Cat food: Update on pancytopenia investigation following 330 deaths – production resuming

As early as June, three brands of pet food sold at Pets at Home, Sainsbury’s and other retailers were urgently recalled after suspected links to pancytopenia, a fatal cat disease. The FSA and the manufacturer Fold Hill Foods have published an update on the investigation into cat death.

“No causal link was found between pancytopenia and the recalled cat food products.”

According to the company, the presence of mycotoxins in cat food does not “necessarily” pose a risk to cats.

Although unrelated to the disease, the FSA is warning cat owners not to feed their animals the recalled pet food.

The FSA added, “We are continuing to work with the Animal and Phytosanitary Agency and the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to identify the possible cause of pancytopenia. At the moment we are not ruling out any possible cause. “

A spokesman for Fold Hill Foods said: “After extensive testing and independent expert analysis, the Food Standards Agency has found no causal link between pancytopenia and the cat food products that Fold Hill Foods was recalling as a precautionary measure.

“We anticipate that the investigation, using an interagency approach, will continue to investigate other potential causes of pancytopenia cases, including non-feed related causes.

“With no causal link identified, Fold Hill Foods is working with its local authority to resume production of the three recalled brands.

“As cat owners ourselves, we fully understand how worrying and stressful this ongoing situation is and that there is an urgent need to find out why pancytopenia cases have increased in the UK.”

In a statement, Pets at Home said it was “deeply disappointed” that the FSA could not find a cause for the outbreak.

The animal specialists said, “Pets at Home has been endorsing this investigation, immediately implemented the manufacturer’s voluntary food safety recall, and done everything in our power to warn all of our affected customers.

“We recognize the pain and excitement this disease has caused, and our hearts go out to all families whose cats have suffered.

“We are therefore deeply disappointed that the FSA was unable to find a definitive cause for the worrying increase in pancytopenia in cats.

“For us, pets come first and always will be, which is why, despite the lack of clear answers according to the previous investigations by the FSA, the product recall continues and we will continue to support our customers whose pets are affected.

“We also believe that more research into pancytopenia in cats and its causes is needed, so Pets at Home is providing £ 100,000 to fund further studies that we hope will improve knowledge in this area.”

A Sainsbury spokesman added, “Safety is our top priority and we worked closely with the FSA on the investigation.”

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