2008-9 up to 100 cats became ill, paralyzed and many died as a result of eating imported cat food that had been irradiated. The irradiation process changed the structure of oils in the foods, which caused the breakdown of the myelin nerve sheath, causing neurological problems and in extreme cases death.
As a result the irradiation of cat food was banned in Australia.
Australian agricultural minister Tony Burke has banned irradiating cat food after 30 cats died and 90 cats became ill as a result of neurological disorders brought on by eating imported catfood “Orijen”. The food had been irradiated on arrival to Australia as recommended by the Australian Quarantine Inspection Service. Orijen is exported to over 60 countries and only irradiated in Australia. Other treatments including heat treatment are available.
Dr Georgina Child, the Sydney vet that made the link between the illness and irradiated cat food, told the SMH that the ban did not go far enough. She says, “We still don’t know why this problem was unique to cats, and we are not certain why some brands of pet food are affected by irradiation and not others.” She went on to say, “What this does show is that all food that has been irradiated needs to be labelled, which isn’t the case at the moment.”
Food Irradiation Watch are calling for a total ban on food irradiation for both humans and animals, including animal feed. We are also asking for better and comprehensive labelling in the interim.
We urge you to write to the relevant ministers urging this ban. Addresses can be found under the sample letter on this page.