Santa puts pet treats from China on his naughty list

Santa Paws put all the people who sell toxic pet treats from China on his Very Naughty List when he heard that poor, innocent doggies and kitties were being made very sick, and some were even dying, from eating the poisoned treats.

Santa Paws has been known on occasion to get his fur up, especially when animals and children are being harmed. And when Santa Paws gets mad, the Elves run for cover and warn the other Little Helpers,

“Feets get movin’ ’cause here comes Santa Claws and boy, is he pissed!”

Because they know that nothing upsets Santa than people who deliberately poison pets. And when they do, those bastards go straight to the tippy-top of Santa’s Very Naughty List. Secretly, the Elves refer to Santa’s Very Naughty List as the Santa’s Sh*t List.

Santa Paws had a really tough time trying to figure out whose treats were from China and whose weren’t, because the country of origin is not required by law on the package if the imported product undergoes substantive changes once it reaches the end consumer.

Curious, Santa did a little nosing around and he called up a very popular brand of high-end dehydrated treats for dogs and cats and was told although the ingredients came from China they assured him,

“…But we make absolutely sure they are of top quality!”

Uh huh. Yeah…sure…whatever, thought Santa.

Santa Paws found another well-known brand that proudly stated they are an “American Company”, but in small type on the back of their package it said: “Made in China”.

Confused, Santa Paws did some more digging.

He found that if an imported ingredient or product is changed once it is in America, such as cut into shapes, used as an ingredient in a recipe, flavored or colored or messed with in any way, they can legally say on the label: “Made in the USA”.

Santa learned what the Country of Origin Label (COOL) really means from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA):

Q.   Must processed food products have a country of origin label?

A.  Processed food products (such as hot dogs) do not require country of origin labeling (COOL). As an example, processed food means a retail item derived from a commodity covered under this law that:

1.  has undergone specific processing resulting in a change of character (for example, cooking, curing, smoking, restructuring) or

2.  has been combined with another food component.

Examples of processed meat items not required to bear COOL are: teriyaki flavored pork loin, breaded chicken tenders, or fish sticks. However, many imported items are still required to be marked with country of origin information. Meat items, such as marinated lamb loins, that are imported in consumer-ready packages must be labeled with country of origin information because both Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) regulations require meat that is imported in consumer-ready packages to be labeled with origin information on the package.

Santa Paws learned from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) that a “Made in USA” claim can legally be express or implied. To understand what that means in layman’s terms, Santa says that means they can bullsh*t you by making it sound or look like something was “Made in the USA”, when in fact it isn’t.

Santa Paws thought that was pretty sneaky.

To elaborate, the FTC gave Santa the following information:

Examples of express claims: Made in USA. “Our products are American-made.” “USA.” In identifying implied claims, the Commission focuses on the overall impression of the advertising, label, or promotional material. Depending on the context, U.S. symbols or geographic references (for example, U.S. flags, outlines of U.S. maps, or references to U.S. locations of headquarters or factories) may convey a claim of U.S. origin either by themselves, or in conjunction with other phrases or images.

Example: A company promotes its product in an ad that features a manager describing the “true American quality” of the work produced at the company’s American factory. Although there is no express representation that the company’s product is made in the U.S., the overall — or not — impression the ad is likely to convey to consumers is that the product is of U.S. origin.

So, when Santa Paws realized pet parents were sh*t-out-of-luck in trying to figure out whose product were Naughty and whose were Nice, he wisely decided to err on the side of caution and put them all on the Naughty List.

Santa heard bad reports about the duck treats too, so he included them as well on the Naughty No-No List.  Santa is pretty sure that buffalo meat is not a typical Chinese import, but these days no one can be sure of anything. We live in a global market and Santa knows all about traveling the globe!

Since Santa Paws knew that many consumers have already been warned about “chicken jerky” treats specifically, Santa thought it was important to caution pet parents that the treats may also labelled using a variety of alternative descriptive names such as the following examples (and this list is by no meant to be an all-inclusive):

Bites, Bits, Blasts, Breasts, Chews, Chunks, Drumettes, Filets, Medallions, Morsels, Nibbles, Pieces, Shapes, Slices, Snacks, Squares, Sticks, Strips and Tenders.

Santa also found another clue to discovering whether those treats might be from China, and that is for pet parents to keep their eyes peeled for a tiny irradiated food logo, known as RADURA, that has the deceptive appearance of an eco-groovy green-washed cute logo of a flower enclosed in a green circle.

Santa decided the only treats he’s putting in stockings this Christmas are the ones he and Mrs. Claus made themselves.

Even during the busy holidays they found that making their own treats was not only easy, but amazingly simple. And best of all, all the doggies and kitties thought they were the best treats they ever had because they were homemade with love.

SOURCES
Complying with the Made in USA Standard
(Federal Trade Commission)
Country of Origin Labeling for Meat and Chicken (USDA, FSIS)

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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.

Comments (3) Write a comment

  1. Pingback: With over 400 new reports of tainted treats, Senator Brown urges the FDA to speed it up…again « Poisoned Pets

  2. Thank you again, Mollie, for your very understandable article. I thought having an American flag on a product meant it was made in America!

    joan and the crew

    Reply

    • I know! Isn’t that awful?! I swear, my poor vet keeps having to tell her clients, “Just because it says the jerky was made in the USA, doesn’t mean it was”! Aaaargh! Best just to make your own, I am. I bought a humungous turkey and I’m going to slice it up and put some in the dehydrator and some in the oven at a low temp and see what it comes out like. They’ve got easy directions all over the net. I just hope it’s crunchy enough for my cats. We’ll see, and I’ll let you know how it comes out.

      Reply

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