Skip to main content

9Lives, EverPet, and Special Kitty Canned Cat Food Recall

Related News

Comment13

  1. Jim Fiorillo

    Does anyone at Smucker have an explanation as to why this Thiamine deficiency didn’t show up on their required AAFCO product testing before all this pet food was distributed and sold? Isn’t the point of product testing to ensure the product meets the required specifications before it is marketed? Why is a recall necessary? Will Smucker be fined?

    1. Susan Thixton Author

      Hi Jim –
      AAFCO has no requirements for product testing, AAFCO has no enforcement authority at all. They write the regulations and states are supposed to enforce them. But – there is no legal requirement for product testing prior to distribution into the marketplace. Companies should test the product before release, but not all do.

      1. Jim Fiorillo

        Thanks, Susan. I was reading Title 21 that states:

        TITLE 21–FOOD AND DRUGS
        CHAPTER I–FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION
        DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
        SUBCHAPTER E–ANIMAL DRUGS, FEEDS, AND RELATED PRODUCTS

        PART 507 — CURRENT GOOD MANUFACTURING PRACTICE, HAZARD ANALYSIS, AND RISK-BASED PREVENTIVE CONTROLS FOR FOOD FOR ANIMALS

        Subpart C–Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls
        Sec. 507.33 Hazard analysis.
        ………….

        “(ii) Chemical hazards, including radiological hazards, substances such as pesticide and drug residues, natural toxins, decomposition, unapproved food or color additives, and nutrient deficiencies or toxicities (such as inadequate thiamine in cat food, excessive vitamin D in dog food, and excessive copper in food for sheep)”

        and I thought FDA might be enforcing this requirement through AAFCO testing,

        My mistake.

        1. Susan Thixton Author

          No – don’t worry. It’s a confusing mess of regulations out there. My understanding is that Good Manufacturing Practices are only “recommended” right now in AAFCO regulations. The Food Safety Modernization Act will change some of that – with stronger GMPs – and I believe required GMPs. But I don’t know enough about the new laws to know what testing will be required prior to market release (but I am going to check).

  2. mikken

    Good question, Jim. Apparently the testing is behind the the shipping. Which seems like something there should change.

    I used to work in a Quality Control laboratory. We didn’t ship anything that wasn’t tested, first. Testing info was included with every shipment.

  3. Jane Democracy

    Thiamine levels nor all AAFCO recommended values would never be tested on each batch/lot made. These would be tested when the formulation was created and checked again if an ingredient in the formulation or brand of ingredient was changed or perhaps on a yearly basis. The Quality Assurance personnel check the batching records to ensure the right amount of ingredient was added for each batch and usually this should be done before the product is shipped to stores. The cost to test every ingredient in the AAFCO list would cost $1000-$2000 and take too much time which means pet food manufacturers would either have to add larger warehouses to their facilities or rent storage facilities which are difficult to control. I’m happy they issued a recall… I’m sure some manufacturers would sell it anyway!

  4. Jim Fiorillo

    Thanks for the info. … a little disconcerting relative to my prior expectations. I thought Thiamine deficiency in cats was something that everyone understood and had a 99.9+% control among the cat food companies. Now I’m not sure what the control is or what percent of cats who regularly eat commercial cat food are at risk. I thought all of the testing labs had High Performance Liquid Chromatography that was being used on a statistical per-batch sample basis to ensure compliance with FDA / AAFCO. A company like Smucker should probably be able to afford an adequate testing regimen to give consumers the peace of mind that their cats won’t be at risk considering the serious adverse CNS effects …..

    “The neurological manifestations of thiamine deficiency observed in the 3 cats are consistent with those documented previously. Additionally, impaired vision, mydriasis, and ventroflexion of the neck occur in thiamine-deficient cats.
    3,7
    Seizures can progress to coma and death if the thiamine deficiency is not treated. These signs are often preceded by anorexia and vomiting, which can exacerbate the thiamine deficiency.
    3,7
    The progressive encephalopathy has been well documented in Wernicke’s encephalopathy (WE), the acute neuropsychiatric syndrome, and human counterpart of thiamine deficiency.

    1. Jane Democracy

      The amount of thiamine in the food would most likely be determined using nutritional formulation software. Where the exact ingredients in their exact amounts are inputted and the software would determine if it meets nutritional requirements for cat, kittens all life stages etc. So as long as they are adding the correct amount, not buying different ingredients and checking ingredients coming in for quality and content (approved supplier, COA etc.) they can test the finished food for that less often. They may test once yearly or more or less depending on their Quality Program. But at the very minimum they should be checking the batching records prior to any food ever leaving the plant.

      1. Jim Fiorillo

        Thanks. Great info. Seems like it works MOST of the time. 🙂 Maybe it was a random backup lab assessment that confirms their was a fly in the soup somewhere.

        btw, I’ve never been disappointed with Smucker’s jams.

  5. Colleenyts

    I have a friend who’s cat was having seizures after eating Medi-cal senior diet for a few weeks. I thought it might be insufficient protoen to brain since there is very little animal protein in senior diets. After reading these symptoms like circling etc. he was doing as well, it sounds like this could have been the reason. The vet never found the cause of the symptoms so I convinced him to changed his food, and fortunately his seizures did stop afte that.

    1. Jim Fiorillo

      Possible, but with cats, it could be almost anything — pesticide or herbicide contact can also cause seizures. I’m glad he recovered!

Leave a Reply