Why Did it Take So Long for the FDA to Recall Chicken Jerky Treats?

April 29, 2013

Dog Nutrition, Dog Safety

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Beef Jerky, PhotoDropper, Flickr

I’ve been writing about dogs for more than a year now and have learned that pet food recalls happen eventually; I just want to see that the brands are being proactive when they’re faced with a recall.  With the chicken jerky treats, it seems like dog parents have been ignored and mislead for a long time and now the FDA has finally forced them to pull treats off the shelves.

Update: Turns out that the FDA didn’t force them to pull the treats; I thought this was the case based on social media posts, but some companies just pulled their products – I was at the store the other day and they’re are China made treats all over the place.  Sucks! ~ Thank you, George, for your comment on Dogswell, which prompted me to contact the company and check out the FDA site.

With so many dog illnesses and deaths blamed on chicken jerky from China, why did stores need to be forced to remove it from their shelves?  I never did find an answer that satisfied me, but I did get some great insight…

The Best Resource on Pet Food

The Truth About Pet Food, which is written by Susan Thixton, is my go to site when I have questions about pet food and treats.  Not only does Susan fill you in on the history, but she provides details that will blow your socks off.

Check out a recent post that describes the FDA’s neglect on this issue which led to a nightmare for many dog parents; looks like pet lovers need to count on each other for the truth, not the FDA or big businesses.

USA Isn’t the Only Way

The lesson I learned from the pet treat recall is that we should buy from manufacturers who source most, if not all, of their products locally (within the same country).  We should buy from manufacturers who are proactive when it comes to recalls; notify their customers of the change, speak openly to the media; and take appropriate actions to ensure that they don’t have the same mishap in the future.

Recalls happen.  Mistakes happen.  It’s how companies deal with those recalls that get my attention.

Alternatives to Chicken Jerky Treats

  • You can always make them yourself.  I’d love a food dehydrator, but I know a blogger who makes them in her oven.
  • We give our dogs jerky bars by Dogswell: Dogswell Vitality Jerky Bar Dog Treats; featured real meat as the first ingredient and there is no corn, no wheat, no soy, and no byproducts.
  • UPDATE: Please note that Dogswell’s chicken jerky treats (not jerky bars) are made and sourced in China.  From Dogswell 5/2/13: “ Just to clarify, the Jerky Bars are a completely new recipe and sourced in the US, as well as all other DOGSWELL  products except the Jerky Treats.”  I thought Dosgwell had switched all of their operations to US and I’m bummed to learn that this is only the case with some of their treats.  ~ Again, thank you, George, for your comment on Dogswell, which prompted me to contact the company and check out the FDA site.

A 5/4 Update Inspired by a Comment Exchange

I’ve been told that I’m victimizing pet families with this post where I ask questions about the chicken jerky treat recall; if you are a pet parent who lost a dog or cat to tainted treats, I’m sorry for your lost.  I know the pain of losing a dog.  We lost a puppy last year.  In fact this weekend is a bittersweet time, because it’s my birthday and the one year anniversary of finding out that the puppy I received for my birthday had canine parvo virus.  She died a week later.  So I know how hopeless one feels when we lose  puppy through no fault of our own in a circumstances that could have been prevented.

 

Have you been caught off guard by a pet food recall?  Did you change brands?

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25 Responses to “Why Did it Take So Long for the FDA to Recall Chicken Jerky Treats?”

  1. Ann Staub Says:

    There does seem to be quite a spike of pet food recalls this year. Most seem to be related to Salmonella which is everywhere anyways, not just in the food we eat.
    Ann Staub recently published..Why You Need to Take Your Cat to the Vet in a CarrierMy Profile

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  2. Pam Says:

    We feed Iams and are please at how pro-active they are when they detect any problems with their food.
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  3. Jana Rade Says:

    The sad part is that the reason the jerky was finally recalled may or may not have anything at all to do with why it was making dogs sick …

    I found the situation quite infuriating, actually. If it’s obvious that it’s making dogs sick, why not just recall it? You can figure out why later …

    That said, it didn’t affect us, we’ve been making our own treats for years.
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  4. emma Says:

    It seems like so much more stuff is being recalled. Not sure if owners are just starting to pay more attention or what but it is a bit scary!
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  5. George Richter Says:

    Dogswell manufactures its treats in China. Along with most chicken jerky treats. There are many fantastic US made choices that adhere to stricter regulations and are less likely to put your dog at risk. And you will keep someone employed on the USA!

