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Australia gov't irradiation importing practises altering Orijen catfood?

growler~GateKeeper
November 23rd, 2008, 03:07 PM
http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/cat-deaths-linked-to-pet-food/2008/11/23/1227375062012.html

same article in the Brisbane Times (http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/news/national/cat-deaths-linked-to-pet-food/2008/11/23/1227375062012.html)

The marketing manager of Champion Petfoods, Peter Muhlenfeld, confirmed yesterday the cat deaths had been traced back to Orijen's dry cat food, and the problem appeared to be restricted to Australia

The company [Champion Petfoods] is investigating whether irradiation upon entry into Australia was the source of the contamination.

hazelrunpack
November 23rd, 2008, 03:10 PM
I can't open the article, but did they say what they suspected was the cause of death? I'm assuming it wasn't radiation poisoning...which means if the irradiation is linked to the deaths then they think it's breaking some component down into something that is harmful?

growler~GateKeeper
November 23rd, 2008, 03:22 PM
So far the suspected cause is the {over?} irradiation of product entering Australia which is why this is only affecting them. Australia irradiates alot if not all imported food products.

Cat deaths linked to pet food
Kelly Burke Consumer Affairs Reporter
November 24, 2008


The two Oddy family cats that were paralysed and subsequently euthanised.


UNEXPLAINED chronic illness and death among Sydney cats has been linked to a gourmet imported pet food withdrawn from stores over the past three weeks.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.

"There is a highly suspicious link because this is an uncommon expensive food in this country at the moment, and not sold in supermarkets," Dr Child said. "But all tests that have been done so far haven't given us an answer."

First symptoms included wobbliness or weakness in the animal's hind legs, which could then progress to the front limbs. The condition did not appear to be infectious, Dr Child said, nor typical of a nutritional deficiency.

"Most worrying is that the cats showed no signs [of illness] while on the food," she said. "It seems to be happening weeks or even months later."

The marketing manager of Champion Petfoods, Peter Muhlenfeld, confirmed yesterday the cat deaths had been traced back to Orijen's dry cat food, and the problem appeared to be restricted to Australia.

He said samples sent back by the Australian distributor had a "strange odour". The company is investigating whether irradiation upon entry into Australia was the source of the contamination.

The Oddy family of Dundas has lost two cats in the past week. "They were the children's pets; it's awful," Sarah Oddy said.

hazelrunpack
November 23rd, 2008, 03:35 PM
Likely it's not an organism, which the irradiation is designed to kill, but they still need to rule out contamination by something unknown in the vein of the recent melamine tragedy... Irradiation of the contaminated food from China would have neither stopped nor caused the melamine poisoning. But if all of the food had been irradiated, it might have looked like a link. :shrug:

I hope they're exploring both avenues. :fingerscr

RUSTYcat
November 23rd, 2008, 04:30 PM
hazelrunpack- personally, I'm confident they're exploring all avenues.

I've been snooping through some of the discussion going on at CatWorld....the Administrator of the forum has posted - seemingly with "inside" information - that a public announcement is expected this week and that the problem stems from "Gamma Irradiation"...some of the members there are are posting that, because the Orijen product was just newly introduced, the 'boarder security' people (for lack of the proper agency name) over-irradiated it.

Just Orijen's luck, eh? A stellar track record in Europe and NA, then over-zealous security turns it toxic!

Stacer
November 23rd, 2008, 04:31 PM
Hmmm... disturbing. All my animals are on Orijen (although the cats only really snack on it between their regular canned meals).

I hope they get to the bottom of this, pronto.

RUSTYcat
November 23rd, 2008, 04:42 PM
Stacer- my brood's on it as well - since last May. I'm not concerned in the least - but, that doesn't mean I'll ever let my guard down.

For me the facts speak for themselves - most of the Orijen sold worldwide is in Europe and North America; there hasn't been a squeak of a problem on the boards frequented by people from these areas; all that time, over the last few months, there have been rumours and rumblings on the Aussie boards!

hazelrunpack
November 23rd, 2008, 05:14 PM
I hope if they decide that it's from over-irradiation they also announce the possible mechanism for the problem. Considering that the technology is being used in more and more places, it would be a good thing to know exactly what's happening...before the problems become more widespread. :eek:

onster
November 23rd, 2008, 07:50 PM
That's highly disturbing.

