News Updates for AUSTRALIAN-EXCLUSIVE BFF CANNED FOODS
North American customers:
We'd like to note that this matter only affected an Australian-exclusive line of BFF canned foods, produced in a separate facility than any other Weruva foods. Please be assured that all Weruva foods remain a safe choice.
To all concerned pet parents of Australia:
Our Australian BFF caned foods have been removed from the market. For those who were affected by this issue, please read below for how to properly contact Weruva.
LATEST UPDATES, FOUND IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER
JUNE 5TH, 2017
To our Australian Weruva family:
We've concluded our testing, and we're writing with an important update we hope will bring closure to our Australian pet parents.
You might have seen the results of our marine toxicology report we posted here Thursday. After a thorough analysis of the results of these tests in conjunction with third-party toxicology and veterinary experts, we're ready to announce our conclusive findings that this unfortunate situation resulted from lower-than-expected thiamine levels in some batches of our Australian BFF canned foods (see May 27th post).
All other Weruva foods remain a safe choice, and we’ve removed all of the affected cans from store shelves. Further, we've taken immediate steps to ensure the safety of future BFF batches, as well as our full line of products. More on that soon—first, we'd like to give you a summary of all of the actions that led us to this conclusion.
TEST #1: HEAVY METALS
When we received reports of cats with abnormal neurological symptoms, we followed the advice of the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) and tested multiple batches of all our products for heavy metals. Of special concern in our testing were mercury levels because it could have offered a possible explanation. The test results, however, offered no cause for concern—meaning heavy metals were not likely the cause of the symptoms reported.
TEST #2: THIAMINE
We then consulted with both an independent toxicologist and the AVA, who suggested low levels of thiamine might be the possible cause. Acting upon this guidance, we publicly advised that veterinarians consider treating affected cats for thiamine deficiency. Because time was of the essence, we concurrently started sending different waves of our products to an independent lab. While all of our other Weruva products tested within normal ranges, test results showed that some of our Australian BFF canned foods contained low levels of thiamine.
TEST #3: MARINE TOXINS
To confirm our findings, we conducted an additional series of tests. Although there was only a small chance that our foods were contaminated with marine toxins (domoic acid and a host of shellfish toxins called PSP), we ran tests on multiple batches of food to be sure. As expected, these tests concluded that marine toxins were not a factor. To be clear, domoic acid and PSP were not detected.
Once again, thank you so much for your patience and continued support during this incredibly difficult time. As challenging as it has been for our company and the many pet lovers and pet parents who work here, we know it pales in comparison to what affected Australian cat parents have experienced. Rest assured, Weruva foods remain a safe choice—and we’ll be working hard to ensure they remain so.
If you have been personally affected by this issue, please reach out to us so we can help advise and work with our insurance company to have them respond as soon as possible. Please contact us with any questions you still have—you are a vital part of our Weruva family. You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org or the “Contact Us” button up top.
JUNE 1ST, 2017
To our Australian Weruva family:
As some of you might know, we've been urgently working with several third-party laboratories in testing our BFF canned foods. Additional testing we conducted was a marine toxicology test (which tests for marine-based pathogens like domoic acid and shellfish- related toxins).
We're writing to tell you that the results of this test were negligible, which means that marine-based toxins were not detected and are not a cause of any observed symptoms.
We wanted to let you know this as soon as possible, since time is of the essence in updating our worried pet parents.
Thank you again for your patience and cooperation in this difficult time—our Weruva pets and pet parents are all valued members of our family, and our heart goes out to them.
MAY 31ST, 2017
Australian pet parents concerned with thiamine deficiency:
We know your cat is an important member of your family—and that's why we're writing this post, because we need help from both you and your vet. We're looking for responses on our recent Weruva Health Questionnaire (https://goo.gl/tJRARz), which asks for information on your cat's specific concerns from both you and your vet. We’re hoping those Australians affected can provide us with information as soon as possible.
This will allow us to:
Connect your personal vet with our own expert vets to discuss diagnosis and treatment
Work with our insurance company to have them respond as soon as possible
We're working around the clock to get to the bottom of this, and the sooner your vet provides the necessary information, the sooner our team will have answers for you. If you've already taken the survey, we're working hard to analyze your responses, and we'll get back to you with updates as soon as we possibly can.
