There was a news item in the February 2013 issue of the Veterinary Practice News, discussing how the Chinese have turned a deaf ear to the United States pleas to cease production of chicken jerky treats.The Chinese government also rebuked the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for issuing warnings to pet owners about feeding the treats to pets.
In a letter, U.S. Representative Jerry McNerney (California) urged the Chinese government to "consider halting production of these jerky treats until the FDA can determine whether or not the products contain tainted material." The Chinese government responded that "from the perspective of the Chinese side, there may be something wrong with the FDA's investigation guidance."
The FDA began warning pet owners about the dangers of Chinese-produced jerky treats in 2007, after receiving a large number of reports of adverse reactions. It seemed as though things subsided as the complaints decreased in late 2009, but by 2011 the reports of adverse reactions increased again, prompting another warning by the FDA. In early 2012, the FDA's warning was expanded to include not only the chicken jerky treats, but also duck and sweet potato products.
The FDA tested samples for Salmonella, metals, furans, pesticides, antibiotics, mycotoxins, rodenticides, nephrotoxins, other chemicals, and poisonous compounds. They also tested the nutritional composition, in order to determine the amount of glycerin in the treats.
The FDA inspected several Chinese facilities that manufacture the jerky pet treats but found no evidence that those treats were linked to the illnesses. The Chinese government refused to allow the FDA to take samples to the U.S. for testing.
My advice to pet owners is not to use any of these treats which are manufactured in China. Granted, you may have been using them and your pet may not have had a reaction. But with so many cases of adverse reactions occurring nationwide, are you willing to take a chance? In human and pet products alike there have been problems with some of the Chinese products, so exercise caution. Know where the products are manufactured. If at any time you notice that your pet is having changes/problems when given a jerky treat, discontinue their use. To play iy safe when purchasing jerky treats or rawhides for your pets, make sure that they were manufactured in the U.S.A.
I am also not a fan of pig ears, pig snouts, chicken feet, bully or pizzle sticks. I had written a blog about the dangers of bully/pizzle sticks a few days ago. These types of products are greasy, too high in calories and can be a source of bacterial contamination!
Please be cautious and watch for signs of abnormalities anytime you use these types of treats if you insist on using them.
Dr. Peter Sakas