I agree HRP..Id be also concerned about imported foods (for human consumption as well!!) that are treated with radiation. What exactly is it altering in the Orijen (which uses comon, hollistic ingredients?)? hmm indeed.

grimalkin
November 23rd, 2008, 08:12 PM
Ok, I'm terrified as well as being paranoid. I have been feeding my FIVE cats the Orijen since the pet food recalls of 2007. Built right here in Alberta with good reviews, I had high hopes that this was safe and the cats seem to do very well on it, no more vomit to wake up to!
I will be phoning them in the morning ...

Love4himies
November 23rd, 2008, 08:14 PM
Thank you for posting that article, Growler. Orijen is not Jasper's main food but is supplemented with it to maintain his weight. He is a super active kitty :cat:

RUSTYcat
November 23rd, 2008, 08:53 PM
Ok, I'm terrified as well as being paranoid. I have been feeding my FIVE cats the Orijen since the pet food recalls of 2007...

Well, I'm with you...and I'm not.

I'm not terrified and paranoid NOW...I was in that state during the early part of the recalls last year, though.

And, like you, I've been feeding Orijen to my crowd (of 6).

I think that the more info you have, the less concerned you'll be. Search for cat-world.com forums and read the posts....ditto for thecatsite.com

I was just looking on another Australian forum where a member has posted what is stated to be Champion's "formal" announcement:

"Champion Petfoods is announcing the voluntary recall of its ORIJEN brand cat food sold in Australia. Consumers are asked to stop feeding ORIJEN cat food and return any unused portion to the place of purchase for a full refund.
Limited to Australia, this recall is based upon a number of cats within the Sydney area taking ill after consuming ORIJEN cat food. Champion Petfoods is working closely with the Australian veterinary community to conduct a comprehensive and ongoing program of laboratory tests.Although results
are unable to link ORIJEN cat food to illness in cats, we are recalling our product as a precautionary measure.
Due to the highly localized nature of incidents, the recall is issued for AUSTRALIA ONLY and research efforts are now directed toward identifying local factors unique to Australia.
ORIJEN is made with chicken, fish and egg that are passed ‘fit for human
consumption’ in Canada and processed fresh. As these meats are included FRESH,
ORIJEN products sold in Australia are required by law to undergo an irradiation
treatment prior to distribution in Australia.

The irradiation requirement is unique to Australia.

Champion Petfoods is an award-winning, family-owned pet food maker. Our mission is to produce the healthiest and safest pet foods on earth – a mandate in which our entire staff are fully and passionately engaged. We are proud of our 25 year history of making world-class pet foods.
For further information relating to ORIJEN or Champion Petfoods, please contact me
directly by telephone at 780 939.6888 or email at peter@championpetfoods.com."

There's no mention on the website...I'm guessing that, because the public announcement was scheduled for next week - but the story "broke" early, there was no time/ability to put it up on the site.

grimalkin
November 23rd, 2008, 09:11 PM
Thanks, RustyCat, I will do some more reading and research. I just happened upon this Orijen recall and flipped out. Can't go thru that pet food recall again, it was a nightmare. I had in my possession at that time those Iams pouches.....
Then I had noticed that the last bag of Orijen smelled different from the last ones (more pungent), and my imagination took off!!!!
We go through a 7 kg bag a month here and the last bag seemed to really bring the cats to the plate faster than usual.
Home cooking doesn't do it for the fussy buggers, but they may have to get used to it.
I'm at my wit's end.

Bengal Kitty
November 24th, 2008, 02:47 AM
Howdy from Australia

Not really sure what value is added by typing this response (perhaps some much needed therapy). We have been feeding our 3yo thorough bred bengal Orijen for the past three months and found out a week ago last Friday that this food has been toxic to our baby. We first noticed little signs, he kept shaking out his back leg and wasn't as agile or coordinated as he usally was. Then on the Friday he was walking around the apartment like he was drunk, so we took him to see the specialist who advised us that it was the food we had been feeding him and the outlook was grim. Orijen is new to Australia and after much research we decided to feed Hunter this product as it seemed like the most appropriate food for him (given our constant battle with his IBS on Hills etc).

