On May 5, Weruva issued a statement that they removed select Best Feline Friend (BFF) canned foods, exclusive to the Australian market, from shelves after concerns that the formulas may have been making cats sick. Those of you who have read this blog for any length of time know that Weruva is on my list of recommended brands, and I feed this brand to Allegra and Ruby. I’m always concerned when I hear of a cat food recall, but of course, I’m even more concerned when it happens to a brand I know well, recommend and feed to my own cats.
I reached out to David Forman, Weruva’s president, late yesterday afternoon, and was able to speak to him shortly afterwards. Weruva is investigating this issue from all possible angles, and will provide updated information as it becomes available.
Weruva issued a statement on Friday, stating that “…out of an abundance of caution, and in partnership with our exclusive retailer of these goods, Petbarn and City Farmers have removed all BFF items from shelves in Australia until our analysis is complete. The manufacturer for this exclusive BFF canned food line does not produce BFF foods for any other global market or any other Weruva branded food.” You can read the full statement here.
My heart goes out to everyone whose cats may have become ill. I’ve come to know David and Weruva over the years as a company that truly cares about pets, and I know that they are doing the best they can, as quickly as they can, to get to the bottom of this.
Australian media has been reporting this issue, and it’s probably only a question of time before it hits the US media. Once again, it’s important to understand that as of this writing, no products distributed in the US have been affected by this recall.
The fact is that we don’t have all the facts yet. Jumping to conclusions is not going to serve anyone. I will update this developing story as I receive more information. In the meantime, please contact Weruva directly with any concerns at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 1-800-108-382 in Australia, 1-800-776-5262 in the US.
May 8, 2017 update: Per veterinary guidance, Weruva’s initial testing focused on heavy metals (mercury and arsenic). All foods tested have shown levels well below industry required standards for human and pet consumption. Weruva is continuing its investigation. I will update this post as new information becomes available.
May 9, 2017 update: The Australian Veterinary Association released the following statement: ” Last week we alerted veterinarians to a small number of reports of cats showing a combination of cerebellar and vestibular signs, which could be related to a pet food toxicity or deficiency. At this stage, we have no definitive proof of toxicity (or deficiency) and the issue is only a potential association with the feeding of BFF brand cat food. Petbarn have acted very quickly to withdraw the food from sale, pending laboratory testing. As a result of media interest, it is likely that many cats fed BFF will now be presented to vets with a variety of non-pet food related illnesses. We are particularly interested in cats that have cerebellar and/or vestibular signs as these are not a particularly common presenting problem, and were present in the “index” cases.”
May 10, 2017 update: David Forman, President & Co-Founder of Weruva and Best Friends Foods (BFF,), released the following statement:
“The Weruva family and I are deeply concerned with the health and well-being of cats everywhere, and we are especially mindful of the many pet parents who have expressed concerns for their companions in Australia.
Initial veterinary guidance in Australia suggested that efforts focus on testing for heavy metal presence in our BFF canned foods (exclusive to Australia). Over 50 batches have been tested, and those results have indicated heavy metals are not the likely cause of the symptoms these cats are presenting.
Further veterinary consultation has shown that thiamine deficiency may share many neurological symptoms with heavy metal toxicity. We have initiated tests to determine thiamine levels in these foods as we continue to pursue all possible causes. Veterinarians may consider thiamine supplementation as part of their treatment plan when neurological symptoms are present, irrespective of diet.
We remain committed to working closely with the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) and the veterinary community as we seek to understand and resolve the concerns affecting cat households in Australia. We will continue to update you as the situation develops.”
May 12, 2017 update: Weruva has expanded its panel of experts to assist them in determining the source of the illnesses reported in Australia. The panel includes a feline-exclusive veterinarian with over 20 years of experience, who served on the board for the American Association of Feline Practitioners and a veterinarian and medical director of an exclusive feline veterinary hospital. They are also in contact with a veterinary toxicologist with over 20 years of experience in their field.
Weruvua has set up a website, http://www.weruvaupdates.com, where they will post updates as they become available.