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FDA Issues Warning on Jerky Dog Treats, Ask Veterinarians for Help

The FDA issued their first caution to consumers regarding chicken, duck, and sweet potato jerky treats imported from China in September of 2007. We have all heard the news reports and complaints of the Chinese chicken jerky treats – also referred to as strips, tenders, chunks, etc. But, six years later, the treats are still being imported and dogs are still getting sick and dying. Most current estimates are that nearly 600 dogs have died, with thousands more showing signs of severe illness, as a result of eating the imported treats.

Yet, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has yet to issue a recall.

Why?

Because researchers, scientists, and veterinarians can’t find anything wrong with them.

According to the Food and Drug Administration:

There is nothing preventing a company from conducting a voluntary recall. It is important to understand that unless a contaminant is detected and we have evidence that a product is adulterated, we are limited in what regulatory actions we can take. The regulations don’t allow for products to be removed based on complaints alone. This is an ongoing investigation and FDA will notify the public if a recall is initiated. Currently, FDA continues to urge pet owners to use caution with regard to chicken jerky products.

In their new Fact Sheet, the FDA urges consumers to take caution with feeding their dogs these treats.

FDA is advising consumers who choose to feed their dogs chicken jerky products to watch their dogs closely for any or all of the following signs that may occur within hours to days of feeding the products:

  • decreased appetite;
  • decreased activity;
  • vomiting;
  • diarrhea, sometimes with blood or mucus
  • increased water consumption
  • increased urination
  • Severe cases are diagnosed with pancreatitis, gastrointestinal
    bleeding, and kidney failure or the resemblance of a rare kidney

    related illness called Fanconi syndrome.

Additionally, the FDA is seeking help from dog owners and veterinarians in their continued efforts to pinpoint the exact cause of dog illnesses and death, so that a recall can be issued.

Consumers that continue to feed the treats, despite repeated warnings, are urged to save some treats in their original packaging for at least 60 days from the time of feeding, in case the dog becomes ill and samples are required for testing. Veterinarians have also been asked to report any findings to the FDA, including sending health records and urine samples of suspected cases.

Consumer complaints regarding the treats have dropped dramatically in recent months, due mostly to the massive recall of the most popular brands of chicken jerky after an antibiotic residue contaminant was found. The FDA does not believe that antibiotic residue is the cause for the illnesses, however, and are continuing their investigations. The drop in complaints was more likely a result of recalls by Nestle Purina PetCare Co.’s Waggin Train and Canyon Creek Ranch treats, plus Del Monte Corp.’s Milo’s Kitchen Chicken Jerky and Chicken Grillers home-style dog treats which simply resulted in fewer treats being available to consumers.
You can help FDA’s investigation by reporting your own complaints through the Safety Reporting Portal (www.safetyreporting.hhs.gov) or your local FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator (www.fda.gov/Safety/ReportaProblem/ConsumerComplaintCoordinators/default.htm).
Remember, the FDA has not issued a recall, despite these concerns. Any chicken, duck, or sweet potato jerky-style treats that are imported from China being sold in stores today may still be harmful to your pet.
If your dog simply cannot live without his jerky treats, look for brands that are sourced and made in the USA.

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