The Food and Drug Administration has released four Establishment Inspection Reports of facilities in China that make pet treats linked to dog illnesses and death. The facilities are Gambol pet Products Co., Jinan Uniwell Pet Fodo Co., Ltd., Shandong Honva Food Co. Ltd, and Shandong Petswell Food Co. Ltd. You can see the heavily redacted reports by visiting the FDA site and scrolling down to “Compliance & Enforcement”. The Chinese government has refused to let inspectors collect samples of the product for analysis. The inspections were conducted in April, 2012 at sites in Liaocheng and Jinan, China. The treats are sold by Nestle Purina PetCare Co.
The Chinese government did say they would let the FDA test samples, but only if the U.S. agreed to have the products tested in Chinese-run labs. The reports say that there were no or only very sporadic tests of the raw materials used to make the treats. The FDA did have some concerns about record-keeping practices of the firms. One firm falsified receiving documents for glycerin, which is an ingredient in the pet treats. The Chinese authority, the Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) told the FDA it seized products at that firm and suspended exports. The FDA is investigating glycerin as a potential source of the illnesses.
There have been more than 2,000 reports of illness and death in dogs in this country that ate chicken jerky treats made in China. The FDA has tested the products, but has found no contaminants that would explain the problem. However, there was a “cautionary update” issued in November 2011 that told consumers to be cautious about feeding their pets jerky pet treat products, including chicken, duck, and sweet potato flavors. The government has also stated that “chicken jerky products should not be substituted for a balanced diet and are intended to be fed occasionally in small quantities.”
If you do give your dog this type of treats, watch out for warning signs, including decreased appetite, decreased activity, vomiting, diarrhea, sometimes bloody, increased water consumption, and/or increased urination. Lab tests of the dogs who have been ill include kidney problems and Fanconi-like syndrome.
Nestle Purina could conduct a voluntary recall, but has chosen not to. And the FDA can’t force a recall of the products until there is evidence that the products are contaminated. You can see the complaints at the FDA site. And Food and Water Water has put together a petition you can sign to ask the government to forbid these treats from entering the U.S.