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Nestle & DelMonte jerky treats may be to blame for pet illnesses

by Therese on March 13, 2012

in Pet Food Recall, Pet Health

FDA investigating jerky treats manufactured in ChinaA few days ago, I posted about the FDA testing of jerky treats that’s been going on since 2007. The FDA has advised pet owners to be cautious of jerky treats made in China, but they haven’t released the brand names of any of the treats in question. Just today though, MSNBC is reporting a possible link between some big brand jerky treats and illnesses in dogs. The brands named are Waggin’ Train or Canyon Creek Ranch jerky treats or tenders produced by Nestle Purina PetCare Co., and Milo’s Kitchen Home-style Dog Treats, produced by the Del Monte Corp. The information comes from an FDA report MSNBC obtained through a public records request.

A log of complaints collected from pet owners and veterinarians contains references to at least three popular brands of jerky treats that may be associated with kidney failure and other serious ailments, according to internal Food and Drug Administration documents obtained by msnbc.com.

Of 22 “Priority 1” cases listed by the FDA late last year, 13 cited Waggin’ Train or Canyon Creek Ranch jerky treats or tenders, both produced by Nestle Purina PetCare Co., the records show.

Another three listed Milo’s Kitchen Home-style Dog Treats, produced by the Del Monte Corp. The rest listed single brands or no brand.

Priority 1 cases are those in which the animal is aged 11 or younger and medical records that document illness are available, an FDA spokeswoman said. In many cases, samples of the suspect treats also are collected.

The report, obtained through a public records request, is the first agency indication of any brands linked to illnesses that have climbed since the FDA warned pet owners about jerky treats in November. That was the FDA’s third caution about the pet products since 2007.

Nestle Purina and Del Monte officials said their treats are safe and FDA regulators said repeated tests have shown no absolute tie to any brand or manufacturer.


Since 2007, FDA scientists have analyzed jerky treats for evidence of dangerous toxins, including heavy metals, melamine, melamine analogs and diethylene glycol, chemicals used in plastics and resins.

So far, they’ve found nothing convincing, a point emphasized by Keith Schopp, director of communications for Nestle Purina.  He noted that FDA officials also suggest that illnesses may be a result of causes other than eating jerky treats.

“Our chicken jerky treats are safe to feed as directed,” said Schopp. “The safety of our products — and the pets who consume them — are our top priorities.”

The company has a comprehensive food safety program in place, he said, including at manufacturing plants in China.

Read the rest of the MSNBC article: 3 big brands may be tied to chicken jerky illness in dogs, FDA records show.

The pet food companies say the treats are safe and, as Schopp says, pets are their top priority, but I’m not convinced. The fact that he FDA is continuing to get complaints about the treats makes me question the treats and the companies selling them. Just since November, 2011 the FDA has received over 530 complaints from pet owners who say their dogs have become ill or died after eating jerky treats manufactured in China. With that many complaints, I would expect any ethical company to look at their products – products they’re having manufactured in a country with a questionable history in the food industry. Instead, this garbage can still be found on shelves everywhere.

It’s easy to sit behind our computers and cuss out the companies selling this crap, but that’s not going accomplish much. So here are a few suggestions on what we can all do to make some noise:

I know I’ll sound like a broken record, but I’ll say it again anyway, please don’t let your dogs eat jerky treats manufactured in China! Sure, your pet may be OK, but he may not. Just ask someone who lost their dog to jerky treats, or to tainted pet food in 2007, and they’ll tell you it’s just not worth it.

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Paul March 14, 2012 at 3:01 pm

Even when I go to a major pet store they can not tell me where the treats are made. Many treats carry American Band name but are made in other areas of the world. The most deceiving is when it says packaged in the USA but does not say where the product in the package was made. Should develop a list of companies we can trust for treats


Sherie Wallace March 14, 2012 at 4:26 pm

I am concerned about the report of Chinese made jerky poisoning our dogs. My dog is 13 years old and I dont want to take the chance of feeding her something like Chicken jerky that would harm her. she loves the brand from Costco and I have been using it for about 6 months. I also have been giving her the sweet potato/chicken treats which are the same brand. Please keep us updated on any new results. In the mean time I have quit giving her the treats and will take them back to Costco for a refund. Thank you for the updates.


Bethany March 14, 2012 at 7:23 pm

Concerning the treats that are from Costco, I’ve fed my dogs those treats for over two years and they have not had a problem.


cb March 20, 2012 at 4:31 pm

You are very lucky.


lori nanan March 15, 2012 at 9:48 am

I am very careful about the food and treats I give my dogs. While this stuff may not happen a whole lot, I find it better to be cautious. But, the truth is that some brands that look like they are made in the US, actually aren’t. So, I do lots of research. I figure better safe than sorry.


Trish March 17, 2012 at 4:50 pm

Do a Google search for “American Made Pet Treats”. There are many other choices than to by the treats from China. The ones from China may be the least expensive, but the real cost may be the life of your pet. I’ll never take that chance – my neighbor lost their beautiful 5 month old puppy to these disgraceful products. Please always buy American made AND American SOURCED products. The life of your pet depends on it.


Milton Hall April 7, 2012 at 10:29 am

I recently bought a Pkg.of Waggin Train Lassos pet treats at local supermarket.I
had heard some months ago about the problem with Chinese made treats; but I
assumed that had been tended to.I gave my 90lb. Lab one of these treats,and another the following day.Then I found my dog has had a loss appetite and lack
of energy . I can’t say this is connected to the “Lassos” or not but there is a chance
that it is. The Vet says I can wait and see since now there is nothing they can do.


