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Dangerous levels of Vitamin D in Rachael Ray Nutrish cat food prompt nationwide recall

The FDA is announcing a Class I Recall of Rachael Ray Nutrish wet cat food due to dangerous levels of vtamin D. After conducting a number of product tests, Ainsworth Pet Nutrition, the company that manufactures Rachael Ray’s Nutrish pet food, confirmed that the affected products have elevated levels of Vitamin D.

To date, there have been 11 reports of illness associated with these products.

Symptoms of vitamin D toxicosis (also known as hypervitaminosis D) caused by the consumption of toxic levels of vitamin D develop within 12-36 hours after ingestion and may include vomiting or diarrhea, increased thirst and urination, and muscle tremors or seizures. Any cat experiencing these symptoms should be taken to a veterinarian immediately.

According to the announcement on Nutrish’s website, they attribute the toxic level of vitamin D found in the formulas due to fish:

“The high levels result from the natural levels of Vitamin D that are found in some of the fish ingredients that were used in these specific formulas.”

The following products which were distributed nationwide are being recalled:

Single Pack Unit UPC Code Best By Dates Thru
PAW LICKIN’ CHICKEN & LIVER (2.8 oz.) 071190007032 AUG 17 2015
OCEAN FISH & CHICKEN CATCH-IATORIE (2.8 oz.) 071190007049 DEC 1 2016
OCEAN FISH–A–LICIOUS (2.8 oz.) 071190007056 DEC 1 2016
TUNA PURRFECTION (2.8 oz.) 071190007063 DEC 1 2016
LIP SMACKIN’ SARDINE ‘N MACKEREL (2.8 oz.) 071190007070 DEC 1 2016
Multi Packs – 12 Count Unit UPC Code Best By Dates Thru
CHICKEN LOVERS VARIETY PACK (12 count pack of 2.8 oz. cups) 071190007773 DEC 1 2016
OCEAN LOVERS VARIETY PACK (12 count pack of 2.8 oz. cups) 071190007780 DEC 1 2016

Two variety packs that contain some of these recalled products (the Chicken Lovers Variety Pack, and the Ocean Lovers Variety Pack) will also be recalled. The UPC code can be found on the bottom of the cup. The Best By date can be found on the side of the cup.

Ainsworth is working to ensure the removal of all affected products from store shelves. Retailers with affected products are asked to contact 888-943-4218 for additional information.

Consumers with questions about the recall are encouraged to contact Ainsworth’s Consumer Care Team at 877-650-3486 or visit www.nutrishforpets.com/news.

Representatives will be available from 8:00 a.m. — 9:00 p.m. ET Monday thru Friday and 8:00 a.m. — 8:00 p.m. ET Saturday and Sunday.

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Mollie Morrissette

Mollie Morrissette, author of Poisoned Pets, is an animal food safety expert and advisor to AAFCO. Help support her work by making a donation today.

Comments (10) Write a comment

  1. My cat passed away last week because he was poisoned by Nutrish. I do not believe their vitamin D excuse at all. His blood tests showed extremely high levels for both liver and kidney function, but the vitamin D test was normal. I contacted the FDA about this concern and told the company I did not believe he could have gotten so very sick so suddenly from vitamin D- and that was even before the test results came back. I have read that Rachael Ray accepts no responsibility at all.
    I do believe that the products (be it fish or chicken) from Thailand may have been tainted in some other way.

    Reply

    • Ellen, I urge you to please report this to the FDA. More importantly, your vet should make a report as well. I have written a number of guides on how to do it. A good place to start is here:http://www.poisonedpets.com/essentials/. I cannot emphasize enough how important this is. Without adverse event reports the FDA cannot be expected to be psychic. Here is the link to reporting a problem with the FDA: http://www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/SafetyHealth/ReportaProblem/ucm182403.htm.

      Reply

      • I agree, I don’t believe that excuse either. My cat got sick about 12 hours after eating rachel ray’s “super premium” cat food. The food I fed her was not part of the recall in June. She’s having bloody, mucous filled diarrhea & vomiting. These symptoms are consistent with food poisoning. I want to have the food tested myself, I don’t trust this company.

        Reply

        • Follow up to previous comment. My cat has had diarrhea for months after eating Rachel Ray Nutrish. Had a shot of antibiotics at the vet & he gave me pro-biotics to add to her food. Like Ellen Walsh, my cat’s blood work also showed elevated kidney & liver enzymes.

