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Chicken jerky treats continue to kill dogs, Walmart brand blamed while FDA investigates

A troubling news report released this week: The Food and Drug Administration is investigating another chicken jerky treat brand suspected of making dogs deathly ill.

The brand, Golden Rewards, is a private label brand of Walmart’s; It has only been out a year and already it is blamed for causing illness and death of dogs nationwide.

Three guesses where the treats are from and the first two guesses don’t count:


Dogs have been given the diagnosis of acquired Fanconi’s syndrome, a rare kidney disease commonly associated with jerky treats and poultry meal imported from China.

The FDA calls it the “hallmark” disease among dogs thought sickened by jerky made in China.

In the report, the FDA said that the complaints about Golden Rewards treats involved 23 sick dogs including three deaths.

Walmart, unmoved by the report said in a statement:

“Exhaustive FDA tests have been performed with no conclusive connection linking specific brands or types of chicken jerky treats with claims of illness or injury. We require our pet food and treat suppliers to meet the highest of food safety standards and remain committed to providing our customers and their pets with safe and affordable foods.”

Meanwhile, Congresswomen Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) introduced the Safe Chicken and Meat for Children Act of 2015  on Friday. DeLauro explains:

“I introduced this bipartisan legislation to prevent Chinese meat and chicken from being used in federal nutrition programs given China’s atrocious history of poorly-enforced food safety laws. It is a moral imperative to ensure the food we serve America’s children is safe…”

She points to the FDA report of thousands of pets in the United States that were made sick or died from eating pet treats containing contaminated chicken imported from China that was found to be laced with illegal antibiotics.

DeLauro points to an alarming Asia Inspection study that found that almost half of Chinese food-processing plants fail to meet internationally acceptable standards. In some cases, laboratory tests found abnormal levels of pesticides, antibiotics, heavy metals, bacteria or viruses that could put consumers at risk.

Last year, a hearing (broadcast live) before the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, Pet Treats and Processed Chicken from China: Concerns for American Consumers and Pets, raised important concerns about the safety of poultry from China and called on government to address the problem.

Chairman of the Committee, Senator Brown, said in his opening statement that he called for the hearing to

“…seek answers for American consumers, pet owners, farmers, and parents about the safety of pet treats and processed chicken and animal feed from the People’s Republic of  China…Many of us raise our animals almost like members of our families. That’s why it’s so troubling that we still do not know, seven years in, if you will, what’s causing the deaths and illnesses of thousands of dogs.”

Consumers should be aware that these problems are not restricted to just jerky pet treats – any pet food product containing poultry/chicken meal, or poultry/chicken by-products imported from China could conceivably be contaminated as well.

Importantly, because manufacturers are not required to list the country of origin of each ingredient used in their product, consumers assume when the label indicates a product is made in the US they are led to believe the ingredients originated in the US. Even more opaque, is the claim that a company’s ingredients were sourced in the US, when in fact, it could only mean that their supplier is located in the US – but where the supplier obtains their goods is not revealed.

What consumers need to know is that any poultry product or ingredient that claims to be manufactured in the United States could be dangerous, because while many of the products are, in fact, assembled in the USA, they could still include ingredients sourced in China.

To report a complaint about any pet food to the FDA, visit their pet food complaint page here.

If you want to submit a complaint to the FDA specifically about the jerky treat products or want to learn more about the issue, visit the FDA’s jerky pet treat information page.

SOURCE: FDA investigating if dog treats made Atlanta pet sick

Thanks to Susan Thixton of Truth About Pet Food for alerting me to this article.

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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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