Rose April 15, 2012 at 2:39 am

My 8 year old dog was having the exact symptoms after giving him the jerky treats from wagon train. Within the course of a week he went from happy,playful and energetic to no appetite and extremely lethargic. Took him into vet thinking it was a little stomach ache when Vet told us he was in full kidney failure.. ONLY thing different in r dogs routine was the jerky treats, I never got to bring him home. Had to make the excruciating painful decision to put him down. R home and hearts have a void and sadness for r little guy. Hopefully your lab was able to recover…these products need to b pulled!!


Trish April 15, 2012 at 10:43 am

Rose, I am so sorry to hear of your loss. My neighbor lost their puppy the same way and it can still bring me to tears. I know it doesn’t ease the pain of your loss, but you are now one of many many people who have been affected by these bad products from China. Please spread the word to other pet parents to only buy American Made treats. I hope the gov’t. will soon stop the import of these Chicken Treats or find out why they are killing our pets. I have read that our gov’t. has officially opened an investigation into this. Again, my condolences – I know your heartbreak.


Rose April 16, 2012 at 1:24 am

Thank u Trish,
I was at target last night and noticed that they have a full stock of wagon train jerky treats.. The same exact ones that took my “vanilla”, I was so angree that such a well known chain would continue to sell products that have had bad publicity or be potentially harmful to animals.. I grabbed a bag and went to speak to the head manager and told her what had happened. She was very concerned and within those few minutes had called around and found out that a couple of reputable PET STORES in r area had done their own voluntary recall on these treats and others alike a time ago when the news broke out and will not sell them anymore. I can only hope her words were sincere when she told me she was going to follow up on this and do something.. I’m hoping that everyone that was overhearing r conversation at the check out isle, that was showing interest and concern will spread the word to. If something good came out of my visit to target it’s that one person herd my plee… The cashier had just started giving his dog the same treats:( and now will be throwing them away. He was very grateful for hearing this information on time before anything bad could of happened to his dog too…


Anne Proschold May 6, 2012 at 3:04 pm

So if they packages aren’t telling us they’re made in China & the store people can’t tell us where they are made, how do we know what to trust? Or should we all just start making our own treats.


kb May 6, 2012 at 9:56 pm

The other chicken jerky treat I have read has made dogs sick is Dogswell. People are surprised that it says it is a US company on the front in large letters but says the product is made in China in tiny letters on the back.

Vets are also reporting propblems with other treats made in China including sweet potato treats.


JERRY HARMYK July 4, 2012 at 3:05 am

Yesterday, our beloved Katrina, a Pit bull, gentle as a kitten, was euthanized at home……she died peacefully in my arms after a day of seizures and going in and out of consciousness. Up until 6 months ago, she was in perfect health, 7 years young and a real gentle giant…… one day, about 6 months ago……I was searching for treats and found a bag of “Waggin-Train” Chicken Jerky Strips in the local Shop-Rite…… Manufactured (for) Waggin-Train l.l.c. located in Georgia. In much less conspicuous type face, somewhat obliterated, superimposed over a colored wood grain graphic……”Made In China”.
In haste, all I saw was “Manufactured” and “Georgia”…… She became addicted to them…… it seems I might have killed her with kindness…… She had a blood test about 8 months ago, as part of her regular check up because her Vet was concerned about Lyme disease in our area and wanted to be on the safe side…… her blood work came back perfect, no problems on any front.
About 1 month ago, 5 months into eating “Waggin-Train” treats on a daily basis, she started to have an insatiable thirst, even drinking out of the Koi pond when she went out into the yard…… She started to have Diarrhea which was out of character for her, even accidents in the house which was odd for a dog that never did anything wrong as well as joint pain, whimpering sometimes when going up steps. I took her back to the Vet and Katrina was diagnosed with acute Kidney Failure……. out of the blue! The Vet suggested the possibility she drank anti-freeze or ate Rat Poison….. neither would have been remotely possible as I have a 1/2 acre fenced in yard that was her only domain……She continued to deteriorate…… Her Vet suggested euthanizing her at that point as her prognosis was grim…… Always believing that where there is life there is hope…… I decided to try medication, IV drips for dehydration and hospitalization. One week into her treatment she stopped eating on her own, lost some motor control and was emaciated…… I went twice a day to visit and feed her…… she would eat a few mouthfuls of baby food if hand fed by me….. She rallied enough to fool even her Vet that she had the strength for a weekend visit…… I took her home last Friday, with all her Meds and special dietary needs promising to return her on Monday for a revaluation……….She took immediately to her bed, went into a fetal position and other than a few scary seizures appeared to be unconscious. I slept with her, in her bed, Friday night and most of Saturday. Holding her seemed to alleviate the seizures, however, she continued to twitch and have constant facial ticks …….. I made the difficult decision to call a different Vet I had heard of that euthanized at home since her regular Vet was not reachable over the weekend…….. Within a few hours, a bucket of tears and many regrets she was gone…… quite peacefully, on her favorite fuzzy blanket in my arms surrounded by many who loved her very much.
Searching the internet the last few days for some answers I found all these blogs about the dangers of “Treats Made in China” and their relation to Kidney Failure in dogs.
Could the treats have been the cause?…… I am not big on “what if’s” or “should have’s” but …….did I kill my precious Katrina with kindness?


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