Friday, November 16, 2012

Jerky Treats Made in China

By Dr. Becker

In mid-September, the FDA released information on its website stating that in the past 18 months, 360 dogs and one cat in the U.S. and Canada have died after eating pet treats imported from China. Reports of illness since 2007 now number over 2,200.

In China, dark chicken meat is preferred over white meat. So white meat ends up in pet treats manufactured for export, including jerky treats, which according to the FDA are considered the fastest growing segment of the pet food market. How disturbing is that?

The majority of reports have involved chicken jerky (treats, tenders, and strips), but there are also reports of illness from duck and sweet potato treats, as well as treats made with chicken or duck jerky that is wrapped around dried fruits, sweet potatoes, or yams.

For the first time, the FDA seems to actually suggest that pet owners avoid the treats altogether with this statement:

“The FDA is reminding pet owners that jerky pet treats are not necessary for pets to have a fully balanced diet, so eliminating them will not harm pets.”1

The agency is also expanding its testing of the treats to check for the presence of irradiation byproducts as a possible source of contamination.

Could Irradiation Be the Problem?

The U.S. allows pet food and treats to be irradiated for purposes of disinfection and to kill pathogens. However, the level of radiation at which pet consumables can be treated is a great deal higher than what is allowed for human foods.

How irradiation might create illness is not well understood, and proponents of the process maintain it is not only safe, but necessary for food safety. However, three years ago Australia banned irradiation of cat food after 90 cats became ill and 30 had to be euthanized due to paralysis and other problems apparently linked to the irradiated food.2

Read the entire article

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