Sainsbury’s & Pets at Home urgently recall cat food over potential link to deadly disease

Food recalls aren't that 'common' says expert

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The FSA and the department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs have warned cat owners not to give their pets dry food made on behalf of the brands by manufacturer Fold Hill Foods. General manager Ben Mankertz said: “As cat owners ourselves, we fully understand how upsetting and stressful this situation is for families and although diet has not been confirmed as the cause, we would prefer to act now to ensure the safety of cats.”

It comes after an outbreak of pancytopenia, an illness that can be fatal in felines. 

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

Dr Barbara Glanemann, senior lecturer in small animal medicine at the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) explained: “Typically, we may see one case of this per year, but we have now seen 10 cats with severe pancytopenia in the last four weeks.

“Given the rarity of this condition, the clustering of these cases is concerning.”

The RVC is running a survey of owners who think their cats may be affected.

The FSA have said more than 130 cases of the rare disease have been recorded since April this year.

Products under Sainsbury’s Hypoallergenic Recipe range and Pets at Home’s Ava range are being recalled. 

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

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

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Full list of foods being recalled: 


– 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, 4kg

– Ava Adult Fish 2kg

– Ava Mature Chicken 7+ 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 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 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

Applaws is sold in various pet food shops as well as Amazon.

A Sainsbury’s spokeswoman said: “We are supporting an investigation into a possible safety issue affecting cats.

“We are not willing to take any risks where the safety of our products is concerned and so we are voluntarily recalling these products and asking customers not to use them and to return the packs to their nearest Sainsbury’s store for a full refund.”

A Pets at Home spokesperson said that it was aware of the rise in the fatal disease.

They said: “The health and wellbeing of pets is our top priority, which is why we are supporting the manufacturer’s product recall of Ava and Applaws dry cat food ranges.

“This is a precautionary measure while further investigations are carried out and we are working closely with the Food Standards Agency, RVC and wider industry to determine the cause.”

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