Almost seven and a half years of taxpayer money has been spent investigating jerky treats imported from China. Why has more than 1000 dogs died the treats? What is the cause of dog, cat and human illness linked to the Chinese pet treats? The FDA still doesn’t know. Another update, no answers.
The latest FDA update on the seven year jerky treat investigation does include a few new bits of information. For starters, 3 people have now gotten sick from consuming the Chinese pet treats. A Chinese manufacturer is shown eating one of the treats (attempting to prove the treats are safe) on NBC News, however I doubt this action provides much comfort to grieving petsumers.
The FDA has begun to work with the Centers for Disease Control “in collaborating on a study of cases reported to the agency of sick dogs compared with “controls” (dogs who have not been ill).” Interestingly, this FDA/CDC collaboration will compare “the foods eaten by the sick dogs” to the foods eaten by the control dogs (dogs that did not get sick). FDA identified 100 cases of kidney illness in dogs reported to be linked to Chinese jerky, then found 300 controls. “We then interviewed the owners of both the case and control dogs using a detailed questionnaire that included in-depth questions about the types of foods the dogs ate, as well as other factors that could lead to renal disease.”
As with the last FDA update, this recent jerky treat update the agency provides the public misleading information about the levels of antibiotic drugs NY Department of Agriculture testing found in the treats. FDA stated “FDA scientists closely reviewed the NYSDAM findings and noted that when measurable levels of antibiotic drugs were found in the treats, they were consistently at very low levels—almost all were less than 0.0001% (< 1 part per million, or less than one inch in 16 miles).” Through Freedom of Information Act request, (as reported in January 2014), we know the above statement is not correct. In fact, NY Department of Agriculture found levels up to 8 times the legal limit of some drugs (not less than one inch in 16 miles…?).
Just as reminder, NY Department of Agriculture complied with the legal requirements of our Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request by providing all test results they performed on the jerky treats and provided to FDA. And just as reminder, FDA never has complied with the legal requirements of our FOIA request. To date, the FDA is more than five months past the date required by law they should have responded to our FOIA request.
The FDA did find a new drug in the treats, that has never been found (or mentioned) before. Amantadine. The report states “FDA does not believe that amantadine contributed to the illnesses because the known side effects or adverse events associated with amantadine do not seem to correlate with the symptoms seen in the jerky pet treat-related cases. However, it should not be present in jerky pet treats. The agency has notified Chinese authorities that FDA considers the presence of amantadine in these products to be an adulterant. FDA has also notified the U.S. companies that market jerky pet treats found positive for amantadine of this finding.”
No mention in the recent update of exactly what brands of treats contained the “adulterant” amantadine. No mention of why consumers were not properly warned just as Chinese authorities and US importers were warned. And the recent updated provided no explanation as to why no recall was issued with the discovery of this adulterant. (Questions were sent to FDA asking the names of these products and lot numbers. Also asking for explanation why consumers were not previously notified of the adulterated products.)
And the FDA – more than seven years into an investigation – says they need pet food consumers to make certain to keep the lot number information off their jerky treat bags. As well, FDA delicately asks pet owners that should the pet die from consuming the jerky treats, to donate the body in order for FDA scientists to learn. FDA states “While we want to do everything we can to prevent pets from becoming ill in the first place, having the chance to examine tissues may fill gaps in information that can help us pinpoint a cause for the reports of injury and death.”
No, sorry FDA. You clearly DO NOT want to do ‘everything you can’ to prevent pets from becoming ill. If you wanted to do “everything we can to prevent pets from becoming ill in the first place”…the agency would issue an Import Alert on these deadly treats from China and issue an immediate Stop Sale on all treats on store shelves.
Nothing less than getting these deadly treats off store shelves is everything.
To read the FDA May 2014 update Click Here.
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
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