Thursday, November 27, 2008

Orijen Dry Cat Food Problems in Australia: Answers

Champion Pet Foods, makers of Orijen, have posted a pdf explaining why the Australian cats developed neurological problems and some had to be euthanized as a result. In a nutshell, Australia required Orijen cat food to be irradiated at a very high level which knocked out the food's Vitamin A and caused the fatty acids to oxidize. The Orijen dog food coming into Australia is also irradiated but no dogs have been reported ill by their owners. Champion explains:
[C]ats require higher levels of vitamins than dogs (AAFCO 2008), and cats are highly
sensitive to changes in vitamins or oxidative by-products (such as occur from irradiation).
As a result, Orijen will no longer be shipped - cat or dog (since it's possible cats could eat the dog food) - to Australia.

I think this a good response from a pet food company faced with a recall in which pets, in this case cats, became ill and died as a result of eating the company's product. Imagine if other pet food manufacturers handled past, present and future problems reported with their foods in this same manner. Yeah, I'm looking at YOU Menu Foods and Nutro. ahem.


jan said...

Good for Orijen, a real stand up company.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to destroy the illusion.
Peter Muhlenfeld of Champion Petfoods spoke to one owner by phone and claimed they did not find out about the irradiation until August 2008. Posts by Champion sales staff on online pet chat forums claimed the same.
Documents obtained from the Australian Government under the freedom of information act show that their importer told Champion about the irradiation in August 2007 and got their consent to irradiate. Media reports often talk about Australian Quarantine "demanding" or "requiring" the food to be gamma irradiated. This is not the case. It is offered as an OPTION. The alternatives are further moist heat treatment (which might not always be appropriate) or just don't bother importing it into Australia unless the food is cooked to 100 deg C for 30 minutes during manufacture. The importer (and by implication Champion, since he claims to have corresponded with them to obtain their blessing for the irradiation) were given written warnings to take independent advice as to whether irradiation would be suitable for the product before going ahead as are ALL importers. They didn't bother. Only AFTER the trouble arose did they irradiate samples themselves and run tests. They took over 2 months to recall the food even though the balance of probability was that it was their food causing paralysis and deaths in the cats as it was the only common denominator in all cases and no cat presenting with the issues had NOT been fed Orijen. Meanwhile owners, kept unaware, continued to buy and feed the product. They are failing to meet all the expenses of the affected owners and are failing to communicate with them in anything like a timely or transparent manner.
All this highlights the need for independent regulation of the pet food industry, which is currently self-regulated by companies more intent on protecting their bottom line rather than the pet owning consumers whose interests they proclaim to have at heart.
Public Informer , Australia

Daniela said...

today 26.02.2011
I was browsing the catplanet website : and came across and article about the cat food Orijen! This is the Canadian dry cat food I choose to feed to my cats (as a treat only and not as a main meal) because it was supposed to be closer to their healthy natural diet. Early August 2010 both my two Siamese cats had wobbly back legs and struggled to walk straight. They appeared drunk. They had an incredible hunger and did not seem to find their balance. My older Siamese of 12 years, stopped eating altogether and after five days died. The younger Siamese of 2 years started to have very bad seizures. We where at the vet every day for both of them and then a neurologist too, nobody knew what it could be. The younger Siamese has stopped having seizures now but I also stopped feeding Orijen only because my cats have appeared to go off it. There was never an Orijen recall in Italy that I was aware of and I only found this article today by chance!!!
This was supposed to be such a good quality food !
Please let all your breeder friends know about this.