WA Today: “Cat deaths linked to pet food“:
Unexplained chronic illness and death among Sydney cats has been linked to a gourmet imported pet food withdrawn from stores over the past three weeks.
A cat neurologist, Georgina Child, has put down five cats over the past week and treated or consulted with other vets about more than a dozen others suffering from paralysis.
Dr Child, who is based at the University of Sydney’s veterinary hospital and the Small Animal Specialist Hospital in North Ryde, said the only factor that linked all the cats was a specialist pet food called Orijen, which is imported through a Canadian company, Champion Petfoods.
No word yet on what the contaminant or issue might be. The company’s opening gambit was to lay the blame on irradiation of the food on its entry to Australia. Wut?
In other poisonous-food news, US food testing has shown “trace” amounts of melamine in one US infant formula – but they’re not telling us which. Yahoo News reports that the levels 137-140 parts per billion, are considered to be below the “trace” threshold. However, this threshold is set by the FDA for foods in general, not specifically for infant formula. The situation with formula can be different because small, vulnerable infants swallow up to a litre of exactly the same food every single day for many months on end. No other commercial food is eaten in that way.
[FDA spokesperson Judy] Leon said the FDA was in the process of determining what amounts of melamine pose a risk to infants and would release a public advisory later. In the meantime, parents should not change their babies’ feeding habits, she said.
I imagine this is intended to warn parents off feeding home-concocted “formulas”, but it might have been nice to see someone recognising that relactation (or, for prospective mothers, seeking breastfeeding support) would be a perfectly reasonable and healthy way for parents to “change their babies’ feeding habits”. In the USA? Ha! I’m dreaming.