Major retailers recall pet food over link to potentially deadly cat disease

Sainsbury’s and Pets at Home are among retailers to pull dry cat food from their shelves over a potential link to a deadly feline disease.

The FSA and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) have warned cat owners not to give their pets dry food made on behalf of the brands by manufacturer Fold Hill Foods, as a precaution.

It comes after an outbreak of feline pancytopenia, an illness that can often be fatal in cats.

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

Image: The warning comes after more than 130 cases feline pancytopenia were recorded in April

Pancytopenia is a rare condition where the number of blood cells (red, white and platelets) rapidly decrease, causing serious illness.


The FSA said the current outbreak of pancytopenia was potentially linked to specific cat food products, which were being recalled.

But it added there is “no evidence to suggest this outbreak presents any risk to human health”.

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The government is working with the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) and the Animal Plant and Health Agency, together with authorities across Britain and the pet food supply chain to investigate a possible link between specific cat food products and feline pancytopenia.

A Government spokesman 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 investigations so far, are taking the precautionary action of recalling and withdrawing cat food products that have been linked to affected cats.”

Image: Sainsbury’s is among the major retailers that have recalled the cat food

Cat owners are urged to buy alternative pet food and seek immediate help if their animal has eaten any of the products recalled and is unwell.

Products under Sainsbury’s Hypoallergenic Recipe range and Pets at Home’s Ava range are being recalled, Fold Hill Foods said.

Applaws products, which are sold by Amazon and other pet food shops, may also be unsafe.

Fold Hill Foods said ensuring pet safety was its priority, explaining how the recall was the “safest course of action” until an exact cause has been identified.

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 absolute safety of cats.”

We are issuing advice to cat owners not to feed their cats specific cat food products.This follows a rise in cases of feline pancytopenia which can cause serious illness in cats.For more information on the recall and affected products:

— Food Standards Agency (@foodgov) June 16, 2021

A Pets at Home spokeswoman also said pets’ health and wellbeing was its “top priority”, adding: “This is a precautionary measure whilst further investigations are carried out and we are working closely with the FSA, RVC and wider industry to determine the cause.

“In the meantime our store colleagues are on hand to help customers select a suitable alternative.”

The products being recalled are:


Sainsburys Hypoallergenic Recipe complete dry cat food with salmon 1+years 800g

Sainsburys 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 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 site 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 Dry 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