Why FDA Chicken Jerky Inspections Fail To Protect Our Pets

chicken-jerkySince September 26, 2007, the FDA has issued repeated warnings regarding jerky treats from China. It wasn’t until January of 2013 that major manufacturers, including Nestle and Del Monte, pulled the suspected products from store shelves. By October of 2013 the FDA received 3600 reports of illness including 580 dog deaths linked to these jerky treats. Most pet deaths and illnesses are not reported to the FDA so the actual number is much higher.

Typical Symptoms of Jerky Treat Poisoning

Symptoms included dehydration (due to excess urination), vomiting, diarrhea (sometimes with blood or mucus), kidney failure, convulsions and collapsing.  Once the jerky treats from China were pulled from the store shelves, the reports to the FDA immediately dropped. This disgustingly slow response to remove the products from store shelves was two full years after the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association reported seeing illnesses associated with the consumption of chicken jerky treats from China.

Jerky is Making a Comeback

The FDA has responded by asking for more reports from veterinarians and releasing a video to the public promoting safe handling of pet foods. Basically, the video says to treat all pet foods like they are contaminated.

The exact cause of the deaths has never been found, and now the treats from China are returning to store shelves.

Manufacturers of pet foods are not required by U.S. law to state the country of origin for the ingredients in their products. That’s right, your pet’s food is most likely coming from China,  and you may never know. Many pet treats are highly deceptive on their packaging, sometimes showing a logo of the continental USA, or stating “Made in the USA” but not mentioning that the ingredients are imported from China.

Waggin’ Train treats made by Nestle Purina is one of the products blamed for causing multiple deaths since 2012. Heartbreaking stories told by dog owners are easy to find on the internet.

Nestle Purina is huge. The entire grocery store aisle is filled with pet foods from this company including Fancy Feast, Chef Michael’s, Be Happy, Beggin Strips, Beneful, Pro Plan, Alpo, Friskies, Whisker Lickin’s, Deli-Cat, Purina One, Pro Plan, and many others.

Nestle brought the treats back to market in January of 2014.

FDA Inspections are Futile

Don’t count on the FDA to prevent a repeat of this atrocity. We pulled an inspection report dated April 16, 2012 from the FDA. The inspection was of a Chinese processing facility,  Shandong Honva Food Co. located in Liaocheng, China, that had been tied to numerous complaints relating to sick and dying dogs. What we got back was disturbing.

All but 3 pages of the 34 page report were partially or fully “blacked out” so they could not be read. At every blacked out page was a little box that said “b.4.” This refers to an exemption in the Freedom of Information Act that refers to withholding information that could cause competitive harm. Any commercial or financial information can fall into this category.

It was required that the inspection was “pre-announced” so, not surprisingly, some of the employees, including the manager of the meat warehouse were  instructed not to come to work that day. All the photos in the report were also blacked out. The FDA was not allowed to take any samples from the facility for testing.  All of the company names that purchased the products were blacked out of the report, as well as all the Chinese suppliers, irradiation plants and testing facilities. The facility admitted that it does not provide label information. The customers do. We can’t see these labels. They were blacked out. The owners of the facility were not present, however a general manager provided a list of the suppliers of meat to the facility. These would be rendering plants and slaughter houses. We are not allowed to see this 10-page list. (B4) These are not inspected. The inspection report goes on to list the ingredients and meats stored in the warehouse. It too, is blacked out…

Nine long months later, the treats were pulled from shelves in the U.S.

People who live in China are, like most, wonderful and caring. But the government is far behind the U.S. in human and animal rights. Not everything from China is bad for you, but China has already won a reputation for producing some of the most contaminated, polluted and dangerous foods in the world.

Despite current ad campaigns, it is legal to eat dogs in China, and there are no laws protecting the treatment of animals. China’s fur trade which includes dogs and cats is horrendously cruel. Multiple videos can be seen on the internet showing cats, dogs and rabbits packed by the dozens in small cages and crates, thrown from trucks, and sometimes processed alive.

Without the ability to monitor and inspect the facilities that supply the U.S. with food and drugs, we have no assurance over what is actually in these products. Twice in 5 years great numbers of our beloved pets have died from tainted Chinese products. 

Source of Safe Chicken Jerky Made in the USA

 Flint River Ranch – Tender Lovin’s Smoked Chicken Jerky Treats

Flint River Ranch - Tender Lovin's Smoked Chicken Jerky Treats

Tender Lovin’s Smoked Chicken Jerky Treats

  • 100% USA grown and sourced Chicken Jerky

  • Hand cut and hand packaged

  • Slowly & Naturally Smoked in small batches with real Hickory Wood

  • Every batch is tested safe from Salmonella

  • Free of Fillers, By-Products, Chemicals and Hormones


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