Jerky Treats from China: It's Time for an Update ... Again

More on PawNation: Dogs, Expert, FDA, Health, Jerky, Jerky Treats, Nutrition, Safety

I have been reporting on the illnesses and deaths in dogs and cats caused by jerky treats primarily made in China for a couple of years now. It is hard to believe that so little progress has been made in identifying the cause in that amount of time.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has just released new updates on their search for an underlying cause, including:

CVM Update: FDA Releases Progress Report on Jerky Pet Treat Investigation
Progress Report on Jerky Pet Treat Investigation: Where we are in the investigation, what we've done, and where we go from here.
Dear Veterinarian Letter: How veterinarians can help us in our investigation by providing information about the pets they have treated, and by advising their clients about the illnesses associated with certain jerky pet treats.
Fact Sheet for Pet Owners: What you can do to protect your pet.
Consumer Update: Why Are Jerky Treats Making Pets Sick?
Questions and Answers about the Investigation: Updated
Investigation Rationale and Results: The FDA, together with its Vet-LIRN partners, have performed more than 1,200 tests on more than 440 samples of jerky pet treats. What we tested the treats for and why - and what we found.
–Case Summaries: These spreadsheets list releasable details of the complaints received by the FDA since 2010:

2010 Reports
2011 Reports
2012 Reports (through January 2013)
February-September 2013 Reports

Just in case you don't have time to go through all that on your own, let me touch upon the highlights.

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As of September 24, 2013, the FDA has received reports on more than 3,600 dogs and 10 cats, including more than 580 deaths that may or may not be related to eating jerky products.

When I read through the statements that owners and veterinarians have submitted to the FDA, what stands out most is the rapidity with which some pets develop symptoms. Descriptions along the following lines are quite common: "I gave my dog two jerky treats and about an hour later he was vomiting and very depressed. Later in the evening, he started drinking a lot of water. I took him to the veterinary hospital and the doctor diagnosed him with kidney failure. It doesn't look like he's going to make it."

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The FDA mentions that it has

"... noticed a sharp drop in the number of complaints since several treat products were removed from the market in January 2013 following a study by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Marketing (NYSDAM) that revealed low levels of antibiotic residues in those products. Recalled products included several well-known brands believed to comprise the majority of the jerky pet treat market. FDA believes it unlikely that the reports of illness it has received are caused by the presence of antibiotic residues in jerky pet treat products. Rather, because the brands that were recalled represent a significant portion of the jerky pet treat market in the United States, FDA theorizes, therefore, that the drop off in complaints since January 2013 is more likely the result of the general lack of availability of jerky pet treat products."

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Finally, the FDA makes the point that avoiding jerky treats labeled as "Made in China" may not be enough to protect pets. Manufacturers are not required to indicate the country of origin of all of their ingredients on a product's packaging.

At the risk of stating the obvious, don't feed your dogs and cats any type of jerky treat unless you are 100% sure that all of the ingredients originate within the U.S. Hopefully this new push by the FDA will raise pet owner awareness and further reduce the number of pet illnesses and deaths attributed to Chinese jerky treats.

Dr. Jennifer Coates

"Jerky Treats from China: It's Time for an Update ... Again" originally appeared on

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Carol Renza

With all the bad publicity over chicken/duck jerky product from China, why would any responsible and caring pet owner continue to feed it to a beloved pet?

January 20 2014 at 1:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jay stern

THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE IN AMERICAN STANDARDS. First why are Americans allowing a country like China to sale any food products in America?? Look at China the people of China can't even walk outside without wearing a face mask due to the fact of all the pollution. Not only is the air thickly polluted but but the H2o that is used in the making of China's food products is highly polluted and would be considered as a toxic dump, meaning "a boil water before drinking" water is not potable. Also why would America not hold Chinese follow our FDA rules nd regulations, I mean come on, lets get serious about this, China's food products are making our pets sick and in some cases killing them. American companies I ask you and throw in a little help tip as well. Make your products affortable, Americans will buy your products as long as your products are priced right, don't overcharge the American people be fair, government maybplay a role in this problem but farmers need to know that if you bloat your price to make money that is not a govt problem that is a GREED problem. Make good products like we know that American farmers do, and make these products at affordable prices. To overcharge your American. Brothers and sisters, is not American at all, you claim to be American start acting like it, or I'm sorry to say that most likely your company most likely will soon go out of business. Lets all better Americans, lets buy great American products for ourselves, families and our pets, lets buy affortable great American products. America don't stand for American companies bloating the price of there products, we need to speak out, farmers and there companies need to step up, be American and please don't try and steal our money, overpricing is no different from our govt, the same govt that you claim is making farming to expensive for Americans to farm. Step back, be American and make great affordable American products.

January 19 2014 at 1:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I just threw out over $200 worth of treats made in.China. I'm scared to death because my dogs have been eating alot of these for some time. I can only blame myself for not checking the packages better, but I should of known better than to buy treats from Wal Mart who practially sells everything from over seas. Like the article states above even if it says their made in America they still dont have to list the place of origin so I'm afraid of all of them now. Today I went to a pet supply and bought only treats that say made in america but thats no guarrantee as a while Back Iams was recalled and its made in America. These people better start taking their jobs seriously soon or their gonig to lose billions a year!Atleast the FDA has said their starting up a seperate program that jsut deals with pet foods and treats apart from our food.. Hoefully that will make a difference!

October 28 2013 at 8:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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