Champion Pet Foods, makers of Orijen, have posted a pdf explaining why the Australian cats developed neurological problems and some had to be euthanized as a result. In a nutshell, Australia required Orijen cat food to be irradiated at a very high level which knocked out the food’s Vitamin A and caused the fatty acids to oxidize. The Orijen dog food coming into Australia is also irradiated but no dogs have been reported ill by their owners. Champion explains:
[C]ats require higher levels of vitamins than dogs (AAFCO 2008), and cats are highly
sensitive to changes in vitamins or oxidative by-products (such as occur from irradiation).
As a result, Orijen will no longer be shipped – cat or dog (since it’s possible cats could eat the dog food) – to Australia.
I think this a good response from a pet food company faced with a recall in which pets, in this case cats, became ill and died as a result of eating the company’s product. Imagine if other pet food manufacturers handled past, present and future problems reported with their foods in this same manner. Yeah, I’m looking at YOU Menu Foods and Nutro. ahem.