[ RadSafe ] Re: ABC (aus) 7;30 Report

Steven Dapra sjd at swcp.com
Sun Jan 25 11:29:41 CST 2009

Jan. 25

         To an extent I stand corrected on this.  I re-read the transcript 
of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and some 50 cats in Sydney have 
been reported as ill, and some 100 other pets have also been reported 
ill.  It seems that the latter have been fed different food than the former.

         A vet neurologist interviewed on the program says, "I'd have to 
say that the circumstantial link is extremely high because we've got nearly 
50 cats affected to date out of a population of probably only 500 or so 
cats that might have been fed the diet and we've seen no cats with this 
particular problem that have not been fed the diet, which is the other 
worrying thing and makes the definite link with the food."

         If it's the irradiation why haven't all 500 cats been 
sickened?  Even though there may be a definite link with the food, that 
does not mean irradiation is the culprit.  According to the reporter, 
"Under Australian quarantine laws all imported pet food has to be 
irradiated or heat treated, to kill off potential diseases."  It would 
probably be safe to assume that this law has been in effect for some 
time.  Why have there apparently been no ill effects until now?  The pat 
answer could be 'the irradiation machine went out of adjustment and is 
over-exposing the food'.  That answer won't suffice, because for it to 
suffice only 50 cats would have eaten the allegedly over-exposed cat food.

         I do not know what would be the proper cutoff criterion for 
further investigation.  A conditioned reflex of blaming irradiation is not 
a proper criterion.  Given the low incidence of pet sickness (50 out of 500 
cats) I doubt that packaging is the villain, unless there is some unusual 
fluke such as a small batch of contaminated or defective packaging.

Steven Dapra

At 10:34 AM 1/23/09 -0600, Kai Kaletsch wrote:
>Hi Steven,
>Please take a look at the link that Leo provided a few days ago ("...go 
>the Origen website at http://www.orijen.ca/orijen/about/ and click on 
>"Australia Only" toward the top left-hand side of the page." ). It has 
>been a while since I looked at it, but my recollection is that it is more 
>than 1 cat and that the product had a fairly limited distribution. This 
>issue was discussed on Radsafe a few months ago and, after reading the 
>orijen release, my comment was something like 'these guys don't seem to be 
>complete nutcases' which is what I (like you) had expected from only 
>looking at the headlines.
>I would still agree with you that degradation of plastic is probably not 
>the cause of the observed neurological symptoms. However, do you only 
>consider or investigate something if it seems to have an a priori 
>probability of more than 50% (the usual meaning of "probably")? I would 
>disagree with this criterion. So, what is a reasonable a priori 
>probability to use as a cutoff criterion for further investigation? To me, 
>it seems that it would not take a lot of resources to look into the 
>possibility of packaging materials interacting with their contents during 
>and after food irradiation, while the implications could be quite far 
>reaching if this is found to be an issue. So, the required a priori 
>probability would be quite low.
>----- Original Message ----- From: "Steven Dapra" <sjd at swcp.com>
>To: <radsafe at radlab.nl>
>Sent: Thursday, January 22, 2009 8:00 PM
>Subject: Re: [ RadSafe ] Re: ABC (aus) 7;30 Report
>>Jan. 22
>>         Begging your pardon, I think plastic being leached into pet food
>>as a result of irradiation is a long shot.  How many cats do you suppose
>>are being fed this irradiated food?  Thousands?  Tens of thousands?  As I
>>recall, that Australian TV program we were linked to earlier this week
>>referred to one sick cat.  The reporter neither said nor implied that cats
>>(or any pets) were getting sick or or dying by the thousands.  I vote for
>>this being the opportunistic use of irradiation as a villain.
>>Steven Dapra
>>At 12:14 PM 1/22/09 -0600, Kai Kaletsch wrote:
>>>What about the possibility of radiation causing chemicals in the packaging
>>>being released into the food? Radiation certainly changes plastic and some
>>>food cans seem to have a plastic lining. I can't think of anything that
>>>would have a higher packaging to food ratio than gourmet cat food.


More information about the RadSafe mailing list