FDA Pants on Fire?


Some very startling information regarding the FDA statement on Chinese imported jerky treats has reared its ugly head.  Did the FDA make a HUGE error when they reported to the world about their 7 year jerky treat investigation…or did they lie to millions of concerned pet food/pet treat consumers?  You decide.

In late October 2013, the FDA released a massive ‘update’ on their almost seven year investigation into the thousands of pet deaths and illnesses related to made in China jerky dog and cat treats.  Among the numerous documents the FDA released, the agency provided a 21 page document detailing the many tests the agency claims has been done on the Chinese jerky treats including the results of said tests.  Of specific interest were the test results from “New York State Laboratory” – who found illegal antibiotic residues in the imported jerky treats resulting in many of the treats being pulled from store shelves (January 2013).

FDA told the world – in their October 2013 jerky treat investigation update…
Page 8 – under “New York State Laboratory”

  • The highest Tetracycline product result was 0.04 ppm (tolerance 2 ppm)
  • The highest concentration Sulfaquinoxaline detected was 0.041 ppm (tolerance 0.1 ppm)
  • The highest concentration Sulfaclozine detected was 0.257 ppm (no tolerance level exists)
  • The highest concentration Enrofloxacin detected was 0.132 ppm (FDA made no statement of tolerance level)
  • The highest concentration Tilmicosin detected was 0.005 ppm (FDA made no statement of tolerance level).

But…the above information does not match – agree with – or seem to be the same as – what the New York Department of Agriculture (New York State Laboratory) is reporting…

In a blog post on the Association for Public Health Laboratories website – about two weeks after the FDA released the update quoted above – Robert Sheridan, Chemist for New York State Department of Agriculture wrote…(bold added)

“In all we found six antibiotics including Sulfaclozine, Sulfaquinoxaline, Sulfamethoxazole, Tilmicosin, Trimethoprim and Enrofloxacin.  The concentrations of these drugs ranged from 1.0 to 2000 ng/g (ppb).  Not every jerky treat contained one of these drugs and many contained more than one.  Almost every bag had several pieces that contained at least one of the six drugs.  (Sulfaquinoxaline is approved by FDA to be used in chickens bound for consumption as long as residues in chicken meat are below a set level.  Several jerky treats with that antibiotic exceeded the FDA maximum allowable level.  The other drugs are not allowed by FDA at any concentration in chicken.)”

Changing parts per billion (ppb – how New York stated concentrations) to parts per million (ppm – how FDA stated concentrations)…The New York Department of Agriculture found concentrations of drugs ranged from .001 to 2.0 parts per million.

Let’s make this very clear…


Quite a difference huh?  Also -

FDA told the public NY found Sulfaquinoxaline below legal tolerance
NY reported they found several treats exceeded Sulfaquinoxaline legal tolerance


And there is another confirmation that the information the FDA told the public doesn’t match with the actual New York Department of Agriculture results…

After the NY Department of Agriculture found illegal drugs and illegal amounts of drugs in the Chinese jerky treats, Veterinary Information Network (VIN) News did a Freedom of Information Act request of New York Department of Agriculture for the actual test results of the jerky treats.  In April 2013 VIN News reported (bold added) “the lab detected five antibiotics: sulfaclozine, sulfaquinoxiline, tilmicosin, trimethroprim and enrofloxacin. Levels range from a few parts per billion to, in one instance, 1,596 ppb.”

Converting what VIN News reported as NY Department of Agriculture results to parts per million (ppm) to match how FDA provided results…VIN News is saying New York Department of Agriculture test results found levels ranging from very small amounts to almost 1.6 parts per million (ppm).  So again, we have a dramatic discrepancy…


Further, VIN News stated “The amount of sulfaquinoxaline detected by the New York lab exceeded the regulatory tolerance of 0.1 ppm (100 ppb) in at least one sample.”  But remember – the FDA told the public in October 2013 NY found “The highest concentration Sulfaquinoxaline detected was 0.041 ppm”.



I requested from NY Department of Agriculture and FDA the test results and all correspondence between the two agencies (relating to this testing).  This Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request was sent to both agencies on November 3, 2013.  Somehow, the NY Dept of Ag FOIA request was lost – resent on November 22, 2013.  Per Freedom of Information Act laws, the request must be answered within 20 days or the requester (me) must be provided with a reason why there would be a delay.  The FDA’s 20 days have passed and the agency has not provided me with a response as to why they have not responded.  I also asked VIN News for a copy of their test results they received through FOIA request – they would not share.

