Cat or dog food recalls in the UK are very uncommon, because we hold pet food manufacturers to the same high standards we do for food designed for our own consumption. However, there’s currently a very large-scale cat food recall in place in the UK (June 2021) affecting a number of product lines (but not complete ranges) sold under the Applaws, By Sainabury’s, and AVA cat food brands respectively.
These are regarding a potential association between some of the foods within these ranges, and serious illness in a small but significant number of cats that are fed them.
To find out more about the UK cat food recall for AVA, Applaws, and By Sainsbury’s, plus details of which foods from each brand are affected and why, read on.
All of the cat foods affected by the recall to date (as of 20th June 2021) are dry cat foods manufactured by a company called Fold Hill Foods Ltd.
However, Fold Hill Foods Ltd is a manufacturer, not a brand; and they produce cat food for several different UK brands, and three of these are affected. These are Applaws, AVA, and By Sainsbury’s respectively.
Ava is an own-brand product made for and sold only in Pets At Home, and the By Sainsbury’s food is sold only in Sainsbury’s supermarkets. Applaws is widely sold by many retailers in the UK.
Only certain specific cat foods from within each of these ranges is affected by the recall, not every variant of cat food within their ranges.
However, if you do feed your cat food from any of these brands, you are advised to check immediately if they are affected by the current food recall.
The recall notice for AVA cat food applies to all of the following dry cat food types, and applies to every batch number and best before date. This means if you feed your cat any of these foods, they are affected by the recall.
There are only two By Sainsbury’s cat foods named within the recall, both of hypoallergenic cat foods. Again, the recall notice applies to any batch number or best before date for the foods in question.
The Applaws cat food recall applies to all best before dates of foods with “site code” GB218E5009. This refers to the location the food was made in, and can be found on the packaging of the food itself on the Applaws food.
Fold Hill Foods Ltd., has issued the recall notice for the above-mentioned cat foods because “there is concern over the safety of the products listed.” Put simply, a significant number of cats in the UK have recently become ill with a health condition called pancytopenia (and in some cases, related illnesses). This is usually an incredibly rare condition; the average UK veterinary clinic might see one, or no, cases of this a year.
However, in the last few weeks alone, over 200 cases of pancytopenia have been confirmed, with others under investigation. The only common factor across the cats that have been diagnosed with the condition is that they were fed one of the three above-mentioned food types, which in turn, are all made by Fold Hill Foods, and at one specific facility.
This means that there is not as yet definitive evidence that these foods caused the illness; but sufficient suspicion to warrant a recall pending a definitive conclusion.
If you feed or have fed your cat one of the foods specifically listed above, you must stop feeding it to them immediately. You might understandably wish to speak to your vet, even if your cat appears to be fine, about the risk of illness.
It is important to note that while any cat owner who found they had inadvertently been feeding their cat a food involved in a recall due to suspicions of it causing serious illness will be very concerned, the vast majority of cats fed these foods have suffered no ill effects.
While this is unlikely to be hugely reassuring if it is your cat you have to worry about, it is by no means inevitable or even statistically likely based on what we know so far, that your individual cat will get ill.
If your cat does become ill or you have any suspicions about their health, call your vet right away and inform them of the relevance of their diet and the recall; all UK vets are aware of the recall, the association with pancytopenia, and the risks involved.
You are entitled to a full refund for any of the recalled food even if your cat is totally fine; and if your cat did become ill, you will almost certainly have other recourses in law too.
For further information and to ensure you don’t miss any updates on the recall or foods involved, check the UK Government’s latest information on the recall, the affected foods, and subscribe to updates here.