Cat food recall as ‘precautionary measure’ after safety concerns

Date published: 16 June 2021

A number of dry cat food products have been recalled over safety concerns.

Manufacturer Fold Hill Foods, which provides dry food for Applaws, AVA (sold exclusively at Pets at Home) and Sainsbury’s, is voluntarily recalling several hypoallergenic products as “a precautionary measure” after an increase in pancytopenia cases in cats.

A spokesperson for Fold Hill said: “We are voluntarily recalling the dry products we manufacture for the brands detailed. We are supporting an investigation by the food and veterinary authorities into a possible safety issue affecting cats.”

The Food Standards Agency says: “There is concern on the safety of the products listed above. There has been an increase in cases of pancytopenia in cats and there is a possible link to the cat food products listed.”

Pancytopenia is a very rare condition where the number of blood cells (red, white and platelets) rapidly decreases, causing serious illness including bone marrow failure. Common signs include lethargy and loss of appetite, although in some cases there are signs of spontaneous bleeding or bruising. 

According to the Royal Veterinary College (RVC), there has been an in increase in fatal cases of the illness since May.

A spokesperson for the RVC said: ““We can confirm that we are aware of a series of cases of fatal pancytopenia in cats in the UK.

“After noticing an increase in cats presenting with pancytopenia (a severe reduction in all major types of blood cells) in May, we have been gathering data from UK vets from these affected cats. Based on the evidence to date, the one aspect of these cases that formed a consistent pattern was the diet of the affected individuals.

“We are currently aware of more than 130 affected cats, and have information relating to the diet in approximately 80 per cent of cases reported. From the data shared, most cats show some non-specific signs for around two days before being seen by a vet. Common signs include lethargy and loss of appetite, although in some cases there are signs of spontaneous bleeding or bruising. We encourage owners to contact their veterinary practice if they are worried that their cat may be affected.

“Given this apparent association with diet, we welcome the Food Standards Agency’s product recall notice. While we have not definitively established diet as the cause of pancytopenia in these cats, we are continuing to liaise with the pet food industry and regulatory bodies to investigate the matter and identify the possible underlying causes of this extremely serious condition.

“To further support these efforts, we are encouraging vets who have seen these cases to complete our survey.” 

If you have bought any of the products as detailed below, do not feed them to your cat.


  • Check if you have bought the affected products
  • Return the product(s) to the store for a full refund (with or without a receipt).

For Applaws products only any packs with a Best Before Date of Dec 2022 to Best Before Date of June 2023 and a site reference code of GB218E5009 are affected.

For AVA it is all batches and best before dates.

For Sainsburys’ products it is all batches and best before dates.

Affected products

Applaws (all best before December 2022 – June 2023; site code GB218E5009)

  • Cat; dry chicken – 400g, 2kg, 7.5kg
  • Cat; dry chicken and salmon – 400g, 2kg, 7.5kg
  • Cat; dry chicken and lamb – 400g, 2kg, 7.5kg
  • Cat; dry chicken and duck – 400g, 2kg, 7.5kg
  • Cat; dry ocean fish – 350g, 1.8kg and 6kg
  • Kitten; dry chicken – 400g, 2kg, 7.5kg
  • Senior; cat dry chicken – 400g, 2kg, 7.5kg

AVA (all best before dates and all batch codes)

  • Kitten; chicken – 300g, 2kg
  • Adult; chicken – 300g, 2kg, 4kg
  • Adult; fish – 2kg
  • Adult mature; chicken (7+) – 2kg, 4kg
  • Adult senior; chicken (12+) – 2kg
  • Sensitive skin and stomach – 1.5kg
  • Weight management – 1.5kg
  • Hairball – 1.5kg
  • Oral care – 1.5kg
  • British shorthair – 1.5kg
  • Persian – 1.5kg
  • Maine Coon – 1.5kg


  • Hypoallergenic recipe complete dry cat food with salmon 1+ years (800g)
  • Hypoallergenic recipe complete dry cat food with chicken 1+ years (800g)

Point of sale notices will be displayed in all retail stores that are selling these products.

No other Fold Hill Food products are known to be affected.

For more information:

If you are concerned about the health of your cat, seek immediate advice from your vet.

If you have bought an AVA product contact and fill out the contact form on the help page or livechat.

If you have bought an Applaws product contact

If you have bought a Sainsbury’s product contact or their Customer Careline on 0800 636262.

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