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    • Kimberly Says:

      Are you sure about Dogswell? I had to check and I’m so bummed, because I thought they pulled all of their treats from China. Bummer! I have an update to post. Thank you so much for pointing this out, George!
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      • Tracey Bagatta Says:

        The info in this article is inaccurate enough for you to consider pulling it and penning a new one. I do not mean this disrespectfully – this issue needs all the publicity it can get, but it needs to be accurate. I provided the correct info in my comment that has not been published. I would happily discuss this issue as I am personally involved in the mission to remove imported jerky from our shelves.

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        • Kimberly Says:

          Wow, Tracey – although you say that you don’t “mean this disrespectfully,” I do feel very offended and disrespected and I want to explain why…

          - After the first great comment, I wasn’t expecting a follow up comment of this nature. I’m quite shocked and bummed.

          - The information in my article isn’t meant to be a factual account of the FDA and the chick jerky recalls. This is my blog where I share my thoughts on raising my dogs and what I learn about raising happy, healthy dogs. I wanted to share my thoughts on the chicken jerky recall, wondering why this happened, what the FDA has been doing, why stores didn’t pull the products from their shelves, and suggesting that we need to buy from brands who are sourced/manufactured locally.

          - To tell me that my opinions need to be re-penned on my blog feels mean and disrespectful to me. I believe that I’m allowed to ask questions. I did link to a reputable site that has accurate details on the chicken jerky recall. Since I didn’t research it to the level as others, I wasn’t going to pretend to be an expert.

          - All comments on my blog are moderated. You didn’t see your first comment immediately, because I hadn’t logged onto my blog yet. I like to read each comment and respond. It also allows me to delete comments that are cruel. There are people out there who comment on blogs who leave the worst, most cruel comments and I don’t allow them to see the light of day, hence the moderation.

          I appreciate your passion on the issue and encourage you to continue sharing the facts with everyone, because there is so much information on the internet that it’s overwhelming. It’s also confusing to hear/read that products have been pulled only to see jerky made in China still on the shelves. I spoke with the people at Dogswell about their chicken jerky treats to learn that they will continue to source their meat from China. We received free treats for a product review; we will no longer be supporting Dogswell with our dollars, because I’ve heard the “we have superior quality control” from two of the companies last year and now they’re listed on the recall list this year.

          ~ Kimberly
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          • Tracey Bagatta Says:

            I realize that this is a blog and not a news article but I work with – and counsel – hundreds of the over 3200 victims of the chicken jerky “recalls”. There is far too much inaccurate info circulating about what has and hasn’t happened and who is and isn’t involved, that when something is published without the facts, these victims feel victimized yet again.
            I was/am sincere in not meaning any disrespect to you – I would like for you to offer the same respect to the victims. Over 500 deaths are connected to these treats – and that’s JUST the ones that were reported. I simply believe that these pet parents deserve to have the facts told.

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            • Kimberly Says:

              But what information did I offer that was inaccurate? How am I victimizing anyone by asking questions? You stop by making a serious critique that my blog is full of inaccuracies without providing any examples and then tell me that I’m being disrespectful to victims, that I’m victimizing them again. I’m stunned that you don’t see how offensive this is to me.

              As I stated, I linked to 2 sites that contain the facts; the purpose of my blog post was to question why this happened, not to explain why this happened. Please explain to me how I’m victimizing pet parents. I welcome constructive feedback, I do not appreciate being told that my blog victimizes pet parents, because I chose to link to sites with factual information instead of copying and pasting them into the blog post.

              It’s unfortunate that you hold such a negative opinion of me and my blog and I’m sorry to lose you as a reader. I have recommended your Facebook page to my readers, because I think it’s full of great information and I follow it myself. I’m disappointed that this is my first introduction to the page manager, but that’s life online.

