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Fold Hill Foods is voluntarily recalling a number of its hypoallergenic cat food products, from brands including Applaws, AVA and Sainsbury’s, over a possible link to an outbreak of a potentially fatal condition, feline pancytopenia.
5 August 2021 – All the information below is up to date. The investigation into what’s caused the outbreak of feline pancytopenia is still ongoing.
22 June 2021 – Wilko has issued a voluntary recall for several of its cat food products manufactured by Fold Hill Foods due to the same safety concerns. We’ve added the Wilko products to our full list of products being recalled further down the page.
Wilko products have not been included in the Fold Hill Foods voluntary product recall published by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) because the FSA says there is no evidence to suggest that products manufactured on behalf of Wilko are linked to cats who have been affected by feline pancytopenia. Wilko products are also not included in the Royal Veterinary College’s ongoing investigation.
18 June 2021 – This article was originally published on 16 June 2021 and at the time stated that only the Applaws products with the Best Before dates of December 2022 to June 2023 were included in the voluntary recall.
However, since first reporting this, Fold Hill Foods has issued an update to include all best before dates for Applaws products listed below, with the site code GB218E5009.
End of updates.
The manufacturer has taken this precautionary measure after the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) reported a sudden increase in cases of severe feline pancytopenia. An investigation into what’s caused this spike is ongoing.
Pancytopenia is a very rare condition wherein the number of blood cells rapidly decreases, causing serious illness and can often prove fatal.
Read on for the full list of products being recalled and what to do if you’ve bought these products or fed them to your pet.
What do I do if food I own is recalled? Your consumer rights explained
Which cat food products have been recalled?
Products from Applaws, AVA (sold at Pets at Home) and Sainsbury’s have been affected.
Only those products with the specific best before dates below are being recalled.
No other cat food products have been affected by this recall.
Applaws cat food recall
- Applaws Cat Dry Chicken 400g, 2.5kg and 7.5kg. Best before: all date codes
- Applaws Cat Dry Chicken & Salmon 400g, 2.5kg and 7.5kg. Best before: all date codes
- Applaws Kitten Dry Chicken 400g, 2.5kg and 7.5kg. Best before: all date codes
- Applaws Cat Dry Chicken & Lamb 400g, 2.5kg and 7.5kg. Best before: all date codes
- Applaws Cat Dry Chicken & Duck 400g, 2.5kg and 7.5kg. Best before: all date codes
- Applaws Cat Dry Ocean Fish 350g, 1.8kg and 6kg. Best before: all date codes
- Applaws Cat Dry Senior Chicken 400g, 2kg and 7.5kg. Best before: all date codes
By Sainsbury’s cat food recall
- By Sainsbury’s Hypoallergenic Recipe complete dry cat food with Salmon 1+ Years 800g. All batches and best before dates
- By Sainsbury’s Hypoallergenic Recipe complete dry cat food with Chicken 1+ Years 800g. All batches and best before dates
AVA cat food recall
- AVA Adult Fish 2kg. All batches and best before dates
- AVA Adult Mature Chicken 7+ 2kg and 4kg. All batches and best before dates
- AVA Senior Chicken 12+ 2kg. All batches and best before dates
- AVA Sensitive Skin & Stomach 1.5kg. All batches and best before dates
- AVA Weight Management 1.5kg. All batches and best before dates
- AVA Hairball 1.5kg. All batches and best before dates
- AVA Oral Care 1.5kg. All batches and best before dates
- AVA British Shorthair 1.5kg. All batches and best before dates
- AVA Persian 1.5kg. All batches and best before dates
- AVA Maine Coon 1.5kg. All batches and best before dates
- AVA Kitten Chicken 300g and 2kg. All batches and best before dates
- AVA Adult Chicken 300g, 2kg and 4kg. All batches and best before dates
Wilko cat food recall
- Wilko meaty feast cat rabbit/chicken/veg 950g. Item code 0267053
- Wilko best salmon & tuna dry cat 800g. Item code 0463508
- Wilko best beef & chicken dry cat 800g. Item code 0463507
- Wilko cat food active health salmon 800g. Item code 0470811
- Wilko active health cat food chicken 2kg. Item code 0481421
- Wilko active health cat food salmon 2kg. Item code 0481422
- Wilko dry cat food active health 7+ 800g. Item code 0470808
- Wilko cat food active health hairball control 800g. Item code 0470809
- Wilko dry cat food active health 800g. Item code 0470807
- Wilko cat food active health chicken 800g. Item code 0470810
Point of sale notices will be displayed in all retails stores that are selling these products.
See our round-up of the best cat food brands
What do I do if cat food I’ve bought has been recalled?
If you have bought any of the above products, you should stop feeding them to your cat immediately and return the food to your nearest store for a full refund.
If your cat has already eaten the food and you’re concerned about their health, then you should seek immediate advice from your vet. See below for symptoms to look out for.
If you have any concerns or queries, contact the relevant retailer.
- 0800 636262
- petsathome.com/shop/en/pets/homeofhelp – fill out the contact form or livechat
- 08000 329329
How to choose the best cat and dog food – get our expert advice.
What are the symptoms of pancytopenia?
Pancytopenia is a serious, but usually very rare condition, where the number of blood cells (red, white and platelets) rapidly decrease, leading to serious illness such as anemia, leukopenia and thrombocytopenia. Pancytopenia can often prove to be fatal.
Here are some symptoms to look out for:
- Loss of appetite
- Spontaneous bleeding (eg nose bleeds, bleeding gums)
- Spontaneous bruising
- Pale gums
- Pin-prick rash of blood spots
What does Fold Hill Foods say?
‘We are voluntarily recalling the dry products we manufacture as a precautionary measure. We are also supporting an investigation by the food and veterinary authorities into a possible safety issue affecting cats.’
What does the Royal Veterinary College say?
‘We welcome the Food Standards Agency’s product recall notice. While we have not definitively established diet as the cause of pancytopenia in these cats, we are continuing to liaise with the pet food industry and regulatory bodies to investigate the matter and identify the possible underlying causes.’
For more information head to the Royal Veterinary College.
Why are the Wilko products not included in the FSA recall?
The FSA told us: ‘The FSA is aware that Wilko has undertaken a voluntary, precautionary recall of specific products. There is no evidence to suggest that products manufactured on behalf of Wilko are linked to cats who have been affected by feline pancytopenia. This is why Wilko products have not been included in the Food Hill Foods voluntary product recall published by the FSA.
Investigations continue at pace and alerts will be issued if additional products are identified as potentially unsafe.’
Fold Hill Foods told us: ‘The decision by Wilko to issue a precautionary recall of their brand was a purely commercial decision made by Wilko and not supported by the FSA. The RVC’s investigation is concerning the AVA, Sainsbury’s and Applaws brands.’
What are my rights if there’s a food recall?
If you’ve bought a product that’s been recalled, you have the right to a refund with the Consumer Rights Act.
The retailer that sold it should offer you a full refund, even if it’s been in your store cupboard or freezer for several months.
If you’ve already consumed or thrown away the product, you can still get a refund if you’re able to show proof of purchase such as a receipt, bank statement or online order confirmation.
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