinary College as the investigations progress.

“As cat owners ourselves, we fully understand how upsetting and stressful this situation is and the urgent need to establish why there has been an increase in cases of Pancytopenia in the UK.”

The products that have been recalled are:

Sainsbury’s

  • Sainsbury’s Hypoallergenic Recipe complete dry cat food with salmon 1+years 800g
  • Sainsbury’s Hypoallergenic Recipe complete dry cat food with chicken 1+years 800g

Pets at Home

  • Ava Kitten Chicken 300g and 2kg
  • Ava Adult Chicken 300g, 2kg and 4kg
  • Ava Adult Fish 2kg
  • Ava Mature Chicken 7+ 2kg and 4kg
  • Ava Senior Chicken 12+ 2kg
  • Ava Sensitive Skin & Stomach 1.5kg
  • Ava Weight Management 1.5kg
  • Ava Hairball 1.5kg
  • Ava Oral Care 1.5kg
  • Ava British Shorthair 1.5kg
  • Ava Persian 1.5kg
  • Ava Maine Coon 1.5kg

Applaws products (best before date between December 2022 to June 2023 with a site reference code of GB218E5009):

  • Applaws Cat Dry Chicken 400g, 2kg and 7.5kg
  • Applaws Cat Dry Senior Chicken 400g, 2kg and 7.5kg
  • Applaws Cat Dry Chicken & Salmon 400g, 2kg and 7.5kg
  • Applaws Kitten Dry Chicken 400g, 2kg and 7.5kg
  • Applaws Cat Dry Chicken & Lamb 400g, 2kg and 7.5kg
  • Applaws Cat Dry Chicken & Duck 400g, 2kg and 7.5kg
  • Applaws Cat Dry Ocean Fish 350g, 1.8kg and 6kg

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