We can't thank you enough for your patience, understanding, and cooperation during this difficult time.
MAY 27TH, 2017
Australian BFF canned foods - Batch Codes:
While all BFF canned foods in Australia remain under a stop sale notice, certain batches in Australia only (with best by dates ranging from December 2017 to December 2019) may not contain adequate thiamine to meet AAFCO “complete & balanced” guidelines. These batches are listed here:
All other Weruva products have been assessed and are not of concern.
This notice is limited to Australian BFF canned foods only.
WEDNESDAY MAY 24TH, 2017
To Australian Cat Parents:
This has been a long and arduous time for all involved, especially the families whose cats have been directly impacted. During this difficult period, we have spoken directly with many of you, and we feel your pain.
As many of you know, the initial focus to determine if there was a link to Australian BFF canned foods was on heavy metals. Traces of mercury, arsenic, and other heavy metals are commonly found in everyday foods at safe levels. Experts have stated that our Australian BFF canned foods are not a likely cause for heavy metals toxicity and that the levels of heavy metals in our foods are not of toxicological consequence.
Thiamine (Vitamin B1), an essential nutrient for cats, was also of interest because thiamine deficiency may show similar symptoms as heavy metals toxicity. The American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) establishes a minimum level of Vitamin B1 if a food is to be considered “complete and balanced” to meet the AAFCO nutrient profile for adult maintenance. As it pertains to BFF canned foods, a “complete and balanced” diet means an adult cat can subsist on that one food alone.
Certain batches of our Australian BFF canned foods with “Best By” dates ranging from December 2017 through December 2019 contain insufficient Vitamin B1 to be labeled as complete and balanced per AAFCO.
While batches have tested low in thiamine per AAFCO, there is limited published information on actual thiamine concentrations in food associated with clinical signs of deficiency in cats. Therefore, thiamine supplementation should be considered by veterinarians when symptoms of deficiency are present. Beyond concerns of thiamine deficiency, veterinarians have considered causes other than diet, such as viral and pathological possibilities.
We share great concern for cats’ illnesses in Australia. We ask that any family who believes their pet may have been affected by thiamine deficiency, contact us at email@example.com where your email will be returned with details on how to address the next steps together. We are also available by phone at 1-800-108-382.
FRIDAY MAY 19TH, 2017
A message to the Australian families in distress, from David & Stacie Forman, founders of Weruva.
FRIDAY MAY 12TH, 2017
We’ve expanded our panel of experts to assist us as we seek clarity to the source of illnesses reported in Australia, regardless of cause. Additions to the panel include:
- A feline-exclusive veterinarian with over 20 years of experience, who served on the board for the American Association of Feline Practitioners.
- A veterinarian doctor and medical director of an exclusive feline veterinary hospital.
Also we are in contact with a veterinary toxicologist with over 20 years of experience in their field.
THURSDAY MAY 11TH, 2017
In Australia, rigorous testing continues.
We maintain our precautionary stop-sale on our exclusive Australian BFF canned foods only.
In the USA, in addition to routine testing, we maintain vigilance by putting our full range of foods through the same in-depth screening as we are in Australia.
WEDNESDAY MAY 10TH, 2017
David Forman here, President & Co-Founder of Weruva and Best Friends Foods (BFF).
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.
SUNDAY MAY 7TH, 2017
Regarding our recent announcement, all tested foods have come back clear.
Per veterinary guidance, 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. We remain committed to our customers and their pets’ well being. We will continue to provide updates as they are available.
SUNDAY MAY 7TH, 2017
Important announcement from Weruva:
We are aware of a small number of cats in Australia with health concerns, and we are researching any potential link to BFF canned foods unique to the Australian market. Out of an abundance of caution we have issued a Stop Sale Notice for BFF canned foods in Australia only. Once we receive test results and more information, we can quickly provide further updates. Customers outside of Australia, please be assured that all Weruva foods remain a safe choice.
Since this is a developing issue we have limited confirmed facts, and we want to keep you informed of the actions we are taking. We ask that you contact us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 1-800-108-382 from Australia or at 1-800-776-5262 from North America. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns.
The Weruva family is here for you and your pets.
If anyone has questions or concerns, we urge you to speak with us.
1-800-776-5262 from North America, 1-108-382 from Australia, or by using the below contact form.