Big question #1

Did the FDA lie to the public or did they simply make a HUGE error in reporting the test results of the jerky treats?

Big questions #2

How is it going to make you feel when you see Waggin Train jerky treats back on store shelves?

Import documents acquired by Association for Truth in Pet Food show more than 4.5 million pounds of jerky treats are on their way from China to U.S. pet stores – right now!  Click Here to view import records.

With other recalled or withdrawn from market pet products that are put back on store shelves (as example a pet food that was recalled due to high vitamin content or bacteria contamination), the FDA oversees that the manufacturer has corrected the ‘problem’.  Such as a vitamin error or bacteria contamination error, FDA and/or State Department of Agriculture representatives oversee the correction before the products return to store shelves.

But with Chinese jerky treats…the ‘fix’ would have to come from thousands (possibly hundreds of thousands) of poultry producers in China.  Illegal antibiotics were found in the jerky treats.  The illegal drugs were fed to poultry in China (included in their feed).  The fix to prevent future jerky recalls in the U.S. – prevent future deaths and illnesses of U.S. pets – would take every single poultry producer in China to change the type of drugs they use in poultry feed.

Did I miss the press release from China stating that the entire country is using different/safe/legal in the U.S. antibiotics in their poultry feed to assure that U.S. pets won’t die?  I didn’t think so.

I didn’t think the jerky treat madness could get any worse…but it just has.  I’m not the biggest fan of the FDA, but I didn’t think they would ever blatantly lie to millions of U.S. consumers.  Sadly, I am not totally sure they didn’t do just that.  Purina/Waggin Train…how could you?  I just don’t understand how no one is willing to stop this Chinese jerky treat madness.  Just how many pets have to die?

Fellow pet food safety advocate Mollie Morrissette will be asking FDA face to face about these discrepancies in lab results tomorrow.  Mollie is representing Association for Truth in Pet Food members and speaking at the final Food Safety Modernization Act proposed regulations meeting in California.  She will provide us with full details soon.  When or if the FDA ever provides us our Freedom of Information Act request – it will be provided to all.


Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,

Susan Thixton
Pet Food Safety Advocate
Author Buyer Beware, Co-Author Dinner PAWsible
Association for Truth in Pet Food

What’s in Your Pet’s Food?
Is your dog or cat eating risk ingredients?  Chinese imports?  Petsumer Report tells the ‘rest of the story’ on over 2500 cat foods, dog foods,  and pet treats.  30 Day Satisfaction Guarantee. www.PetsumerReport.com




2014 List
Susan’s List of trusted pet foods.  Click Here



Have you read Buyer Beware?  Click Here

Cooking for pets made easy, Dinner PAWsible

Find Healthy Pet Foods in Your Area Click Here

Related Articles


  1. Beata

    While I agree that FDA and other organizations overlooking standarts of quality of food for people and pets do shady job of showing us what is really in the food, I am deeply perplexed who in the world still buys dog treats made in China? Our household carefully reads ALL products we buy and we put back anything that remotely suggests made in China. Some of the products are tricky as will only say ‘assembled in Canada’. I think its time for us – consumers – to become educated and just say no to pardon me – crap – from China!

    • Carol

      Many foods do not state where the food is from. And when they do how do we know that the ingredients are not from overseas?? Example: I received a list of the first 3 numbers on the code that will tell you if a product is from china. Well I bought “Simply Nourish SOURCE” It took me an hour on the internet to finally discover that it was Made in china. They are changing the numbers. Such clever entrepreneurs.

      • Ann

        I just looked at the import records at the link provided above. It is disgusting to see that TONS of these jerky treats are on their way from China right now and just in time for Christmas gifts for our pets, just as Susan said.
        I urge everyone to send those records out to everyone in your address book and let them know that they are usafe to give to their pets.
        People get very busy around the holidays and forget that the treats have injured and killed hundreds of pets or think that if they are allowed back onto the shelves that surely the problem has been fixed.
        Be sure and name the name on them – Nestle Purina Canyon Creek Waggin Train jerky treats, not just chicken but also duck and ham.

