FDA says 580 pets have died from jerky-caused illness

Wed Oct 23, 2013 2:28pm EDT

Related Topics

(Reuters) - The Food and Drug Administration has turned to pet owners for help in an ongoing investigation into jerky products, most made in China, that have killed nearly 600 dogs and cats.

Since 2007, roughly 3,600 dogs and 10 cats have fallen ill - and more than 580 have died - from eating the sliced and dried meat products, the food inspection agency said in an update on Tuesday.

Pet owners and veterinarians were asked to report more cases in "one of the most elusive and mysterious outbreaks we've encountered," said Bernadette Dunham, director of the FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine, in a statement posted on the FDA's website.

"Our beloved four-legged companions deserve our best effort, and we are giving it," Dunham said.

Symptoms displayed within hours of eating jerky include decreased appetite and activity, increased water and drinking and urination, vomiting and diarrhea. Severe cases involve gastrointestinal bleeding and kidney failure.

The jerky products were made of chicken, as well as duck, sweet potatoes and dried fruit and were sold under many brand names, most imported from China. An FDA spokeswoman declined to name any of the brands.

The FDA said it has inspected several manufacturing facilities in China, and continues to work with Chinese authorities.

Some jerky products were taken off the market in January, after the New York State Department of Agriculture and Marketing found six unapproved antibiotic drugs in the Chinese-made treats.

Until the investigation concludes, the FDA recommends that pet owners use caution in serving jerky to their animals.

"Pet treats are not a necessary part of a fully balanced diet, so eliminating them will not harm pets," the FDA said.

(Reporting by Luke Swiderski; Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Marguerita Choy)

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (3)
SoutherRican wrote:
Other bad news is that a Chinese company is taking over Pork producer Smithfield Foods Inc., China has bad food safety record.

Oct 23, 2013 4:08pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
DFPawlowski wrote:
It is well known that China has used the considerable surplus of melamine as a non-protein nitrogen food supplement for ruminants (cows, sheep, etc.) and for poultry (chickens, ducks, etc.) for several decades. Melamine in combination with cyanuric acid or related compounds that occur when certain cyanuric type pesticides (e.g. poultry larvicides) could easily cause the toxicity and renal failure of dogs and cats given their known susceptibility since the first China origin melamine/cyanuric acid debacle in U.S. pet foods in 2007. And that only scratches the surface…Type 0104 ESBL resistant E Coli, listeria, parasites, bacteria, it is plausible it all ends up in pet food.

Oct 23, 2013 4:50pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
ChasL wrote:
Well, melamine was not found in these pet treats. Fact is FDA can’t find link any contaminate to these deaths. Google “canine bloat salty” to see why over-feeding salty treats can make dog sick.

BTW, the Chinese company bought Smithfield in order to profit more from importing US pork into China.

Oct 23, 2013 5:54pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.