Jerky Treats Linked to 600 Pet Deaths and Ongoing Investigation Back on the Market

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A mysterious set of illnesses linked to jerky treats, many manufactured in China, have caused nearly 600 pet deaths since 2007. Two of the treats implicated in the illnesses and recalled in January 2013, Waggin’ Train jerky treats for dogs and Milo’s Kitchen Chicken Jerky Strips and Chicken Grillers Recipe Treats for dogs, are coming back on the market.

What exactly caused the illnesses, which have resulted in pancreatitis, kidney failure, a rare kidney disorder called Fanconi syndrome, and gastrointestinal bleeding, remains a troubling mystery for the FDA, pet parents, and pet treat manufacturers.

Photo by waggintrainbrand.com

Photo by waggintrainbrand.com

Manufacturers Promise New Recipes, Processes

Nestle Purina Pet Care will reintroduce Waggin’ Train treats for dogs in February, including products made from a single supplier in China and products sourced entirely in the US.

“We’ve worked hard to put in place the highest quality controls in the dog treat industry,” Waggin’ Train President Nina Leigh said.

Del Monte Foods Corp. plans to start offering Milo’s Kitchen Chicken Jerky Strips and Chicken Grillers Recipe treats in March, using US-sourced meat.

The FDA currently doesn’t have pre-market approval over such moves. It might someday soon, though.

The Trouble With Jerky Treats

The jerky treat-related deaths have stumped authorities for years and prompted the FDA to propose a milestone rule: the first-ever set of guidelines to protect pets before there’s a recall.

Under the proposed rule, pet food and treat manufacturers — both domestic and overseas — must develop procedures to prevent any foodborne illnesses. Manufacturing facilities would have to follow sanitation practices and a manufacturer that fails to meet the guidelines could find their shipments stopped by the FDA.

What Do You Think?

Will you be buying either of these treats for your pet? What assurances would you look for from the manufacturers? Share in the comments below.

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