A company whose cat food has been at the centre of an inquiry into a spate of cat deaths will be allowed to restart production, as an investigation found no evidence that its products caused an illness thought to have affected thousands of pets.
The Food Standards Agency said it had not established a “causative link” between an outbreak of panyctopenia and products made by Fold Hill Foods.
The company supplied Applaws, AVA and Sainsbury’s hypoallergenic cat food, batches of which were recalled in June after concerns that mould known as mycotoxins in the food may have been responsible for the blood condition, thought to have harmed or killed thousands of pets.
In an update, the FSA said it found “higher levels of mycotoxins in some samples of the recalled cat food”, including varieties known as T2 and HT2, which are toxic to humans and animals. But the agency said mycotoxins were found in some types of food and animal feed, and were not necessarily a risk to cats.
It said Fold Hill Foods, which is based in Boston, Lincolnshire, was now working with the local authority to get its operations up and running again.
The FSA and Royal Veterinary College will continue looking into possible causes of the outbreak, including reasons other than food. It has not ruled out the possibility that the cat food could still be responsible.
Earlier this month, cat owners told the Guardian of their anger at companies including Sainsbury’s, which they said had not done enough to alert them to the product recall.
The supermarket chain later said that a flaw in its systems meant cat owners who had opted out of marketing emails did not receive a product recall alert until a month after it was announced.
A spokesperson for Fold Hill Foods said: “Following extensive testing and independent expert analysis, the Food Standards Agency has not identified a causative link between pancytopenia and the cat food products recalled on a precautionary basis by Fold Hill Foods.
“We understand the investigation will continue to investigate other potential causes of the pancytopenia cases, including non-feed related causes, with a multi-agency approach. As no causative link has been identified, Fold Hill Foods is working with its local authority to resume production of the three recalled brands.
“As cat owners ourselves, we fully understand how upsetting and stressful this ongoing situation is and that an urgent need remains to establish why there has been an increase in cases of pancytopenia in the UK.”