Chicken jerky dog treats are being blamed for the illnesses of 1,000 pets, according to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA). The chicken jerky treats were manufactured in China and have sickened nearly 1,000 dogs in the United States, according to Time’s NewsFeed. The agency has received reports of illnesses and deaths from pet owners and veterinarians since November.
Reports involve vomiting, diarrhea, kidney failure, and death following consumption of the Chinese chicken treats and prompted a warning by the agency in November concerning chicken jerky strips, treats, and nuggets, said NewsFeed. Although the FDA has conducted a number of tests, its scientists have not been able to identify any toxin that could be causing the animal illnesses and deaths, said FDA officials. Also, wrote NewsFeed, results of a review conducted at Chinese treat manufacturing plants this year have not been made available, according to FDA spokeswoman Tamara Ward.
The top three chicken jerky treat brands most recently cited are Waggin’ Train and Canyon Creek Ranch brands, produced by Nestle Purina PetCare Co., and Milo’s Kitchen Home-style Dog Treats, which are produced by the Del Monte Corp. MSNBC reports that both Waggin’ Train and Canyon Creek Ranch are produced and supplied by JOC Great Wall Corp. Ltd. of Nanjing, China, said NewsFeed.
Nestle Purina and Del Monte allege that their chicken jerky treats are safe and illnesses are not related to their products. Meanwhile Milo’s Kitchen officials said they paid one pet owner $100 in exchange for a release of all liability regarding a sick dog, but noted that a veterinary evaluation found the dog’s symptoms “were not related to consuming Milo’s Kitchen chicken jerky treats,” said spokesperson Joanna DiNizio. NewsFeed pointed out that companies can recall the treats at any time; however, regulations do not permit for products to be recalled based only on consumer complaints.
As we’ve long said, imports from China have made headlines in recent years; this debacle is just another example of the many other such issues on which we have written regarding this problem. For example, in 2008, nearly 80% of all product recalls in the United States involved imports from China and involved products such as dog food; baby formula; toys with lead paint; and even pharmaceuticals, like heparin, that were found to be made with toxic materials and other counterfeit ingredients that have long been putting US consumers at significant risk.
The massive Chinese drywall disaster involving imports from that country made headlines for years and, after attention was brought to the lead issue, the dangerous heavy metal, cadmium, began making its way into imports. Experts believe that Chinese manufacturers likely switched to cadmium because they are barred from using lead; however, cadmium, a known carcinogen, is every bit as dangerous as lead.
Baby formula manufactured in China was found to have been made with melamine, a renal toxin that can cause kidney stones and acute renal failure. The melamine-tainted formula sickened tens of thousands of children in China, killing at least six. Melamine was apparently added to milk powder by manufacturers to make it appear that their watered-down baby formula was more nutritious than it really was.
NewsFeed also pointed out that China import scandals have included tainted pork products, rice contaminated with heavy metals, and the use of so-called “gutter oil,” which is reused, discarded cooking oil. And, in 2007, more than 100 North American pets died after consuming China-sourced melamine-tainted pet food said NewsFeed.