October 24, 2013
Thousands of family dogs across the USA have been sickened by pet jerky treats made in China, and nearly 600 dogs have died. The FDA has issued a warning over the deadly jerky treats but has not forced any sort of product recall.
So far, the cause of the fatalities remains a mystery. The FDA says it has tested jerky treats for heavy metals, pesticides, antibiotics, chemicals and even Salmonella but cannot find the cause. The agency is warning pet owners to watch their pets for symptoms of poisoning which may include “decreased appetite, decreased activity, vomiting, diarrhea (sometimes with blood or mucus), increased water consumption and / or increased urination.”
According to USA Today, the deadly jerky treats “come mostly from China,” and the number of dogs sickened or killed by these treats has been rising all year.
The treats causing this epidemic of death, says USA Today, are “made of chicken, duck, sweet potatoes or dried fruit.”
Beware of pet treats made in China
Most consumers do not fully realize that pet treats do NOT have to list their country of origin. Many pet treats are highly deceptive on their packaging, sometimes showing a logo of the continental USA and claiming to be “made with beef from the USA” even though the treats themselves are manufactured in China using toxic chemicals.
The FDA has not issued a recall on the brands it suspects are causing these deaths. This is one of the problems with the agency: it already knows which products are killing dogs, but it has so far failed to release that information to the public. As a result, as more and more people learn about this, all pet treat manufacturers will suffer because consumers will shun the entire product category.
In truth, there are perfectly healthy, safe and even nutritious pet treats made in the USA and other countries, yet due to a lack of labeling laws, it is virtually impossible for consumers to know which country the pet treats they buy are coming from.
This is why we need stronger labeling requirements that mandate the disclosure of things like country of origin, GMOs and even heavy metals contamination. Currently none of these things have to be listed on the label.
Even those of us who believe in smaller government recognize the important role of government in enforcing a “level playing field” through honest labeling. Only with this information can consumers make informed decisions about what they wish to buy (or avoid buying).
Until that happens, countless more dogs, cats and even our own children will die from contaminated food products. These are deaths that could have been avoided if we only had honest labeling laws in place that, for starters, clearly list the country of origin. While that regulation is in place for human foods, it does not exist for pet foods.
Beware of anything edible from China
Not everything from China is bad for you, but China has already won a reputation for producing the most contaminated, polluted and dangerous foods and nutritional supplements in the world. In the natural products industry, China has a strong reputation for producing “highly toxic” raw materials that often fail quality control tests.
The FDA is, at least, doing something good in this area by spot-checking imported raw materials for dietary supplements. We experienced that directly as the FDA, a few weeks ago, took samples from some superfoods we had just imported from South America. They ran heavy metals tests and contaminants tests on these materials and, after two weeks, gave our materials a clean bill of health.
Believe it or not, I actually support this kind of spot checking of raw materials. It is one of the rare useful things the FDA actually accomplishes, and it’s a program with direct benefits to the health of the American population. In truth, we actually need more testing of foods, ingredients and other products being imported into the USA and sold as pet treats, superfoods, dietary supplements, and so on. Contamination of imported products with heavy metals, banned pesticides and other chemicals is shockingly widespread, and as I’ve witnessed firsthand in the industry, some retailers and marketers conduct no quality control testing whatsoever before selling products to the public.
I’ll be writing more about this topic soon, but in the mean time, avoid all pet treats made in China. You may just save the life of your own dog or cat.
This article was posted: Thursday, October 24, 2013 at 4:21 am