FDA continues investigating jerky treats, companies react to problems

Published on June 18, 2014
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The Food and Drug Administration had received, as of May 1, more than 4,800 complaints of illness in animals that ate jerky pet treat products, nearly all of which were imported from China.  

Petco and PetSmart announced in May that they would stop selling all dog and cat treats made in China. Nestle Purina announced on May 30 that it had offered $6.5 million to settle claims that its jerky pet treat products made in China had sickened dogs.  

On May 16, the FDA released an update on its investigation into jerky pet treat products. The complaints of illness involve more than 5,600 dogs and 24 cats as well as three people and include more than 1,000 dog deaths.

Following an October 2013 request for veterinarians to share cases, the FDA received many well-documented reports that are providing valuable information. Out of this effort, the agency has had the opportunity to perform necropsies on 26 dogs. Thirteen dogs appeared to have causes of death not related to consumption of jerky pet treat products. Eleven had indications of kidney disease, and two had signs of gastrointestinal disease.

The agency is collaborating with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on a study to determine whether sick dogs are eating more of the products than healthy dogs are.

On May 20, Petco announced it will stop carrying Chinese-made dog and cat treats by the end of 2014 at its more than 1,300 locations nationwide.

PetSmart then announced it will stop selling Chinese-made dog and cat treats by March 2015. The chain also has more than 1,300 locations nationwide.

Nestle Purina did not admit fault in offering to settle claims that its Waggin’ Train and Canyon Creek Ranch jerky pet treat products made in China had sickened dogs. The agreement also would require Nestle Purina to undertake enhanced quality assurance measures and modify certain language on product packaging. At press time, court approval of the agreement was pending. 

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