1.5 weeks on, he hasn't got any worse (thankfully) and he has got a bit of his spunky personality back but at this stage we are unsure what is going to happen next. We have him on Vitamin E, Zinc, SamE and acupuncture.

The toxins attack their nervous system and causes permanent spinal and brain damage which is looking to be irreparable so not getting worse could mean that he will just need to live with his disablity but becuase this is such a new thing they don't know what long term effects could arrise at a latter date if he makes it thorugh this month.

We are devastated by this news as for once in his short life he had the perfect stool, but at the ultimate price!

growler~GateKeeper
November 24th, 2008, 03:13 AM
Bengal Kitty I'm sorry your family has been affected :grouphug: Sending lots of :pray: & :goodvibes: & :fingerscr for the health of your baby to be restored.

Has there been anything in the local news other than the one article in the first post of this thread?

I'm wondering how the specialist came to the conclusion that it was the food? Has there been other incidents in the news about other imported petfood or human food with the same symptoms?

RUSTYcat
November 24th, 2008, 03:15 AM
Bengal Kitty- The warmest of welcomes to this forum. I only wish you had come here for reasons much different from this. I just don't know how to convey to you the sorrow I feel - meaningful words escape me.

I don't know if you're aware, but there are people gathering on Cat World as well - just now, another victim's parent. I think it's important that you can link with them as soon as possible,so, as I can't send you a private message, you can find that thread here (http://www.cat-world.com.au/forums/index.php?showtopic=87540).

In that thread there is also a discussion about some therapies people are using - from what I read, I would urge you to read carefully through that and share a copy with your Veterinarian.

I wish you and your little one the very best.

Bengal Kitty
November 24th, 2008, 03:59 AM
I have actually just found the Cat World forum myself and was just about to post a comment in there too. We are managing Hunter's condition with much the same remedies as perscribed on that forum. However, are very keen to see if anyone else has any other remedies which are working. We are very interested to investigate the B1 shots in more details.

I will keep you all posted on how Hunter progresses, we took him to acupuncture today and the vet said that he seemed more spritely and in greater spirits than last Monday. His coat is shiney, he is alert and is determined. I feel that if any cat is going to make it surely it will be ours ;-)

Hope and positivity is one of the last things we have left and I honestly believe he can pick up on our sadness (as he did for the first couple of days when we were devastated and could barely get through the day without showing our grief).

RUSTYcat
November 24th, 2008, 04:52 AM
The only other parent I have seen posting on the other international boards I frequent has been catsrthebest, who is already on CatWorld, but posted his story as well here (http://www.thecatsite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=181493) on TheCatSite.

I am happy to hear that Hunter is showing signs of progress. You think they pick up on our emotions?....I'm sure of it!!!!!! I've seen it here with my cats, my mother would descibe it with her dog. Well, it's all about primal, non-verbal communication...they're experts at it! Lesson learned?....share that hope and positivity with him at every opportunity. Keep those "heavy" dicsussions (between/among yourselves) out of range of his hearing. And, show your love and appreciation of him in his presence. A spirit of happiness around him will undoubtedly speed his healing.

Because we in NA were dealt all the implications of an enormous food recall last year, I am hoping that there may be a way for us, to assist the victims of this "down there" and also the wider "cat community" there...both from a practical help perspective with all the proven to-do list things, to the emotional support issues. Because of that recall, there is now an infrastructure of sorts "up here", mostly online. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Part of your community's recovery from this will need to be an examination of why it took so very long for someone to raise an alarm. A simple search of CatWorld forms that I did showed many older threads with rumours and rumblings, the earliest of which is late October in which there is a reference to "a mysterious paralytic illness that showed up two months or so ago"...that tells me there were red flags raised last summer!

It's late here - I need some "shuteye" - stay around...we'll keep it upbeat!

