Australia Bans Cat, Dog Food Irradiation

Action was taken after cats died or got sick from eating irradiated dry food.

Posted: June 10, 2009, 5 a.m. EDT

Australia has banned the government-mandated practice of irradiating imported pet food, the Sydney Morning Herald reports. The ban comes after a number of cats died or became ill after eating irradiated cat food manufactured by the Canadian company, Champion Petfoods Ltd.

The Australian Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Tony Burke, has ordered the sterilization process to cease immediately after receiving international reports that some cats can suffer neurological damage from eating irradiated dry food, according to the Herald. Details on the reports were not immediately available.

In late 2008, Champion issued a voluntary recall of its Orijen cat food in response to multiple reports of cats showing symptoms of neurological problems after eating the food. At that time, the company reported that 30 to 40 cats were affected and four or five cats had to be euthanized.

Champion eventually pulled out of the Australian market after concluding that the health issues were caused by Australia’s irradiation process. Additionally, Champion changed its policy to one that prohibits it from selling to countries where its products will be irradiated.


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Hans   Clever, MO

8/16/2009 8:59:18 AM

I just don't understand what is going on here. This article says it is bad to irradiate and this article ( ood-is-it-safe/page1.aspx)says it is good and supported by one of the best hospitals in the world (Mayo Clinic). Can someone explain what is going on here? Who is right?

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Tania   Sydney Australia, YT

6/19/2009 10:20:58 PM

May I correct your report please? I am an australian with an affected cat that ate gamma irradiated food and campaigned to help get the process stopped. The ban on gamma irradiation is only limited to cat food at this stage, irradiated dog food is to be labelled as unsuitable for cats. This does not really go far enough because cats that ate the irradiated dog kibble were also affected. We are continuing to lobby the Australian Government to get all pet food irradiation banned and a full review of the safety of food irradiation and labelling generally. The RSPCA is also campaigning for regulation of the pet food industry. Thank you.

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Michele   Freeport, IL

6/10/2009 8:30:08 PM

Way to go Australia!

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