Did Dunham Ditch Us?
We had a chance to finally get a public warning against Chinese jerky treats; the AVMA was considering issuing a resolution to discourage the feeding of these Chinese pet treats. But “According to one source, comments by FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine Director Bernadette Dunham on the contamination issue appeared to weaken support for the resolution.” Did Dr. Bernadette Dunham ditch consumers?
A petition sent to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) would have sent a nationwide message that discouraged the feeding of jerky treats from China. Part of the resolution stated “Adulterants have been found in jerky pet treats, and to mitigate the risk that pets may become sick and potentially die from ingesting them, the AVMA discourages the feeding of jerky pet treats until further information on their safety is available.”
But it didn’t pass. The AVMA voted against the nationwide warning. Why? Why didn’t AVMA stand up and support consumers on this issue?
One site says it might have been Dr. Burnadette Dunham – director of FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine is who “appeared to weaken support for the resolution.”
Quoting Food Chemical News report on the AVMA vote (bold added) “A resolution before the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) that would have discouraged the feeding of jerky treats to pets was not adopted at the AVMA House of Delegates winter session Jan.10-11 in Chicago. According to one source, comments by FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine Director Bernadette Dunham on the contamination issue appeared to weaken support for the resolution.”
I sent FDA questions – provided them with the above quote and asked to be provided with Dr. Dunham’s statement to AVMA.
The FDA replied: “Dr. Dunham attended a session at AVMA’s recent meeting in which the AVMA House of Delegates proposed a resolution to discourage the feeding of jerky pet treats because adulterants had been found in jerky pet treats. Dr. Dunham did not argue for or against the resolution, but instead noted that the adulterants that had been found in jerky pet treats had not been identified as the cause for the numerous adverse event reports that FDA has received from the public.”
Remember – through our Association for Truth in Pet Food, I did a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to New York Department of Agriculture. I asked – specifically – to be provided with the test results of Chinese jerky treats NY sent FDA. Another Freedom of Information Act request done was to FDA; specifically asking to be provided with the test results of Chinese jerky treats FDA received from NY. NY Department of Agriculture provided their documents in a timely manner. FDA on the other hand- in violation of federal FOIA law – has yet to respond.
From the FOIA information provided by NY Department of Agriculture, we know that the FDA underreported (significantly underreported) the levels of drugs found in the treats.
FDA reported (in October 2013):
Drug Sulfaquinoxyline “highest concentration 0.041 ppm.”
FOIA documents from NY Department of Agriculture stated (actual test results…aka the truth):
Drug Sulfaquinoxyline highest concentration 0.828 ppm.
FDA underreported 20 times less than actual test results.
FDA reported Drug Sulfaclozine “highest concentration 0.257 ppm.”
FOIA documents from NY Department of Agriculture stated (actual test results…again, the truth):
Drug Sulfaclozine highest concentration 1.598 ppm.
FDA underreported 6 times less than actual test results.
So…I wrote my contact at FDA again and provided her the discrepancy between what FDA told the public in October and what FOIA documents stated. “This huge discrepancy is also my concern of what Dr. Dunham told AVMA. This that is why I was asking what she told AVMA. I would still like to know if Dr. Dunham reported the FDA’s version of levels of drugs found (as told to the public in October 2013) or what NY Department of Agriculture is reporting and that was sent to FDA.”
The FDA responded “I will follow up on this and get back to you.”
If Dr. Bernadette Dunham stood before the AVMA and told the voting members the drugs found in the treats were below allowable limits (as they told the public in October 2013)…well, I can understand why the resolution didn’t pass. Most veterinarians are going to believe the Director of Center for Veterinary Medicine. If Dr. Dunham told AVMA members false/incorrect lab results of the jerky treats…did she ditch consumers by doing so?
Should the FDA provide me with transcript of what Dr. Dunham told AVMA – it will be posted. (But don’t hold your breath.)
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
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