Love4himies
November 24th, 2008, 08:32 AM
So sorry to hear about Hunter :grouphug:. Please keep us informed on his progress. :pray: :goodvibes:

bendyfoot
November 24th, 2008, 10:01 AM
okie this is freaking me out just a tad

:dog::dog::dog:and:cat::cat: eating Orijen...

any updates on this????

shibadiva
November 24th, 2008, 04:21 PM
There's an update from Peter Muhlenfeld on the Champion website:

http://www.championpetfoods.com/Australia_Consumer_Release.pdf

It references an article in Vet Pathology related to similar symptoms in cats eating irradiated dry food.

ZIMBA
November 24th, 2008, 10:29 PM
Howdy from Australia

Not really sure what value is added by typing this response (perhaps some much needed therapy). We have been feeding our 3yo thorough bred bengal Orijen for the past three months and found out a week ago last Friday that this food has been toxic to our baby. We first noticed little signs, he kept shaking out his back leg and wasn't as agile or coordinated as he usally was. Then on the Friday he was walking around the apartment like he was drunk, so we took him to see the specialist who advised us that it was the food we had been feeding him and the outlook was grim. Orijen is new to Australia and after much research we decided to feed Hunter this product as it seemed like the most appropriate food for him (given our constant battle with his IBS on Hills etc).

1.5 weeks on, he hasn't got any worse (thankfully) and he has got a bit of his spunky personality back but at this stage we are unsure what is going to happen next. We have him on Vitamin E, Zinc, SamE and acupuncture.

The toxins attack their nervous system and causes permanent spinal and brain damage which is looking to be irreparable so not getting worse could mean that he will just need to live with his disablity but becuase this is such a new thing they don't know what long term effects could arrise at a latter date if he makes it thorugh this month.

We are devastated by this news as for once in his short life he had the perfect stool, but at the ultimate price!

Hi Bengal Kitty,

Sorry to here about hunter, I have been going through this ordeal since July 2008.
I live in Sydney Aust, and had been feeding my two cats Orijen catfood from Jan-June 2008, and both my cats didn't appear to show any symptoms of this illness until July this year. The first initial symptoms was that they would shake their hind legs, and their abiltiy to jump delcined. Then they appeared to walk as though they were very drunk, which then progressed to falling over every couple of steps. Then by end of Aug, early Sept, my cats became completely paralysed in hind legs, loss bladder control, and their legs also became very stiff. But both cats were otherwise still very healthy and alert and didn't lose their appetite or personality. It was so sad to see my two babies all of a sudden be forced to drag their legs around, and unable to use kitty litter. They were completely paralysed for about 6 weeks, until about Mid October, when they started to show signs of recovery. They slowly started to regain movement in hind legs, and then started to get up by themselves and take a couple of steps before falling over. Its now end of Nov 2008, and both of my cats have made a full recovery. I was one of the first cases reported to Dr Georgina Child, back in August, and from what I've been told the only case where the cats have recovered. I am considering myself very lucky and blessed that I have my cats back. If you have any questions pls give me your email, as I'm happy to help or provide support.

Aston
November 25th, 2008, 12:40 AM
This is what I received today from Champion petfoods:


Dear ORIJEN CONSUMER – there are news reports from Australia linking ORIJEN cat foods to health problems to a number of cats in the Sydney area.

Two weeks ago Champion Petfoods removed ORIJEN cat foods from shops in Australia and last week we issued a voluntary recall to collect any remaining cat food. Please know this recall is specific to AUSTRALIA ONLY and does not impact any ORIJEN food other than what was exported to Australia. As ORIJEN is made with fresh meats cooked at low temperatures, the Australian government mandates our foods be irradiated. This process is unique to Australia and we believe is the cause for health concerns in cats in the Sydney area. We have since stopped all ORIJEN shipments to Australia.

This problem does not originate from our factory or from our ingredients. All foods (including those shipped to Australia) have been tested thoroughly in the past few weeks and the results are perfect. We have recently uncovered research connecting irradiation to health problems in cats and have since ceased all shipments to Australia http://www.vetpathology.org/cgi/content/full/44/6/912

We are completely (100%!) confident in ORIJEN foods.