        • Angel

          Not just chicken, duck & ham, but also SWEET POTATO, as well! Many of the treats that poisoned pets (mine included) were sweet potato-based. And even big US sounding brand names are using Chinese meat and sweet potatoes (then & now). I’ve even seen treats that stated on the labels that they are US-Based; Assembled in the US; Made for Such & Such in the US; etc., but never say that they are from China or contain Chinese ingredients. Or if they do, it is in teeny little print somewhere so hard to see that no one will ever find it easily. Over 2 years ago when my pup was poisoned the treats I was buying had a large US flag on the bag giving the impression they were made in the US (they weren’t!). These companies are sneaky & find tricky little legal sales loopholes to try & fool us into buying their Chinese garbage because they know no one wants it!

    • Cheri Fun Fellinger

      Amen to boycotting chicken products of ANY kind from China. I am under the impression that most Asian meals are made with dark meat only and that is why white meat is available for dog treats. So does that mean Chinese residents are eating the dark meat from the same contaminated chickens that are made in to toxic dog treats?

  2. Robin

    I found Kona’s treats which are made in California from USDA approved meat, and some are even organic. Perhaps you could ask them to sign your pledge. I have been using their “gold dust” to entice my aging dog to eat.

  3. Peter

    I think you have approached this issue fairly, and deserve answers to your questions. Whether it is intentional or not, this “mistake” is inexcusable.

  4. Marsha

    I just purchased a dehydrator. I guess that says it all. I will make my own organic chicken jerky for my dogs. The rest of the world be damned!!!!! Next on my list is, (When it becomes available and cost much much less), a unit that freeze dries food instantly. And the way things are going I will be going back to making my dogs their own organic dog food again. Thank heaven I saved my recipes.

    • Carol

      I do this!

  5. Marsha

    To the FDA, ” Lier, Lier PANTS ON FIRE!!!!!!!” I do not trust our government.

    • Hannie

      You took the words right out of my mouth! I don’t believe a thing any of the agencies say & I think a lot of people feel the same. I’ll be damned if I’d ever believe them when they say a pet food or treat is safe. I home cook & research everything I buy.

  6. TMay

    Well the FDA cleared the processing of American chickens in China to be shipped back to the US to be sold in stores with no label signifying that for human consumption, and now are close to allowng chickens raised in China to be sold in the US for human consumption. Personally I don’t like the idea.

    • Susan Thixton

      Actually…that madness is compliments of the USDA (not FDA).

  7. Nina Wolf

    I am aghast. My mouth is agape. It shouldn’t come as such a big surprise, but conspiracies never work out. So any conspiracy to cover up the truth about what is going on at the FDA is a plan just waiting to be uncovered…and I know the person for the job. Are they assuming no one will notice? That we are all too trusting, too complacent, too stupid to figure this out? This is a monstrous scandal, it really is.

  8. Jennifer

    Outdated antibiotics can cause Fanconi Snydrome. Here is a pubmed article about dogs who ate chicken treats and developed it: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22058368

    Here is an article about Fanconi Snydrome in dogs and a paragraph about treatment with a link to the Fanconi Protocol which is the treatment: http://www.akcchf.org/canine-health/your-dogs-health/disease-information/fanconi-syndrome.html

    Here is updated information from an interview with the author of the Fanconi Management Protocol for Vets:
    http://basenjicompanions.org/2013/09/15/about-fanconi-syndrome/ There are also other informative articles about Fanconi Syndrome on this website.

    I have Basenjis and have had three dogs with the genetic form of Fanconi Syndrome and each was able to live to an older age, the oldest being 13, and all were on the Fanconi Protocol. The two older ones did not die of Fanconi but of tumors. An owner must catch Fanconi early, have a knowledgable vet, and follow the protocol. There is a Fanconi dogs forum on Yahoo Groups that you can join if your animal has the disease. It is an extremely helpful forum.

    • Carol

      Thanks for the info!

  9. Connie

    Typo?Changing parts per billion (ppm – how New York stated concentrations) to parts per million (ppm – how FDA stated concentrations)

    Ppm for both?

    Thank you for following this

    • Susan Thixton

      Got it! Thank you.

  10. Tracy

    I love the idea if the list. Unfortunately, I am always unable to access the products where I live. :(

  11. Batzion

    If the FDA and USDA are content in poisoning the American people with GMOs and diseased, farm-raised fish, it only follows that they would do the same with our animals. The lot of them should be thrown in jail for attempted homicide.

