Did you know that since 2007, the FDA has received over 2,200 reports of pets falling ill – and some have even died – from eating jerky treats?1 It’ sad but true. As guardian of your pet’s well being, you owe it to them and yourself to read this important, life-saving article. Please forward this to every pet owner you know and repost it on your favorite animal forums. It may just save the life of an innocent dog or cat.
When I first heard about this story my first thought was, “Is this even possible?” I mean after the horrible rash of pet food recalls in 2007, you would think that both the FDA and big commercial pet food companies would be more careful about putting tainted pet food products out there on the market.
Unfortunately they haven’t learned…and worse still, they’re still on store shelves!
Yes, these tainted jerky treats – which have resulted in 360 dog deaths (and even one cat death)2 – are still being to be sold in supermarkets and pet supply stores across the country. There have been no official recalls to date on these jerky treat products. What’s more, the three big pet food manufacturers with the most reported illnesses: Waggin’ Train (Nestle
Purina), Milo’s Kitchen (Del Monte), and Kingdom Pets (Globalinx Pet), are not willing to issue a voluntary recall while the investigations are being conducted, stating that their independent testing concludes that their treats are safe.
Here’s what the FDA is saying about the jerky treat scare:
Q: Why aren’t these products being taken off the market?
A: “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.”
The FDA has conducted various testing on samples of the jerky treats in question yet, so far, every test result has come up clear of any known contaminants.
The Chinese Connection
There is one particular similarity between all the affected pet treats that you should be aware of and that is that the country of origin for the ingredients used in these pet treats is China.
Yes, back in 2008, the FDA concluded that wheat gluten tainted with melamine and imported to the US from China for use in pet food was the culprit of multiple dog and cat illnesses and deaths.5 And don’t forget the Chinese melamine-tainted baby formula scandal later that year that resulted in 300,000 sickened children and six infant deaths.5 Then in 2010 and 2011,
some of that very same melamine-tainted infant formula was found back on store shelves, when it should have been destroyed.6
So What Treats Are Safe?
The horrible thing about all of this is that many pet parents choose to fee their dogs jerky treats in the first place because they want to give their pets something healthier than conventional dog treats. Jerky treats are dehydrated instead of fully cooked and usually contain no grains, which at face value sounds much better than those grain-filled dog biscuits. (And as we all know, grains are harder for dogs to digest and many pets are actually allergic to grains.)
While we may mean well by feeding jerky treats to our pets, the problem with most commercial jerky treats is the actual quality of ingredients that are being used. Since the products are not for humans, pet food manufacturers think they can get away with using poor quality ingredients, artificial flavors, artificial food dyes, and artificial preservatives – all of which
can aggravate your pet’s digestive system and cause unnecessary stress on their organs and immune system.
To help you determine which treats are healthy for your pets, please refer to our handy checklist in the Hot Dog Products section below.
In the meantime, I’ll make sure to keep you in the loop on any further updates to this issue. Please remember to share this article with all your animal-loving friends and family. It may help prevent a tragedy in their home.
Think your pet may have been poisoned by tainted jerky treats? Watch out for these key warning signs*
* Decreased appetite
* Lethargy, decreased activity
* Bloody stools
* Increased thirst and/or urination*If any of these symptoms are severe or last more than 24 hours, seek veterinary attention immediately. Blood tests may indicate kidney failure; urine tests may indicate Fanconi syndrome (increased sugar glucose).
U.S. Food and Drug Administration: “FDA Investigates Animal Illnesses Linked
to Jerky Pet Treats”
ABC News: “Veterinarians are concerned that Chinese-made dog treats are
still for sale in U.S. stores”
U.S. Food and Drug Administration: “Questions and Answers Regarding Jerky
m295445.htm 5: U.S. Food and Drug Administration: “Melamine Pet Food Recall
New York Times: “Melamine – China Tainted Baby Formula Scandal”