You will likely receive calls from your distributors or retailers. Please see the attached letter which helps explain the situation. In order to provide our retail customers confidence in our foods, it is important for us to be proactive and provide quick and accurate answers. Please feel free to email or call Michelle or I with any questions you cannot answer. Unfortunately both of us are travelling today so it may be difficult to reach us. I arrive back in Edmonton this evening and will check emails and messages upon my arrival.



Thank you,
Peter

Peter A. Muhlenfeld

Champion Petfoods Ltd.

T 780.939.6888

www.championpetfoods.com

AND THIS CONSUMER RELEASE:

http://img209.imageshack.us/img209/9104/print1xg1.jpg

RUSTYcat
November 25th, 2008, 12:56 AM
Hi Zimba and a very warm welcome for you to Pets.ca

You and your little ones are truly blessed indeed. One can only hope that, as there was for you, there will be a light at the end of the tunnel for others.

PMing isn't automatically enabled for new members - I've just sent a message to the Administrator asking that he turn it on for both of you.

Your situation is proof of what my snooping had revealed...there were rumours circulating on the Au boards of a new mystery illness around October 23...the reports indicated that cases had been surfacing for "a couple of months or so"...and that would then point back to the mid-summer (Canadian summer!) period.

I've been feeding six cats with it since about May 2007 without even a hiccup and there have been no reports of any problems (except perhaps some typical "cat" food issues, on any of the popular discussion forums which serve North America and Europe - where most of the product is sold and consumed.

ZIMBA, could you post the lot numbers information for any of the bags you might have used or perhaps still have? It might help alleviate anxiety - and even instill a little confidence - to have those available.

For me, my brain says the logic points to the Au product. My emotions are all over the map...clear thinking can be difficult.

So good to have you on "up here"!

RUSTYcat
November 25th, 2008, 01:01 AM
Hi Aston-
The Consumer Info release is posted on the website mainpage.

How did you come to receive the letter, the first document?

RUSTYcat
November 25th, 2008, 01:44 AM
ZIMBA- Was Orijen their exclusive diet from Jan-Jul/Aug when the symptoms became severe? Did you continue feeding it up until the Specialist identified the food as the cause? Do you remember the date of the Specialist's diagnosis?

Sorry, I don't want to sound like the Inquisitor!......I'm just trying to establish some timelines in my mind.

Aston's letter from Peter Muhlenfeld at Champion (Orijen) states that "two weeks ago" Orijen was "removed from shops", and "last week" the recall was issued....

Aston - what you posted has no date....IS THERE A DATE ON THE ORIGINAL?

Aston
November 25th, 2008, 03:56 AM
Hi Aston-
The Consumer Info release is posted on the website mainpage.

How did you come to receive the letter, the first document?


I've not checked their website. I didn't know.

Through the Portuguese Distributor. I've called them and demanded to know the last news on this.

Aston
November 25th, 2008, 04:00 AM
Aston's letter from Peter Muhlenfeld at Champion (Orijen) states that "two weeks ago" Orijen was "removed from shops", and "last week" the recall was issued....

Aston - what you posted has no date....IS THERE A DATE ON THE ORIGINAL?


This is a mail I've received from Peter A. Muhlenfeld today.

catsrthebest
November 25th, 2008, 05:14 AM
My two cats have been affected so I have been following this story unfold. On this thread, I have seen the letter from Champion Pet Foods stating that a recall notice was issued last week and to the best of my knowledge no recall notices appeared until today the day after the first article appeared in the newspaper. I also received this morning a voluntary recall notice from the store that I purchased the food from. It is sad that due to the lack of publicity, pet owners kept feeding this product through ignorance despite the fact that the company had decided to withdraw the product.

hazelrunpack
November 25th, 2008, 11:11 AM
My heart goes out to all of you who have pets affected by this. :grouphug: I can't imagine how much your hearts hurt. :sad:

Aston, thank you for posting the link to that study. It's very interesting--I didn't realize that irradiation could affect the nutritional composition of the food to that extent. If vitamin deficiency is at the heart of the problem, perhaps there is hope that with early treatment of affected animals some of the damage can be reversed?

