The treat drama has taken a decidedly nasty turn in recent days, in more ways than most people probably realize. While Kasel Industries, maker of U.S. pet treats, is getting thrown under the bus, the same type of dehydrated pet treats imported from China found tainted with illegal drug residues, on the other hand, remain on store shelves across America
What’s up with that? Sure, the horrific FDA inspection report of conditions present at the Kasel plant was revolting to say the least, but neither are drug-laced treats from Chinese manufacturer’s with hardly a murmur from the Food and Drug Administration a good thing either.
What is wrong with this picture? And further, just who do you think comes out ahead in this freak show? Let me put it another way — who do you think wins and loses?
I think you already know the answer to both of those questions. Just in case it’s not crystal clear about who gets the shaft and who gets off Scott-free — let me explain it to you:
Who wins & profits:
- Chinese pet treat manufacturers
- Chinese exporters
- Chinese workers
- Chinese poultry industry
- Chinese drug manufacturers
- U.S. importers of Chinese goods
- U.S. retailers that sell Chinese goods
Who gets the fuzzy end of the lollipop:
- U.S. manufacturers
- U.S. workers
- U.S. economy
- U.S. consumers
- U.S. pets
Now, I ask you – does that seem fair? Well, of course it doesn’t. But that is exactly what is going on right this very minute. Personally, I don’t care about a company’s bottom line, in the US or otherwise, but what I do care about are animals. Am I defending Kasel Industries, au contraire. What I am saying is, what’s good for Kasel should be good for Chinese manufacturers. Simple as that.
A request ignored
While Kasel is getting raked over the coals by media, FDA and myself included — not one State Department of Agriculture official, nor the FDA, has responded to a formal request to begin testing all imported poultry pet treats from China for illegal drug residues. Not one.
The request for FDA action was posted on Susan Thixton’s site on February 19, 2012:
“Our Association [the Association for Truth in Pet Food]…sent emails to FDA and to each State Department of Agriculture providing each with import documents proving the same Chinese manufacturers of jerky treats found to contain illegal drug residues are selling under various private label names. We asked each party to take swift action to remove these treats from store shelves and to begin testing all jerky treats imported from China for illegal drug residues.”
With the exception of the fabulous New York State Department of Agriculture — who discovered the illegal drug residues in the first place on jerky treats imported from China (not the FDA, mind) — the FDA is allowing the continued sale of contaminated poultry pet treats imported from the very same Chinese plant where the drug laced treats the NY State Department of Agriculture found were contaminated with multiple drug residues.
Still on sale
Treats sold under other U.S. brand names from the very same Chinese manufacturer — that essentially ended the future of Nestle Purina’s Waggin’ Train, Canyon Creek Ranch, Milo’s Kitchen, Hartz and other pet treat brands — that were found to contain illegal drug residues, are imported to the U.S. are for sale right now in cities all over America.
Incredibly, the FDA has known exactly which Chinese poultry plants the Chinese pet treat makers sourced their drug-contaminated chicken from since March of last year. When FDA inspectors visited Chinese pet treat makers, did they test any of their treats for Salmonella, or anything else for that matter? Nope, sorry, not a one. Did they swab the place for Salmonella? No. Did they do a surprise inspection on those plants as they did with Kasel Industries? Oh, no.
Inspection my eye
The Chinese, on the other hand, were presented with an engraved notification a month before FDA inspectors ever set foot in the Chinese plants that an “inspection” was to take place. Instead, a carefully orchestrated and scripted inspection took place using strict protocol was followed in China, so as not to step on any regulatory toes or bruise the Chinese officials who were present every step of the way. U.S. inspectors were not allowed to test any treat or touch a Q-tip to any surface. They were, however, allowed access to paperwork. Paperwork, which by the FDA’s own admission, the Chinese are not even required to keep.
The paper trail
What the FDA did take from the Chinese manufacturer’s was copies of paperwork, business cards, and photographs. Some of that paperwork included the names of every single U.S. importer the Chinese treat manufacturer sells to, and every single dodgy Chinese poultry supplier they use to make those treats. Will the public ever be privy to that information? Not bloody likely.
Chickens on drugs
Who are those other U.S. importers? What pet treat brands do they sell? I don’t know. Who are the Chinese poultry processors? The same ones that supplied Yum! Brands, KFC, McDonald’s drugged and sick chickens to? Hell, search me.
Drugs, that I, and other veterinarians, believe could be the smoking gun to the illness and death of hundreds of dogs exposed to those drugs in the treats. Sulfonamide hypersensitivity is real and it is fact. While thousands of reported illness and death of American dogs (and cats) have plagued the U.S. for years, we now have strong evidence of the cause of these illnesses and yet the FDA and the State Departments of Agriculture have done little to stem the tide of drug laced meat imported from China. Meat products that may be sickening pets right this very minute. Treats that remain on store shelves for sale across America.
Illegal drug residues are illegal
Regardless of whether sulfonamide hypersensitivity is the smoking gun or not is completely irrelevant. Why? Because they are illegal! Full stop. Let me say that one more time: Illegal drug residues are illegal. Have I made myself plain enough? I hope so. Because what is happening right now, is a crime — in more ways that one.
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