Two weeks ago, TakePart reported that consumer advocacy groups were urging the Food and Drug Administration to ban all dog jerky treats imported from China. The treats in question are allegedly responsible for causing severe illnesses in over 2,000 dogs, and the deaths of almost 400 more.
This week, the agency issued its first summary of reported pet deaths linked to the treats, including its suggestion that consumers avoid the Chinese-manufactured pet jerky altogether. The FDA also revealed it was now analyzing the irradiation process performed in Chinese manufacturing plants as the possible reason behind the treats’ mysterious toxicity.
Why hasn’t the FDA just banned pet jerky that originates from China? Because according to the agency, it can’t― not until it finds out what’s in the food that’s causing animals to fall ill. Definitive laboratory proof is needed because the agency claims it can’t ban a product based solely on consumer complaints. Strangely, numerous laboratory tests have turned up nothing in the treats that would be fatal or illness-inducing in animals.
But focusing on the irradiation practices surrounding the jerky might be a promising avenue. It’s one aspect of the problem that hasn’t been looked at yet. Investigators are hopeful that it will provide clues as to why some of the jerky has caused symptoms in dogs such as diarrhea and vomiting, and in more serious cases, kidney failure and death.
NBC News reports that the link between pet food irradiation and illness in pets is unclear. Australia banned the process when it found a number of its cats had fallen ill from eating irradiated cat food, but in the U.S., it’s a legal means of sterilizing pet food products. In fact, many like food safety expert Christina Bruhn told the news outlet she believes it’s necessary to insure pet health.
In the meantime, pet owners may find the lack of answers frustrating, but one simple tactic can provide relief and safety―avoid giving your pets Chinese-manufactured jerky treats. And to stay abreast of the FDA’s latest findings, refer back to its Jerky Pet Treats page.
In light of these developments, would you consider buying dog food made in China? Let us know how you protect your pets health in the Comments.
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A Bay Area native, Andri Antoniades previously worked as a fashion industry journalist and medical writer. In addition to reporting the weekend news on TakePart, she volunteers as a web editor for locally-based nonprofits and works as a freelance feature writer for TimeOutLA.com. Email Andri | @andritweets | TakePart.com