              ~ Kimberly
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              • Raymond Says:

                For one, Dogswell is now saying that their chicken jerky is from Thailand, although they have been receiving shipments, some returned as adulterated, from the same suppliers as Waggin’ Train in China. It is also known that Thailand sources their chicken from China. I also deal daily with the over 3200 pet parentd of dogs that have been sickened by cjt, as well as the 501+ that have died, including mine. This information needs to be published as much as possible, and as accurate as possible. The correct facts and numbers are located on the FDA website.

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                • Kimberly Says:

                  Hi Raymond. Can you tell me when Dogswell said their treats came from Thailand? I spoke with a rep from their company on Thursday 5/2 who said only the chicken jerky strips came from China. No mention of Thailand.

                  I’m not sure if you noticed, but I have a link to the FDA site. This blog post was my way of questioning why, not answering that question, because I don’t have the answers. I tried calling big box stores and manufacturers and they wouldn’t return my calls.

                  As a person who lost a puppy a year ago this weekend, I can appreciate the pain of losing a pet.

                  If you have links to information showing that Dogswell is changing their story, I would love to read it. We (another blogger and myself) are writing an article about Dogswell this upcoming week. I can’t make claims without proof, if I do, I will be sued for libel. They have deep pockets. I don’t.
                  Kimberly recently published..When Accidents Happen | Working Through Incontinence in Female DogsMy Profile
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  6. Sharon Says:

    It’s vital give our pets a good start in life by feeding them with good food. This may mean, making the food yourself by using a dehydrator as stated above, raw, home cooked or even quality dehydrated commercial food. We should not feel guilty if we can’t commit to feeding home made meals, some of us are pushed for time.

    There are some good individual companies out there that are dedicated to offering the best dry foods. However, avoiding commercial companies that belt out 20 different brands is definitely a good start, and companies that are selling foods that have been bought from China etc. It’s usually these types of companies that fall short, and then we as consumers end up poisoning our precious pets with salmonella etc.

    Here is a good article on ‘Should We Feed Our Dogs Cheap Dog Food?’ – http://www.gr8caninedogs.com/cheap-dog-food.html
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  7. Tracey Bagatta Says:

    I think it’s important to note that the FDA did NOT recall jerky from China – they only forced the Kasel recall for salmonella, and Kasel is all domestic product. The FDA is still sitting on their hands as far as the deadly jerky from China. The NY Dept. of Agriculture fouind trace amounts of antibiotics and Nestle Purina, Del Monte, Hartz and a handful of independant and generic labels were “voluntarily” removed. Nestle Purina made the savvy move to label theirs as a “withdrawl” so it doesn’t even show up on the FDA’s website!
    DOGSWELL is still on the shelves and it comes from the same exact facility as Milo’s (Del Monte)!! You’d think the FDA would take action – but no.
    Nestle Purina and Del Monte have their lobbyists working on getting the antibiotc legalized in the US. This is all about money and politics and our pets are paying the price.

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    • Kimberly Says:

      Thanks for your comment, Tracey. I appreciate you added more details to the jerky saga.

      The Dogswell Jerky Treat Bars are made and sourced in the US. When we buy treats, I take the time to figure this out and if I can’t get the information from the package, I’ll call the number provided, because I want to know. I encourage all dog parents to do the same. If you’re not happy with their answers, don’t buy their product.

      The more people who are making a point of telling treat/food companies that we want better products while redirecting our budget to companies who do this, the faster we’ll see change.

      Kimberly
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  8. Raymond Says:

    Kimberly, you asked me if dogs could get sick quickly after eating these treats, that you have a concerned poster. The answer is YES! In my case, my baby started vomiting within five hours of having the treat. That(Waggin’Train) treat was the last morsel he ate voluntarily. After 13 miserable days, I had to let him go. He was nearly dead, and I couldn’t watch him suffer any longer, he was not getting any better. Have her get it to a vet quickly and have chemical panels tested, kidney and liver are the utmost urgent.

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