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Reference Desk May 2012

Update on Chicken Jerky Treats From China

    FDA seeking bids from private labs to analyze 30 chicken jerky samples

    WASHINGTON, DC, May 2, 2012—The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today announced that it has once again updated its guidelines for consumers on chicken jerky treats imported from China.

    Of particular interest is the FDA’s recent decision to solicit bids from private diagnostic labs for conducting analyses of the nutritional composition of 30 chicken jerky treat samples. The complete FDA questions and answers document can be found here.

    U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) pressed the issue of tainted pet treats with FDA head Dr. Margaret Hamburg at a hearing of the Senate Appropriations Committee April 19. Following an increase in tainted pet treats from China connected to animal deaths and illnesses, Brown has repeatedly urged the FDA to take quick action to protect consumers and pet owners. He has sent letters to the FDA urging the agency to promptly pursue efforts to find the contaminant in these pet treats and ensure that they are pulled from store shelves and to explain its current procedures for notifying consumers and retailers of pet food safety breaches. At today’s hearing, Brown urged Dr. Hamburg and the FDA to be more aggressive on pet treat safety and to continue all efforts to find the root cause of the contaminant.

    “While I am encouraged that the FDA has begun inspections at the Chinese plants that manufacture chicken jerky dog treats, I remain concerned about the numerous pet owners who could still be buying these treats, unaware of the possible contamination, and feeding the treats to their beloved dogs,” Brown said. “The FDA must be as aggressive as possible to find the source of this contamination, which has already led to illness and death among an untold number of pets in Ohio and across our country.”

    At a recent news conference at the Cleveland Animal Protective League, Brown was joined by Kevin Thaxton, whose 10 year-old pug, Chancey, passed away unexpectedly after eating chicken jerky pet treats. After Mr. Thaxton’s new five-month old puppy, Penny, suffered life-threatening kidney failure after eating the same treats, the Thaxtons saw an FDA warning connecting the illnesses between the two dogs: tainted chicken jerky pet treats imported from China. Brown was also joined at the Cleveland Animal Protective League by veterinarian Dr. Brian Forsgren, and Karen Minton, the Humane Society of the United States’ Ohio state director, to call on the FDA to step up its investigation of pet food and treats, particularly those imported from countries like China, where the potential for contamination is high.

    Brown’s office also reported that a Brooklyn Heights woman, Terry Safranek, lost her 9-year-old fox terrier, Samson, in late January. Only after seeing a story on the evening news did she realize that her dog’s death was likely due to his consumption of the same tainted chicken jerky treats.

    Sources: U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Office of U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown

    didyouknow

    Did you know... Dogs remain the most popular pet in America, as 36.5% of all households own a dog, compared with 30.4% owning cats. But cats are still the most common pet (74.1 million), compared with 70 million dogs. Cat owners are more likely to own multiple cats—2.1 per household—compared with dog owners, who average 1.6 dogs per household.Read More

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