We have had a steady stream of tainted food and defective products from China, which is notorious for its lack of environmental and product safety enforcement. Now, more than dog deaths are believed to be linked to “toxic treats” from China and, given the under-reporting of such deaths, the number could be far higher. There have been roughly 5000 complaints since 2007 about jerky treats and pet deaths or illnesses.
Many of the cases involved gastrointestinal or liver disease and about a third involved kidney and urinary disease. The common factor appears to be chicken or duck jerky treat, or a jerky-wrapped treat from China. What is equally disturbing is that, while some treats say that they are made in the USA, they actually may contain Chinese ingredients. So, pet owners who routinely avoid Chinese products, may be unable to protect their pets by companies that use (but do not disclose) their Chinese ingredients. Under intense criticism and after New York state officials found antibiotics in their products, Nestlé Purina and Del Monte voluntarily pulled several popular chicken jerky treats made in China off the market. This included Nestlé Purina’s Waggin’ Train and Canyon Creek Ranch jerky treats as well as Milo’s Kitchen treats produced by Del Monte’s pet food division (Big Heart Pet Brands).
Dogs often show specific signs of sickness including vomiting, diarrhea and lethargy. However, the FDA continues to be stumped about the cause of the contamination.
Source: Washington Post
Since 2007, FDA has become aware of an increasing number of illnesses in pets associated with the consumption of jerky pet treats. As of May 1, 2014, FDA has received approximately 4,800 reports of pet illnesses which may be related to consumption of the jerky treats (These include 1800 complaints received since FDA’s last update in October 2013). Most of the reports involve jerky products sourced from China. The majority of the complaints involve dogs, but cats also have been affected. The reports involve more than 5,600 dogs, 24 cats, three people and include more than 1,000 canine deaths. There does not appear to be a geographic pattern to the case reports.
FDA has received adverse event reports for many sizes and ages of dogs, and for multiple breeds. About 60 percent of the reports are for gastrointestinal illness (with or without elevated liver enzymes) and about 30 percent relate to kidney or urinary signs. The remaining 10 percent of cases involve a variety of other signs, including convulsions, tremors, hives, and skin irritation.
Part of the problem is that pet owners often face limited damages for the loss of pets, which are still treated as chattel. Class action lawsuits represent the best litigation option, but Chinese companies are notoriously difficult to sue.
Source: Washington Post