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Congressman rips the FDA over jerky treats as death soar

The guarantee

Congressman Dennis Kucinich targeted the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Monday for failing to adequately protect consumer’s pets by failing to come to a conclusion that would allow them to order a mandatory recall of the pet jerky treats imported from China blamed in the deaths of thousands of pets. Instead, he says, they just drag their feet waiting for ability to do so, “By allowing the treats to stay on the market as the years-long investigation drags on, the FDA is guaranteeing more pets will die. Why?” asks Kucinich.

In a heartfelt statement, Kucinich echoes the sentiments of many Americans who are deeply concerned about the government’s ability to adequately protect them – as well as their pets – from dangerous products.

It has highlighted a fatal flaw in the food safety system: that while a suspected product is under investigation by the FDA, the FDA cannot detain the products from the market until a conclusion is reached, effectively leaving it up to corporations to make that decision. Leaving consumers and their pets at the mercy of an impotent government and multinational conglomerates to decide what is in the best interest of their stockholders before they consider what is best for people or their pets.

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In a press release Monday Kucinich published the following statement:

FDA Allows Pet Deaths to Mount While Awaiting Scientific Certainty

Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) today released the following statement criticizing the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for failing to adequately protect domestic pets.

“After a weeks-long investigative trip to China and thousands of reports of sick and dying dogs, the FDA still has no answers and offers pet owners no protection,” said Kucinich.

Constituents reported illnesses in their pets after feeding them chicken jerky snacks, including ‘Waggin’ Train.’ Kucinich then wrote to the FDA demanding strong action and a briefing on their investigation.  The FDA, which had known about problems with the snacks since 2008, issued a warning in November of 2011 about the instances of illnesses, but did not issue a recall.

After Kucinich demanded stronger action, the FDA sent inspectors to plants in China to investigate the conditions in which the treats were manufactured.  The FDA failed to reach a conclusion, releasing their raw data with little context.

“The FDA is waiting to request a recall until it has full scientific certainty about which contaminant or chemical in chicken jerky pet treats is causing deaths of pets all over the country. 

“As the FDA waits, it has to decide who pays the cost of the uncertainty.  Will it be the dog treat manufacturers, who refuse to issue a recall on their own and make even more money in doing so?  Or will it be beloved dogs and cats who pay with their health and their lives and whose owners receive no real warning about the danger posed by dog treats?

“By allowing the treats to stay on the market as the years-long investigation drags on, the FDA is guaranteeing more pets will die. Why?” said Kucinich. (Source: Dennis Kucinich)

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3,000 reports

Until there is a recall, the only protection consumers have is an out of date, ineffective and adequate warning system in place, leaving pet parents informed about the very real danger the treats pose, which sadly is precisely why the reports of illness and deaths of pets continues to climb. Recent accounts that there have been over 3,000 reports to the FDA* that some of the best-selling treats in America are danger to pets.

As the reports continue to escalate, the FDA has been incapable of finding the toxin responsible for causing so much anguish and pain in over 5 1/2 years. Efforts at doing so have been a haphazard, unorganized, illogical mess; the majority of which, unfortunately were tests for bacterial pathogens, are not related in any way to the cause of acute organ failure which has been primarily been responsible for illness and death of dogs associated with the pet treats.

Despite the growing number of reports, the FDA has done little to quell consumer concerns that the government is capable or even fully committed to protecting their pets.  The FDA explains their inability to do so using the same, tired excuse for the products continued place on the market: they can’t recall them until they find the toxin; judging by the recent release of data of a spreadsheet outlining the testing the FDA has done since the investigation began in 2007, did little to assuage their fears or quell the growing anger and discontent with the government’s impotency.

Source: FDA Allows Pet Deaths to Mount While Awaiting Scientific Certainty, Certainty That has Eluded Them Since 2008

Related articles: Jerky treats from China blamed for pet deaths; owners sue (

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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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