I have been re-reading all the posts on the two threads on this forum relating to the Australian Orijen recall.
I am aware that there a strong supporters of Champion on this site and that many of you feed Orijen to your cats with satisfaction.
I am also aware of the call for firm evidence or legal action before further posts blaming Champion were made and that there was a body of opinion that favoured legal action or perhaps let's say "blame", for the sake of shorthand simplicity, being directed at the Australian Government and/or the irradiation facility.
Speaking for myself, I do not hold the Australian Government blame-free and while I welcome the cessation of cat food irradiation I believe it should be extended to dog foods and all pet treats and also believe the labelling as "Unsuitable for cats" which is intended for irradiated dog food is woefully inadequate. I believe I speak for many other affected cat owners here too as I am in contact with quite a few of them in Sydney and elsewhere in Australia.
To this end I am (and I believe others are also) continuing to lobby for the extension of the ban as a best case scenario and at least for more comprehensive labelling of irradiated dog food to spell out its dangers for cats. I am also obtaining other information regarding how/why the 50kGy level was adopted and should have this to hand shortly. And I will pursue that avenue once I have it.
So having given some balance (I hope) and understanding of where I at least stand on this issue and though I can't speak for everyone, I do know of several others who are in agreement with me, I am posting some links to information released under the Australian Freedom of Information Act.
I am posting the links below to the three online storage facility files where the documents may be opened and downloaded:http://www.filefactory.com/file/ahh0..._under_FOI_pdfhttp://www.filefactory.com/file/ahhh..._questions_pdfhttp://www.filefactory.com/file/ahhh...dural_docs_pdf
I have read through all the information here several times now. From the documents it is clear that the Australian Government gave the importer as much information and clear direction as possible to make their own investigations with regard to the suitability of the irradiation process on the product. The importer says he will confer with the manufacturer, then comes back a week later in an email to the Australian Quarantine assessment officer saying that the manufacturer agrees to the process and the costs.
And a choice was given, to not go ahead with the application if not wished.
Which gives the lie to their claim on their March 10 release "Was Champion given a choice whether to irradiate" and the simple answer "NO"
Perhaps they weren't given the choice directly and perhaps their importer, having invested that much time effort and money in setting himself up to be the distributor, wanted to see some return on that investment and kind of omitted to tell them. However, Champion could still have pulled the plug on it if they'd wanted to.
It therefore seems rather strange that the manufacturer should be claiming all along that they did not realise their food would be irradiated and that the first they knew of the irradiation was when they were presented with the invoices by their importer which they found surprisingly expensive. Presumably they didn't find out what the costs would be beforehand either.
It was only after the effects began showing up in the cats that investigations were made by testing Orijen's nutrient levels pre irradiation and running some through Canadian irradiation facilities to test post irradiated (Peter Muhlenfeld posted this on the thread started by Rosella about her cats Gus and Maurice - worth mentioning here that Rosella has now lost Gus to this devastating disease and she is heartbroken)
I think if Champion had run these tests ahead
of agreeing to having their biologically appropriate/fresh ingredient as nature intended food nuked they would have seen the depleted Vitamin A and so forth that they made such a big song and dance about on their website releases, they would have thought twice about subjecting their food to this procedure.
Instead of that they did the tests after
In a conversation I had with Peter Muhlenfeld the night my cat was diagnosed as having contracted the condition, I said to him that I didn't think it was the sort of process a company making a holistic, biologically appropriate product would want applied to their food. "You know - you're right! why would we want that!" he exclaimed, in a voice that suggested to me he hadn't thought of that angle before.
I spent an hour and fifteen minutes on the phone with him. From his early demeanour in the phone call at the beginning right to the end, I wasn't really convinced. These documents support that conclusion.
While there are no emails directly from Champion to Aust Quarantine, it seems hard to believe that his importer would have made the decision on his own and just pretended to have kept Champion in the loop, he was back and forth getting further information relating to ingredients and processing the whole way through, why would he have stopped communicating at that point?
I don't think he did. I think he asked them and they didn't take more than five working days to think about it. What this hasty decision has cost Champion in lost revenue, partial-compensation payouts (20 or so of us are still fighting for full compensation), the cost of employing a loss management agency in Sydney to handle all the claims, the cost of one of their customer service people spending much of her time dealing with enquiries (and rather slowly I might add) lost credibility, and lost time in "aggressively monitoring" internet and media coverage of the issue so they can warn reporters and cat owners off adverse comment, they could have spent on some proper due diligence ahead of subjecting their really quite good kibble to a process they knew nothing about. This much they have admitted, that their error was in not investigating fully beforehand.
Says it all, really.
Just one more thing. They use a rendering plant as a supplier for some of the content of Orijen. The name is on one of the documents, you can google them and read about how they derive their product. Not really compatible with their claims of fresh food as nature intended.