Best wishes for the recovery of all of your beloved cats and to all of you living through this nightmare. :grouphug:

RUSTYcat
November 25th, 2008, 01:42 PM
Bengal Kitty and ZIMBA-

I just received a message from Marko, the Administrator...YOUR PRIVATE MESSAGING IS UP AND RUNNING.

Cheers to Marko

RUSTYcat
November 25th, 2008, 01:58 PM
Hey catsrthebest...you too!!!!!!! I just noticed that you've come up North as well. An extremely warm welcome to you, too!

I also just requested that your messaging be turned on as well.

I know I already asked ZIMBA to, if possible, post the lot number packaging info from any bags you might have held onto...I wonder if Bengal Kitty and catsrthebest could reply about that as well...???

(I know it might give me a little comfort to be able to compare mine with those...and, for you guys, too, it could be helpful I think)

RUSTYcat
November 26th, 2008, 10:30 PM
The wait is over, the company's investigation complete and the results are released (http://www.championpetfoods.com/orijen/Australia_Consumer_Release.pdf).

But, are all the questions answered?

Bengal Kitty
November 26th, 2008, 10:45 PM
Hi All

Please find following packing info from our pack, but to be honest even if your food was from the same alotment it is unlikely to affect your cats given this seems to be an irradiation issue (which is an Australian Quanrantine Regulation).

BB15 Jul09 Lot 82951
080508 0939

http://www.championpetfoods.com/Australia_Consumer_Release.pdf

RUSTYcat
November 27th, 2008, 08:02 PM
It ain't over yet... (http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/cat-food-firm-blames-deaths-on-quarantine-controls/2008/11/27/1227491735559.html)

RUSTYcat
November 30th, 2008, 11:37 PM
Champion Petfoods has released an updated statement...here (http://www.championpetfoods.com/orijen/Australia_Consumer_Release_Nov28.pdf)

There is obviously much more to follow on all this.

Much discussion on CatWorld thread, same and much active research happening at Itchmoforums.com and, Champion has provided a representative to do live Q&A online. The general sense seems to question that a lack of vitamin in the product could produce the documented effects.

clm
December 1st, 2008, 06:52 AM
Still looks like it's all because of the effects of the irradiation process to me. :shrug:

Cindy

cell
January 21st, 2009, 04:40 PM
I love how in the latest news article they talk about how much the food is radiated and mention how it breaks up vitamin A causing free radicals, and then Dr Georgina Child, says "oh but none of these cats were vitamin A deficient" yet fails to mention how passing Chernobyl through the digestive tract of your cat could have any effect on it?
I'm not concerned on what the radiation does to the food I'm worried about what it directly causes to the cat!
I don't believe anything is wrong with the brand at all, it is Australia's practices to try and "protect" their consumers. It's so backwards to take a holistic pet food and then bombard it in radiation. I don't think anything should be imported if it needs radiation, it defeats the purpose, Orijin is smart to not sell there anymore, they are only doing their reputation harm by subjecting their product to something out of their hands.

RUSTYcat
May 29th, 2009, 03:59 PM
A major victory today - albeit a partial one - as the Australian Government orders an immediate halt to the irradiation of imported cat food (http://www.smh.com.au/national/catfood-irradiation-banned-as-pet-theory-proved-20090529-bq8h.html).

Why only a partial victory? Dr Child (Georgina Child, the Veterinary Neurologist who discovered the link between Orijen and the illnesses) said the move was welcome but did not go far enough. The irradiation ban is not being extended to imported dog food, leaving cats with access to such food still at risk.In fact, numerous Australian cats who had only snacked on irradiated Orijen dog food were stricken to the same degree as cats fed Orijen Cat.

While hopes are that the irradiation ban will be extended to all pet foods, today's news represents a massive victory for a small group of cat "owners" who, for the past seven months have relentlessly lobbied government ministers and bureaucrats for this change. Much more info and discussion on Itchmoforums.