FDA Issues Warning on Chicken Jerky for Dogs. On Nov 20, 2011, Food Safety News posted the following article:
Pet owners should be aware that chicken jerky products from China may be associated with reports of Fanconi-like syndrome in dogs, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has warned.
The FDA issued the following alert:
Chicken jerky products should not be substituted for a balanced diet and are intended to be fed occasionally in small quantities.
FDA is advising consumers who choose to feed their dogs chicken jerky products to watch their dogs closely for any or all of the following signs that may occur within hours to days of feeding the products: decreased appetite; decreased activity; vomiting; diarrhea, sometimes with blood; increased water consumption and/or increased urination. If the dog shows any of these signs, stop feeding the chicken jerky product. Owners should consult their veterinarian if signs are severe or persist for more than 24 hours. Blood tests may indicate kidney failure (increased urea nitrogen and creatinine). Urine tests may indicate Fanconi syndrome (increased glucose). Although most dogs appear to recover, some reports to the FDA have involved dogs that have died.
FDA, in addition to several animal health diagnostic laboratories in the U.S., is working to determine why these products are associated with illness in dogs. FDA's Veterinary Laboratory Response Network (VLRN) is now available to support these animal health diagnostic laboratories. To date, scientists have not been able to determine a definitive cause for the reported illnesses. FDA continues extensive chemical and microbial testing but has not identified a contaminant.
The FDA continues to actively investigate the problem and its origin. Many of the illnesses reported may be the result of causes other than eating chicken jerky. Veterinarians and consumers alike should report cases of animal illness associated with pet foods to the FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator in their state or go to http://www.fda.gov/petfoodcomplaints.
I review in my co-authored book "Not Fit For a Dog: The Truth About Manufactured Dog and Cat Foods", how thousands of dogs and cats who became ill, many eventually dying, after U.S. pet food manufacturers included kidney-crystal forming melamine imported from China under the guise of being a cheap source of protein supplement. A similar ingredient, or a genetically engineered additive, may be responsible for the toxic nature of these Chicken jerkey dog treats.
DOGS SICKENED BY CHICKEN JERKY TREATS---IS IRRADIATION THE PROBLEM?
Many dogs are becoming seriously ill after eating treats that the FDA has been warning about for several months, but not demanding a recall by the distributors. According to an article by JoNel Aleccia (vitals.msnbc.com), there are several brands on the FDA’s list, including Waggin’ Train brand and also Canyon Creek Ranch jerky or tenders are “produced’ by Nestle Purina PetCare Co, and Milo’s Kitchen Home-style Dog Treats by Delmonte Corp. Since the initial warning sent out in November 2011 by the FDA after 70 reports of dogs becoming ill after eating these treats, 530 additional adverse reactions have been received, including vomiting, bloody diarrhea, liver disease and kidney failure.
On the back of my bag of Waggin’ Train Jerky Tenders it reads “Made in China” on the bottom left, and on the bottom right is the green logo “TREATED BY IRRADIATION FOR FRESHNESS & HEALTH”. The contents look like strips of mummified, but very pink strips of flesh. The Ingredients label says its chicken breast plus vegetable glycerine and “natural flavor” (MSG or animal digest?). Chicken breast is normally white, no mention being made of any coloring agents being used.
According to the Organic Consumer Association “The FDA based its approval of irradiation to treat meat products on only 5 animal studies of 441 studies submitted, and these 5 either showed health effects or had obvious scientific flaws. In fact, animal studies have shown many health effects, such as tumors, kidney failure, death of offspring and miscarriages”. Laboratory animal tests of the effects of irradiated food have reported embryonic deaths & lower offspring survival: internal bleeding (associated with Vitamin K deficiency); nutritional muscular dystrophy (associated with Vitamin E deficiency). Irradiated foods contain novel free radicals and other compounds with the potential to cause mutations and cancer, and the process can damage essential nutrients such as Vitamins A, C, B1, B2, B3, B6 & folic acid. ( www.organicconsumer.org). neurological damage was reported in cats fed imported irradiated cat food, now banned by the Australian government, (for details go to www.drfoxvet.com/info/).
The FDA has not demanded a full recall of these products because their scientists have not been able to identify what ingredient/s may be responsible. According to reporter Aleccia the FDA has tested for “evidence of dangerous toxins, including heavy metals, melamine, melamine analogs and diethylene glycol.” But no mention is made of possible food irradiation toxicity, for which the FDA may not be fully equipped to test. The government may also be under pressure from food manufacturers to ignore rather than trigger renewed public concern over this (mummified) food irradiation technology that the meat industry in particular wants to see approved in the U.S. because of the continued problems with bacterial contamination and costly recalls following mass outbreaks of food-borne illnesses in the consumer public.
Surely we should not wait until the toxic ingredients are identified, if ever, but follow the precautionary principle and get these imported products off the shelves and out of dogs’ reach.
For related concerns about manufactured dog and cat consumables, see NOT FIT FOT A DOG: The Truth About Manufactured cat and dog food by Drs Fox, Hodgkins & Smart, Quill Driver Books, CA.