          Reply

  2. Mollie,
    I wrote both Weruva and Soulistic (via their respective websites’ “contact us” email addresses), asking if their Thailand-processed canned cat foods were produced at the same facility as Nutrish’s, and if so, had they or were they going to conduct testing to determine if their foods contained excessive vit D, as well. I got an answer from the Weruva/Soulistic brand family president within an hour of my inquiry, which I greatly appreciated! Here is how he responded:

    “Hello Jo,

    Thank you for the email to both Weruva and Soulistic. We appreciate your
    concerns. We are not familiar with Nutrish pet food, though I do not believe
    they manufacture in the same place where our family of brands are
    manufactured. At this time, we have not received multiple inquiries on our
    batches of food that would indicate anything is wrong with them.

    The press release found on the FDA’s website states “The high levels result
    from the natural levels of vitamin D that are found in some of the fish
    ingredients that were used in these specific formulas.” It is important to
    point out that there is also a recall on their chicken based item which I
    believe does not contain any fish. I did not see a reason for this, but fish
    would not be a contributing factor. In addition, of the 4 other items, they
    were all produced on the same date based upon the same best by date. The
    fish ingredients are different in all of the formulas.

    As does Nutrish, we use tuna, ocean fish, mackerel and sardine, and all of
    these fish are wild caught in our products. In our products, as the fish are
    wild caught and caught in different waters at different times, it would be
    unlikely that there would be a common thread tying all of these fish items
    together from a raw material standpoint. Moreover, an issue in all products
    (that have varying different fish ingredients) produced on the same date of
    production, in our foods, would be indicative that something the
    same/something common in all items would more likely be the causing factor
    than varying fish ingredients. We would therefore look to ingredients that
    are the same in all items, for instance a thickener. And perhaps we could
    check that the vitamins/mineral premix was put into the formulas properly.
    The fish too could also be checked as well.

    We will keep our eyes and ears open, but at this time, we have not received
    any inquiries that would give rise to a concern along these lines.

    I hope this is helpful. Please let us know if you have further questions or
    comments.

    Best Regards,

    David Forman, President and Co-Founder
    Weruva Because Weluvya!”

    Reply

  3. This food is produced in Thailand. Has anyone solicited and received an answer from Weruva (who also makes BFF) or Petco/Soulistic on whether or not they make their wet cat foods at the same facility and, if so, if they have or are conducting tests to determine if their foods are affected, as well?

    Reply

    • Not yet Jo. This just broke this morning.

      I suspect that the toxic fish explanation is bs – it just doesn’t hold up. I’m afraid someone screwed up in the formulating department there.

      The FDA is working on this as it is a Class I recall – the most serious kind.

      I will post an update as soon as I know anything more.

      Reply

      • Mollie, I emailed both Weruva and Soulistic about this issue and here is the reply I received–from the Weruva prez, no less! FYI, I also posted this on Susan’s website.

        “Hello Jo,

        Thank you for the email to both Weruva and Soulistic. We appreciate your
        concerns. We are not familiar with Nutrish pet food, though I do not believe
        they manufacture in the same place where our family of brands are
        manufactured. At this time, we have not received multiple inquiries on our
        batches of food that would indicate anything is wrong with them.

        The press release found on the FDA’s website states “The high levels result
        from the natural levels of vitamin D that are found in some of the fish
        ingredients that were used in these specific formulas.” It is important to
        point out that there is also a recall on their chicken based item which I
        believe does not contain any fish. I did not see a reason for this, but fish
        would not be a contributing factor. In addition, of the 4 other items, they
        were all produced on the same date based upon the same best by date. The
        fish ingredients are different in all of the formulas.

        As does Nutrish, we use tuna, ocean fish, mackerel and sardine, and all of
        these fish are wild caught in our products. In our products, as the fish are
        wild caught and caught in different waters at different times, it would be
        unlikely that there would be a common thread tying all of these fish items
        together from a raw material standpoint. Moreover, an issue in all products
        (that have varying different fish ingredients) produced on the same date of
        production, in our foods, would be indicative that something the
        same/something common in all items would more likely be the causing factor
        than varying fish ingredients. We would therefore look to ingredients that
        are the same in all items, for instance a thickener. And perhaps we could
        check that the vitamins/mineral premix was put into the formulas properly.
        The fish too could also be checked as well.

        We will keep our eyes and ears open, but at this time, we have not received
        any inquiries that would give rise to a concern along these lines.

        I hope this is helpful. Please let us know if you have further questions or
        comments.

        Best Regards,

        David Forman, President and Co-Founder
        Weruva Because Weluvya!”

        Reply

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