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Contaminated Jerky Treats Kill Hundreds Of Dogs

Janelle Cabuco |
October 31, 2013 | 1:48 a.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

Poor Fido! Keep your pup safe; beware of pet treats made in China (pinterest/batpigandme.tumblr.com).
Poor Fido! Keep your pup safe; beware of pet treats made in China (pinterest/batpigandme.tumblr.com).
Contaminated pet jerky treats made in China have killed about 600 dogs and have sickened thousands since 2007. Though most of the deaths and illnesses have involved dogs, 10 cats have also fallen ill in the past six years. 

Of the thousands of animals sickened by these treats --- made out of chicken, duck, sweetened potatoes, and dried fruit --- about 60 percent of them experienced gastrointestinal illnesses, and 30 percent of them had urinary troubles or kidney problems.

Although the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued warnings about the pet treats, they have not yet called for a recall of these Chinese pet food products. 

Since there has been no formal recall, the FDA has not had the ability to provide consumers with a list of affected pet jerky brands. However, the top three best-selling jerky treat brands –- Waggin’ Train, Canyon Creek Ranch, and Milo’s Kitchen Home-style Dog Treats -- have been mentioned in connection with these illnesses. 

The FDA has even released a one-page fact sheet for pet owners to reference. In this fact sheet, the FDA states that they are currently testing all possible causes to these illnesses, but have found no conclusive evidence to date. They have tested contaminants such as antibiotics, chemicals, heavy metals, pesticides, and Salmonella, but have found no harmful substances within the treats. The sheets also provides readers with further contact information regarding the jerky case.  

The FDA and veterinarians have begun urging pet owners who feed their cats or dogs jerky treats to watch for symptoms such as a decrease in appetite, diarrhea, lethargy, and vomiting. If pet owners see these symptoms, they are encouraged to report to FDA’s Consumer Complaint Coordinator. 

Pet owners and veterinarians are also asked to send the FDA blood, tissue, and urine samples of animals that they suspect may have fallen victim to these contaminated jerky treats. 

Though this jerky epidemic has continued over the past six years, there has been a significant decline in illnesses since both Nestle Purine PetCare Co. and Del Monte Corp. recalled their own pet jerky products in January of this year.

Despite the fact that no evidence has been found proving that the Chinese companies who produced these jerkies are at fault, this case is not the first contaminated pet food case brought up against Chinese companies. In 2007, Two Chinese companies were found guilty of intentionally exporting contaminated pet food to the United States. The two companies, Xuzhou Anying Biologic Technology Development and Binzhou Futian Biology Technology, had illegally added melamine to their products in order to adulterate feed and raise profit margins. 

The FDA has recently proposed a new rule that would require animal food companies to have higher health standards and safety plans when processing foods, which raises the question: have we and are we doing enough?

SEE ALSO: FDA Proposes Stricter Regulations Of Pet Food

Reach Staff Reporter Janelle Cabuco here



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