Chinese Dog Treats Should Be Banned, Pet Safety Advocates Tell FDA

Since 2007, tainted Chinese dog treats have sickened or killed thousands of dogs, according to consumer groups.

chinese dog treats

Chinese dog treats should be banned for making dogs sick, consumer advocate groups tell FDA. (Photo: Jared Alden/Getty Images

A Bay Area native, Andri Antoniades has previously worked as a fashion industry journalist and a medical writer.

The last few weeks of summer may have heralded a string of food recalls affecting people, but today, dogs are the ones in jeopardy as some of their treats have come under fire for being not only dangerous, but in some cases, deadly.

According to the Food Poisoning Bulletin, consumer advocates are insisting that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ban dog treats―specifically all types of dog jerky―that are manufactured in China.

In a letter dated this week, one consumer coalition, Food & Water Watch, asked FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg to block the importation of any more Chinese dog snacks.

“Since 2007, thousands of American dogs have fallen ill or died after eating jerky treats made in China.”

The FDA site reports that the agency has been aware of the issue for some time, and has conducted a multitude of tests on the Chinese dog treats in question. Mysteriously, those tests could never determine what, if anything, was making dogs sick. As a result, the FDA claims it cannot invoke a recall of the questionable products until a laboratory can find a dangerous ingredient in them.

The agency has not given up, however. It continues to test for various causes in Chinese dog treat jerky samples. It's also contracted private laboratories to do the same in the hopes that one of them will find a determining toxicity.

It’s worth noting that in April, the FDA admitted it sent agents to China to inspect the poultry slaughter facilities producing the jerky treats. The agents were denied access to those facilities by Chinese officials. Food & Water Watch contends that incident should have been reason enough for the FDA to take more substantive measures against the products.

The Food and Drug Administration’s site warns that, "chicken jerky products are intended to be fed occasionally and in small quantities. FDA is advising consumers who choose to feed their dogs chicken jerky products to watch their dogs closely for any or all of the following signs that may occur within hours to days of feeding the products…”  Symptoms of poisoning include decreased appetite and vomiting, but for the full list, visit the FDA’s  Jerky Pet Treats Page.

In contrast, the Food Poisoning Bulletin recommends much more stringent action, warning that, “Consumers should avoid buying dog or pet treats made in China.”

Do you ever check the labels of your pet’s food to see where it comes from? Do you feed your dogs jerky? Let us know in the Comments.

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