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Chicken jerky dog treats recall - FDA says treats may be linked to 2,200 illnesses, 360 dog deaths

Nestle Purina and Milo's Kitchen are voluntarily recalling dog treats.

January 14, 2013|by Jay Scherder, KY3 News |

SPRINGFIELD, Mo -- Two big companies are voluntarily recalling dog treats amid an investigation by New York state agricultural officials. They say the treats may be contaminated with antibiotics not approved in the United States.

Nestle Purina is recalling Waggin' Train and Canyon Creek Ranch brand treats. Milo's Kitchen is removing Chicken Jerky and Chicken Grillers home-style dog treats off the shelves.

If this all sounds familiar, it's because KY3 first told you about these treats a year ago.  The Food and Drug Administration issued a warning about chicken jerky products back in September 2007 and again in 2008. In 2009 and 2010, those cases started to drop off. In 2011 into 2012, the FDA is saw a spike in cases.

The FDA has been tracking illnesses related to the chicken jerky products. The agency has received more than 2,200 reports of pet illnesses related to the jerky treats. Over the past 18 months, nearly 360 dogs have died.


However, the FDA also makes it clear on their website, "As FDA investigates consumer complaints and other reported adverse event data from the public concerning jerky pet treats, it is important to remember that these data must be carefully interpreted. In most cases, information from these reports cannot be further confirmed or verified. This information is not data obtained from a controlled clinical trial or as part of an observational epidemiologic study, but rather are a series of reports of events believed by the reporting party to be associated with the consumption of jerky-type product."


Since 2007, the FDA has become aware of increasing numbers of illnesses in pets associated with the consumption of jerky pet treats. The majority of complaints involve chicken jerky (treats, tenders, and strips), but others include duck, sweet potato, and treats where chicken or duck jerky is wrapped around dried fruits, sweet potatoes, or yams.

The FDA has received approximately 2,200 reports of pet illnesses which may be related to consumption of the jerky treats. The majority of the complaints involve dogs, but cats also have been affected. Over the past 18 months the reports have contained information on 360 canine deaths and one feline death. There does not appear to be a geographic pattern to the case reports. Cases have been reported from all 50 states and 6 Canadian provinces in the past 18 months.

Although the FDA has been actively investigating the reports of illnesses, no definitive cause has been determined. The ongoing global investigation is complex, multifaceted and includes a wide variety of experts at the FDA including toxicologists, epidemiologists, veterinary researchers, forensic chemists, microbiologists, field investigators and senior agency officials.

In the past 10 years, there has been a dramatic increase in importation of pet food from China. Human consumption of poultry in China largely consists of dark meat, leaving a large amount of light meat poultry products available for export. From 2003, when China first approached the USDA about poultry exports, to 2011, the volume of pet food exports (regulated by the FDA) to the United States from

China has grown 85-fold.  It is estimated that nearly 86 million pounds of pet food came from China in 2011. Pet treats, including jerky pet treats are currently considered the fastest growing segment in the pet food market.

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