Milo’s Kitchen and Nestle Purina plan to reignite their flagging pet treat segment by reintroducing the jerky dog treats they were forced to take off the market last year following the discovery of illegal drug residue in their products imported from China just might backfire.
After years of reports of pet illness—even death—associated with consumption of jerky treats made with chicken sourced from China, Milo’s Kitchen and Nestlé Purina (the maker of Waggin’ Train treats) say that since the recall of their jerky treats last year due to illegal antibiotic residue, they have reformulated their products that this time they claim the treats are safe or at least they hope so.
While Milo’s, owned by Del Monte, has wisely decided to not risk continuing doing business with China, Purina on the other hand, has stubbornly refused to leave China and claims that this time they are going to make sure they don’t harm any pets by using strict quality control measures.
Purina’s refusal to discontinue their reliance on high-risk foreign ingredients from foreign suppliers shows a complete disregard for American consumers with pets. Why? For one reason and one reason only: Profits. Poultry is cheaper in China.
This move is unlikely to endear customers with confidence that Purina has their pet’s well being at heart and not just their bottom line. Purina’s refusal to acknowledge any responsibility that their products may have harmed pets left thousands of consumers with only one alternative: To sue.
Although Milo’s has assured consumers their products will be made with all U.S. ingredients, rumors have surfaced that raise questions about their claim: They may be using poultry from China in products they make in the U.S., thereby circumventing the necessity of revealing the actual source of the poultry.
Manufacturers can legally use any imported ingredient (including dehydrated poultry from China) in a formula without revealing the country of origin. All they need to do is substantially modify or change the poultry in such a manner (like grinding it, for example) that it no longer is a product of China but a product processed in the U.S.
Pet food companies that continue the high risk practice of importing ingredients and products from China should be tested by an independent third-party not connected in any way to the pet food industry to assure the safety of pet products.