Cat food recall update after ‘toxins’ found in ‘number of samples’ after disease outbreak

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The FSA and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs warned feline owners last month not to give their pets dry food made by manufacturer Fold Hill Foods. It came after an outbreak of pancytopenia in the UK, an illness that can be fatal in cats.

The condition causes a rapid decline in the number of blood cells, causing serious illness.

The disease is usually very rare, with vets expecting to see around one case per year.

Since the initial recall, there have been updates regarding the batches affected.

The FSA said: “This product recall information notice has been updated to include all best before dates for Applaws products with the site code GB218E5009.

“This is not due to the identification of further safety concerns, but is a voluntary action by the manufacturer to make things easier for consumers to understand which products have been affected.”

At the time, A Government spokesperson said: “There is no definitive evidence to confirm a link at this stage.

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

After an investigation, the FSA updated its website with some news for cat owners.

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The FSA said: “The presence of mycotoxins has been identified in a small number of samples of the recalled cat food tested to date.

“Mycotoxins are naturally occurring toxins produced by certain moulds.

“Mycotoxins are widely found in some types of feed and food and do not, in themselves, indicate they are the cause of feline pancytopenia.”

Applaws, AVA and Sainsbury’s own brand dry hypoallergenic cat food products were amongst those being recalled.

This means that regulators will continue to investigate the batches, undertaking wider sampling and broader screening for any possible toxins.

The FSA added: “The FSA’s product recall notice details all the affected products that were recalled by the business as a precaution on June 17.

“We are urging cat owners to check the list of products, stop feeding them to their cats and return them to the store they were purchased from.”

The recall came after it was reported that as many as 319 cats have now died in the UK, with as many as 500 being affected by pancytopenia. 

A Royal Veterinary College spokesperson said: “Our investigations are ongoing, and we are still collecting data from practising veterinarians, as well as testing food samples associated with affected and unaffected cats to determine the significance of these findings.

“We have shared our results with the FSA to assist it with its investigations into this matter.

“To support our ongoing efforts, we are encouraging vets who have seen cats with unexplained severe thrombocytopenia or neutropenia, with or without current anaemia, to complete our survey.”

Anyone who is worried about their feline companion should seek veterinary advice.

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