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Petco and PetSmart to Stop Selling China-Made Treats Linked to Pet Deaths

You might have thought the jerky treat controversy only affects dogs, but cats have gotten sick, too.

 |  May 21st 2014  |   3 Contributions


Through the years, the FDA has been releasing warnings about jerky treats made in China; the last one came Friday. It said much of what the last one said -- dogs and cats are getting sick and dying from treats made in China -- only the numbers were different. 

They're growing, of course. 

As of May 1, the FDA said it has received about 4,800 reports of pet illnesses linked to treats made in China, affecting a total of 5,600 dogs, 24 cats, and 3 people. More than 1,000 dogs have died. The FDA says the treats linked to these illnesses were almost all manufactured in China, in chicken, duck, and sweet potato flavors. The majority of the cases involve gastrointestinal illnesses; a third involve kidney failures.

But since the FDA hasn't been able to categorically prove the treats caused the illnesses -- despite obtaining a number of case reports from vets and even doing postmortem examinations on 26 dogs -- it hasn't been able to issue a recall. The products remain on store shelves. 

It's been up to the consumer to recognize and avoid the treats, and despite all the press, it's tough to get the word out to all dog and cat owners. The products are on the shelves, after all, mixed in with treats made from other locations. After the warnings have piled up over the years, you might have wondered: Why is this just in the hands of the consumer? Why won't stores voluntarily stop selling them?  

Finally, they are. Petco said on Tuesday it would end the sale of dog and cat treats made in China. We applaud the effort. It's long overdue.  

“We’ve been following the FDA warnings and related customer concerns closely, and we’ve been actively reducing our China-made assortment and expanding our American-made offerings for several years now,” said Jim Myers, Petco's chief executive, according to the Los Angeles Times. “As a leader in the industry and the trusted partner for our pet parents, we’re eager to make this transition and to expand our assortment of safe and healthy treats."

"Very simply, we feel this decision is in the best interest of the pets we all love and, ultimately, for our business.”

Petco, which is based on San Diego, has 1,300 stores, and the company expects all China-made treats will be off its shelves by year's end.

PetSmart also announced Tuesday that it too will stop selling the treats. "PetSmart will no longer sell dog and cat treats manufactured in China," Erin Gray, a PetSmart spokeswoman, said in an emailed statement, according to the Los Angeles Times. "This is something we’ve been working toward for some time, and feel it’s the right thing to do for pets and our customers."

Kudos to Petco and PetSmart. Now it's time for giant supermarket chains to follow suit. 

Via the Los Angeles Times

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