Vets petition AVMA to warn feeding jerky treats to pets: AVMA says not gonna happen

A rare petition-generated resolution asks the American veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) to discourage owners from feeding jerky treats to their pets in the absence of adequate safety data.

More than 100 members of the AVMA signed on in support, reflecting their deep concern that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has received an estimated 5,110 reports of pets affected by the toxic treats imported from China since 2007.

Precautionary principle

The veterinarians felt that just because scientists have yet to identify a contaminant does not mean that the AVMA should ignore the danger associated with the treats. They recommended that until such time as scientific evidence emerges that conclusively proves a relationship between pets and the treats does not exist, the veterinarians asked the AVMA issue a policy simply to discourage feeding jerky pet treats until further information on their safety is available.

The proposed AVMA position statement reads:

“Adulterants have been found in jerky pet treats, and to mitigate the risk that the pet may become sick and potentially die from ingesting them, the AVMA discourages the feeding of jerky pet treats until further information on their safety is available.”

Instead of passing the resolution immediately, the AVMA House of Delegates recommended instead to continue collaborating with the FDA by reporting problems.  Problems which, sadly, continue to mount as each day that passes and no policies are finalized.

The AVMA could only offer a vague suggestion that their members continue to work with the FDA to safeguard animals through “quality control of pet food and treats”,  rather than to warn their clients about the poor quality control of pet food and treats from China pose to their patients.

Consumer advocate offers warning notice instead

In the absence of a policy being approved (it’s on hold until the next AVMA House of Delegates meeting in April), I have created a poster based on the information the AVMA petitioners suggested, but didn’t get.

 The simple, easy to read one-page poster is for veterinarians, retailers and consumers to distribute or post in prominent locations warning pet parents of the risks of feeding treats imported from China to pets.

Download a .pdf of the warning notice here.

Jerky Pet Treat Warning

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Mollie Morrissette

Mollie Morrissette, the author of Poisoned Pets, is an animal food safety expert and consumer advisor. Help support her work by making a donation today.

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