Job opportunity at FDA: Nutritional analysis of chicken jerky pet treats? Huh?

Looking for a job? Do you own a private lab? Do you know how to perform basic nutritional analysis? Then you’re in luck.

The Federal government has a job for you.

The FDA is soliciting for bids on a job, a very special job. Testing chicken jerky treats, not just any treats — but treats from grief-stricken pet parents whose dogs became ill or died as a result of being fed chicken jerky treats.

What does the FDA expect to find in those treats? Nephrotoxins? Carcinogens? No.

Is the FDA looking for toxins that might point to the reason why those chicken jerky treats are causing acute renal failure in dogs? No.

So, what does the FDA want to find out about the toxic treats? Absolutely nothing.

Unless, of course the FDA believes acute renal failure can be caused by fatty-acids, fiber, glycerol, protein, ash or moisture. Because that is the only thing those chicken jerky treat samples will be tested for: their basic nutritional composition. Period.

A notice on a Federal business opportunities website, FedBizOpps.gov, the FDA placed a notice on March 30, 2012 seeking solicitations for bids to perform the Analysis of Nutritional Composition of 30 Animal Food Products (Chicken Jerky Treats):

Due to an increase in the number of consumer complaints regarding an animal food product related pet illness, the FDA has a requirement to test nutritional composition of 30 animal food products (chicken jerky treats)  to investigate cause of reported toxicity.

The contractor will analyze a subset of randomly sampled and a subset of case related animal food products (chicken jerky treats).  The contractor will analyze a total of 30 animal food products (chicken jerky treats) for the following:

Total Fatty Acids
Crude Fiber
Glycerol (an absolute requirement)
Protein
Ash
Moisture

The Contractor must be able to complete all tests with a small amount of samples (10 grams).  FDA will provide the samples to the Contractor.

The Contractor shall conduit testing and provide the analysis back to the FDA in 10 business days of receiving the samples.

For the pet parents whose precious samples were given to the FDA in good faith, their samples might only be tested for their nutritional content, not for toxins; those consumers might be robbed of the one chance of ever finding out the truth.

For the pet parents who have been waiting anxiously, counting the days, the hours, until the FDA makes the announcement that they hope will bring an end to their nightmare, can stop hoping. They can stop waiting.

Today a woman will say goodbye to her beloved pet Yorkie, who, at this moment is dying of acute renal failure after eating chicken jerky treats. What hope will she have that the Federal government will help her find the reason for the death of her one true friend?

SOURCE:  Analysis of Nutritional Composition of 30 Animal Food Products (Chicken Jerky Treats); FedBizOpps.gov, March 30, 2012: UPDATED April 4, 2012 

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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.