  12. Angel

    Because of the excessive amount of Enrofloxacin (Baytril) used in the Waggin’ Train & Canyon Creek Ranch jerky treats that my (under 18 month old) puppy was fed (in amounts less than directed on the package), he developed severe articular cartilage damage/deformities. He is only 2.5 years old & has already had to have FHOs on both hips (1 was due to an extremely severe & rare type of dislocation), both shoulders, both knees & all 4 ankles constantly suffer from subluxations and random slipping or rolling. He actually walks on his knuckles and the inside of his ankles most of the time. This dog had no problems with his joints prior to maturity (& the Baytril contaminated treats) & came from European/International Champion parents. I will never trust commercial treats again!

    • Jenise Alongi

      Hi Angel, sorry to hear about your dog, my 7 year old Italian greyhound was misdiagnosed for years with luxated patella and neuropathy. Currently her diagnosis is arthritis, and she has just had tarsal arthrodesis because her rear ankle was collapsing, but I have always suspected a correlation between her issues and the “Yam Good” treats she loved so much. She has luxations of all her toes and walks on her knuckles as well. I was looking into phorate on the China sweet potato treats because she was at one point thought to have nerve damage. How did you come to the conclusion about baytril? Does your vet acknowledge this as the cause? Makes me so sick to see this poison still on the shelves, and to know that other innocent animals and their owners will have to suffer for profits.

      • Angel

        Hi, I’m sorry to hear about your greyhound having these issues, as well. My boy came from International Champion parents who were both OFA Excellent and had he no orthopedic issues prior to the eating of these treats. When the major recall took place, one of the illegal antibiotics they found in them was Enrofloxacin (aka Baytril), which is notorious for causing articular damage in puppies under 18 months old. My vet actually refuses to give it to any dog under 2 years old for this very reason. And yes, my vet does acknowledge this as the cause of his orthopedic issues. My guy has had so many subluxations that he now has severe arthritis (at less than 3 years old) that he is on twice daily Metacam for the pain. Without the Metacam he is unable to walk, get up from a lying position or even stand to be picked up or touched. You can actually sublux both of his shoulders just by petting them gently & his knees & ankles will sublux whenever you manually bend his relaxed leg/foot.

  13. Jeri

    So glad I went with my “gut” and voted for the FDA for dumbest act of the year, but it was a tough choice! (Like another poster, I thought the AVMA should have made the list for their attacks on raw food and silence on the kibble recalls for those same pathogens….)

  14. Jeff White

    If the FDA really did lie to the public about the levels of antibiotic found in the tested samples, they must have forgotten to tell the “New York State Laboratory” that did the actual testing to keep their mouths shut.

    Are we really supposed to believe that this was a genuine attempt by the FDA to deceive the public?

    • Jeri

      It’s not so incredible, really, when you realize the arrogance of most of these organizations. They simply never think they’ll be held accountable at any level. Sadly, they are too often correct. I’m sure it wouldn’t occur to the FDA or any other governmental organization that the truth might come out from another source! If it’s NOT deliberate, that makes them just as culpable in addition to being negligent and incompetent. Guess it depends on which one you find more plausible – but it’s damning either way.

  15. lynn

    anything that goes on with pet food or people foods doesn’t shock me anymore, it makes me sad for pet owner’s who know nothing about what they are feeding their pet’s and not knowing they could die from what the pet parents thinking they are giving them is good for their loved pet child and by not being informed they are doing out of love then find out after their pet is sick or dies from what our government allows in feed for pets. I have always home cooked and will keep it up but for those who can’t check out pet food made in Canada. they have higher standard’s then the use doe even for human foods. we have to do the best that we can and stay informed. susan is doing a great job for all us.

