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Retailers Slow to Respond to Chicken Jerky Treat Recalls, Publix Added to List of Recalled Treats

sick dog sleeping

Stores across the nation today are still carrying recalled pet treats, three days after Waggin’ Train, Canyon Creek Ranch, Milo’s Kitchen and Cadet brand chicken jerky treats announced their withdrawal following the discovery of multiple illegal drug residues by the New York State Department of Agriculture Wednesday. The federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) website has yet to publish the recall notices, delaying the urgency of the recalls.

One retailer, Walgreens, reportedly refuses to respond to the recalls until the FDA publishes the recall notices.

Another Recall Follows

A fourth brand, Publix, announced a recall of their private label brand, Publix Chicken Tenders Dog Chew Treats, of chicken jerky pet treats for the same reason as the other recently recalled brands: illegal drug residue.

Additional pet treat brands that import chicken from China are likely to follow in the coming days and weeks ahead.

Pet treat manufacturers insist that the discovery of the illegal drug residues is insignificant and therefore unlikely to be the cause of the illness and death of thousands of reported adverse events.

Sulfonamide Hypersensitivity

Research has revealed that sulfonamide drug residue can cause severe allergy in dogs. Dogs, in particular, are the only non-human species that are vulnerable to sulfonamide hypersensitivity.

Symptoms of sulfonamide hypersensitivity can cause many of the same symptoms that consumers and veterinarians have reported in dogs that were fed treats contaminated with sulfonamides.

Only 3% of the general population are hypersensitive to sulfonamides, explaining the random nature of dogs affected by the treats.

Two Types of Hypersensitivity

Veterinary researchers believe that there are two distinct types of sulfonamide hepersensitivity to sulfonamide antimicrobials: One that cause a delayed-onset, hypersensitivity-type syndrome characterized by fever, skin rash and multi-organ toxicity, including hepatotoxicity, polyarthritis and blood dyscrasias, occurring 7 to 14 days after exposure to sulfonamides. Sulfonamides are known to cause delayed-onset hypersensitivity syndrome in dogs. The delayed onset, observed in humans and dogs are consistent with an immune-mediated pathogenesis. This syndrome is frequently called the “sulfonamide hypersensitivity reaction”. It appears to be clinically distinct from the sulfonamide allergy (immediate hypersensitivity reaction), which is rapid in onset.

An Association Established

By definition, an association, not a causal relationship, between the drug residues found on the chicken treats and the random nature of illness present in some dogs and not in others points to a statistically significant relationship between the contaminated treats and the 3% of dogs hypersensitive to sulfonamides. Yet, it may be enough for consumers, whose dogs were victims of this contaminant, to win multimillion-dollar legal settlements against the U.S. pet food importers.

Perhaps now, after so many years of painful publicity about the imported pet treats and the illness and death of thousands of dogs in the U.S., the time has come for consumers take legal action against the companies responsible for allowing contaminated products to poison pets. For years companies and government officials have claimed they tested for all manner of contaminates, yet how a commonly know illegal drug residues managed to remain undetected for so long, points to a troubling failure in the food safety system.

From Here to China

A report in the NYT today, A Cancer Cycle, From Here to China, describes the tragedy of global toxins present in the environment and in products describes blue jeans sold in U.S. made with a highly toxic aniline-based indigo dye, “They’re made in China, and they’re cheap — if you don’t count the long-term cost.


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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.