Champion Petfoods has pulled out of the Australian market following the recall of all Orijen raw foods sold there. The foods were associated with an outbreak of serious neurologic disease in Australian cats. Some cats have had to be euthanized and a few seem to be improving slightly on antioxidant therapy.
As it turns out, Australia requires that raw pet food be subjected to large doses of radiation to kill parasites, and that level of radiation destroys the Vitamin A. The company researched the industry extensively and found supporting science:
From the Champion Petfoods website:
"1. Research findings of a 2007 study published by the AMERICAN COLLEGE OF VETERINARY PATHOLOGISTS.... determined that the feeding of a gamma-irradiated diet of 35-45 kGy was associated with the development of the same conditions as are reported in cats in Australia.
2. JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN ASSOCIATION FOR LABORATORY ANIMAL SCIENCES, vol 47, no. 6, 61-66. November 2008 entitled “EFFECTS OF GAMMA IRRADIATION AND PASTEURIZATION ON THE NUTRITIVE COMPOSITION OF COMMERCIALLY AVAILABLE ANIMAL DIETS” finds that “results raise questions regarding the suitability of gamma-irradiated diets for
the long-term exclusive feeding of cats in particular, given that such feeding regimes have been associated with the development of leukoencephalomyelopathy in this species”
So apparently much higher levels of radiation are used on raw pet foods than would be considered for raw meat for human consumption. Still. I'll continue to try and buy organic and local.