  16. Betty

    I had a litter of three puppies. I started feeding them Nutro for large breed puppies, my dogs are GOldens. But none of the puppies would eat the food….just would not touch it. SO I went back to Petsmart for another puppy food. I saw Simply Nourish Chicken and Rice for puppies. I read all the ingredients. THe food sounded great. One thing that bothered me was it didn’t say made in the USA. I asked the manager of the store and he said it was made just for Petsmart. He convinced me to take it home and call the company…because he had no idea what company made this. I had tried other so called ‘good’ puppy foods before. Wellness, Blue Buffalo, Nutro,Canadae etc. and not happy with them. So i took this home and called the company. After much talking and almost arguing, the guy on the phone promised me that Simply Nourish puppy food was made in the USA, and that the lamb in their foods came from New Zealand and Australia and the salmon came from ALaska. I still argued that nothing stated it was made in AMerica and no mention of the company that made it. I won’t buy Diamond Company foods, or Menu foods, or Sunshine food. Anyway, I did end up feeding the food to the puppies, and they loved it and did well on it, but it still bugs me that there was no mention as to where it was made. Plus it was pricey too for a small bag. I have told my puppy owners to switch to a better food when they are 6 months old. Someone mentioned in the comments that Simply Nourish was made in China, The company swears it wasn’t but still no one at the corporate office knows what company makes the food! I feel very upset after reading China made it.

    • Ann

      My experience has been that if it is Made In USA it will ALWAYS promote that on the package. However, as I have recently learned, that doesn’t mean that all of the ingredients were SOURCED in the USA.
      The deception exists at all levels.
      I recently bought Susan’s 2014 list and I am currently introducing those foods from manufacturers who have signed her pledge. Some of the foods are pretty expensive, but since I have spent over $3000 saving the life of my young dog poisoned by the China chicken jerky treats, it will take me a long time to spend that much extra on a food that I can trust.

  17. Sandra Lewis

    All of these lies, coverups and “not me!, not us!, from the FDA just makes me ill. Not as ill as our beloved pets though. I stopped at Walgreens and saw some dog treats with the AKC label. To my horror the package said they were made in China. What the @#$%#@???? Sorry, lost my temper there. You can’t trust the FDA, now you can’t trust the AKC.

    Well, the answer is: Do NOT buy any pet food/treats made in China OR ANY pet food/treats that aren’t clearly marked made in the USA and from the USA. If it isn’t clear, don’t buy it!! Send them a letter/email stating why. Then write your Congressman/woman, Senator and every darn goverment entity that has anything to do with pet food in any fashion. Bury them in email, snail mail and any way possible with complaints and demands that our pets deserve the same quality & concerns as we humans do.

    Once again, simply refuse to buy any pet product made in or imported from China. I just left about $200.00 worth of groceries at Krogers after hearing the manager say that they would be continuing to carry Waggin Tails. Money talks and there are a whole lot of pet owners walking out their doors and spending it elsewhere.

    • Ann

      I agree that nothing speaks more loudly than our wallets to these greedy unethical retailers. The list of places that I will no longer buy from is getting longer and longer.
      The only way to get them to care is to hit them where it hurts…and that is not in their hearts, only in their pockets.

  18. Max

    Susan, It’s easy for one agency to have different reporting numbers for the same contaminant, depending on how the statistics were done. They may be working with small sample sizes or the NY department may be reporting the maximum amount they saw in a single test of a product while the FDA is reporting the maximum amount per product averaged over several tests (which will correct for potentially erroneous measurements).

    I’m sure there are a lot of pet lovers in both agencies who are working in good faith and want this problem solved as much as you do. Perhaps it’s better not to jump to conclusions and antagonize the authority that can actually fix the problem?

    • Susan Thixton

      Max – If you read the FDA report – FDA stated the NY test results. That is the concern, FDA provided the NY test results differently than NY did. FDA keeps insisting the illegal drugs found in the treats did not cause the illnesses and deaths of thousands of pets – and they tell us, it is because the amounts were so small. According to NY, who actually performed the tests (not FDA itself) – the amounts were not low. NY actually has stated in conversation some of the results were “hot”. Many experts believe the drugs were indeed the cause and many are dumbfounded that treats remain on store shelves. Remember, this investigation has gone on for 7 years…the needs authority needs to fix the problem.

  19. molly

    Soon, chicken for people in the US may either be processed or grown in China. I was talking to my 11 year old about this and how China got away with poisioning dogs and our government did nothing. He says, “Well, mom, when people start getting sick from the chicken, mabe the government will finally do something.” The sad, but true, wisdom of a child.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked (required)

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Jerky Treats from China have been killing and sickening pets for

When will FDA make this clock stop?

Join the Association!
Support pet food consumer advocacy work - Join the Association.
Get Cookin’
Read Buyer Beware