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Posted on Mon, Jul 23, 2012 : 6 a.m.

New FDA findings show that numbers of pets affected by chicken jerky treats has increased, but still there's no recall

By Lorrie Shaw


flickr photo by powazny

Pet food recalls affecting all species have become all-too-common in recent years, and they've occurred for various reasons.

This has been a cause for much controversy and concern for those who share life with pets, and some have even taken matters into their own hands. The movement to either create home-cooked diets or seek commercially available small batch holistic or raw diets has been vigorous, needless to say.

In the latter case, they're not immune to recalls either, so pet owners have a tendency to feel betrayed and even confused.

One product that has come under scrutiny in recent months has been another pet consumable: Chicken jerky treats.

When one sees the package and reads the name, it's easy to feel good about giving them to a pet. Wholesome, simple strips of meat that can be offered as a yummy treat.

Good boy!

In recent months, there's been reports of pets becoming gravely ill — even dying — and the common thread are those healthy, simple chicken jerky treats.

Not so good of a feeling. The big problem is that the majority of these treats are imported from China.

You'll remember that in March, I reported that the The Food and Drug Administration had cautioned pet owners about feeding chicken jerky, and the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association had voiced some concern about feeding the treats imported from China to dogs after pet owners and veterinarians reported illnesses likened to Fanconi syndrome and even death after eating them.

Fanconi syndrome causes kidney dysfunction, and results in different complications, which should be taken seriously.

After five years of testing, the FDA is still having a hard time honing in on what is killing dogs when it comes to these treats.

The agency's standard protocol is to test for bacterial contamination, mold and chemicals like those used in antifreeze, resins and plastics. Heavy metals are on their list of things to test for, as well as melamine and melamine analogs that were detected in pet foods that caused illness and death in thousands of animals in 2007 (the catalyst for the largest pet food recall in history).

The laboratory results of nearly 300 jerky treat samples collected and tested in the U.S. between April 2007 and June 2012 was included in a new report released this week.

Tamara Ward, an FDA spokeswoman recently said that FDA figures show that the number of complaints of animal illnesses and deaths blamed on the treats has risen to more than 1,800.

Despite some findings of adverse effects in the treats, none of the reports that were released indicated that regulatory action needed to be taken — like a recall.

“This does not represent ALL testing that has and is being conducted by FDA,” Ward said in an email. “Additional testing is currently being conducted through other avenues.”

The Chinese facilities that make the treats were inspected in February of this year.

Curiously, these reports were released after NBC reported on July 13 that the agency refused to make the documents public.

Click here
to read the new findings.

You can count on to offer up-to-date information on pet product related recalls. Search our archives of previous recalls here.

Lorrie Shaw leads the pets section for and is owner of Professional Pet Sitting. Shoot her an email, contact her at 734-904-7279 or follow her adventures on Twitter.



Sun, Jul 29, 2012 : 4:55 p.m.

I am a vet in Boise Idaho. I have a client who lost 2 dogs to chinese chicken jerky treats. She works at Walmart and was buying them for her small breed dogs. One rat terrier became acutely diabetic and ketotic and it was a rescue so the owner euthanized. Then, 3 mos later her beloved dog became acutely glucosuric yet not hyper gylcemic for 1 week. After 10 days, he became a classic diabetic and we managed him for 2 yrs till he died of diabetc complications. I can think of possibly 3 other dogs affected but this case was cause and effect of the jerky treats. Unluckily, it took her 2 dogs falling ill to figure it out. She still works at walmart and discourages folks from buying them at the checkout line. She even has gotten into trouble over telling customers that the chinese jerky treats killed her pets. How terrible! Dr Dawn


Mon, Jul 23, 2012 : 10:22 a.m.

If you're looking for a SAFE, REAL 'American Made' chicken jerky for dogs, we started making? our own Chicken Jerky for our 3 dogs in after we ran across the FDA warning of 2008. It turned into a cottage "Mom & Pop" business and we now sell our TriPom Chews online and in 20 stores in the New England area. Our products are the only homemade, handmade, 'Maine Made', 'American Made' Chicken Jerky produced from whole, restaurant-quality chicken breasts containing NO Additives and NO Preservatives.

Ed Fenton

Mon, Jul 23, 2012 : 10:10 a.m.

Another China product, when will you learn NOT to buy China junk