What You May Not Know About the Safety of Chicken Jerky Treats

What You May Not Know About the Safety of Chicken Jerky Treats

For years we have relied on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to set guidelines and standards for our food safety in the United States. While they have implemented some rules for pet food, they haven’t set any that pertain to pet treats. That means that tainted pet treats can be (and currently are being) sold in stores. Out of our own frustration and infuriation, we’re digging more into the matter to help you learn what exactly is going on and how you can keep your animals safe.

We all dread hearing those few words spreading through the media: “Pet Food Recall” along with “symptoms and complications.” And yet it happens all too often.

For years we have relied on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to set guidelines and standards for our food safety in the United States. While they have implemented some rules for pet food, they haven’t set any that pertain to pet treats. That means that tainted pet treats can be (and currently are being) sold in stores. Out of our own frustration and infuriation, we’re digging more into the matter to help you learn what exactly is going on and how you can keep your animals safe.

How the FDA Has Failed to Protect Pets from Tainted Chicken Jerky Treats

The FDA’s Current Guidelines

A few years back the FDA’s role in food recalls was updated under “The Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011.” Under this update, the explanation “that at anytime the FDA identifies a food for people or animals that can cause serious and or adverse health consequences/death it must be removed and signs must be posted at cash registers informing consumers about said recall.”

But with that understanding, why has the FDA not implemented a full recall on the imported chicken jerky treats that have been causing our canine and feline companions serious illnesses and even death?!

As of June 2014, the FDA has cited well over 5,000 reports regarding serious health issues and deaths of our animal companions that have eaten imported chicken jerky treats from China. Well over 1,800 reports have been tallied since October 2013 and the FDA has been investigating since 2007!!

The main symptoms of illness caused by tainted chicken jerky treats seem to be associated with gastrointestinal illnesses. They include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Kidney failure

The FDA has stated that these illnesses are linked to multiple brands of chicken jerky treats, for all of which the common denominator is IMPORTED FROM CHINA. While they recognize this serious concern, the FDA won’t instate a recall because they claim that chicken jerky treats are just that, a treat, and not food intended for daily dietary purposes.

Can We Trust the FDA to Implement Change Anytime Soon?

The NYSDAM (New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets) have done their own testing and reported to the FDA that they found four unapproved drugs and one antibiotic in imported chicken jerkytreats. The FDA responded by saying that while there are low levels of antibiotics and antiviral drugs found in their tests, there are not enough to cause harm. I guess we are to assume all is well...

For years, we unknowingly ingested medications and contaminants through our water supply that went unnoticed based on our trust in “the system.” (This subject alone could be its own blog post rant.) Now we are once again being told, “Oh, it’s okay. A little won’t hurt.” But how do you explain that to the guardians and companions of all those pets who have fallen ill or passed away due to “that trace amount”? There should be NO trace amounts in our food! Real food should be just that “REAL.”  

The Effects of No Regulation: Tainted Treats Are Back on the Shelves

Two big companies have voluntarily removed their products from shelves, but only for a short period of time. Unfortunately, some of these products back on the market now. I’ve looked online and found that most of these products are back for sale at Amazon, PetSmart, Target, Walmart, and Menards. I’m sure there are plenty more stores willing to carry these products to make money. Nestle Purina and Del Monte’s pet line, which now goes by the name “Big Heart Pet Brands”, are the top two companies being reported.

The most well-known chicken treats that were pulled were:

  • Milo’s Kitchen Chicken Jerky Treats
  • Milo’s Chicken Grillers
  • Waggin’ Train Chicken Jerky Treats
  • Canyon Creek Ranch Chicken Treats

So, Is It Safe to Feed Pets Chicken Jerky Treats?

YES... but now more than ever, it’s important to know who is making them, where they are being made, and where their ingredients come from. It is up to us to read the labels and ask questions. If you still have questions about a treat, call the company and ask them!

Safe Chicken Jerky Treats for Dogs and Cats

At The Pet Beastro, we supply chicken jerky treats from three great companies: BIXBI, Earth Animal, and Tucker’s. These companies care about the ingredients they use, including where they are sourced. All are made and sourced in the USA and/or Canada. The chickens being used are made in human-grade facilities and are free of:

  • Chemicals and preservatives
  • Antibiotics and steroids
  • Confined, caged living conditions

The ingredients in their treats are “REAL” and simple:

  • Tucker’s chicken jerky treats are hand rolled in Wisconsin. They come in four delicious flavors (classic chicken, chicken with bacon, chicken with apple, and chicken with banana) with new flavors coming soon. Purchase them from us online here at FidoDogTreats.com.
  • BIXBI is based out of Colorado. They only sell their treats through independent pet specialty stores, not big retailers. They have three formulas of chicken jerky treats to enhance our pets’ well-being (Daily Essentials, Skin & Coat, and Hip & Joint). They are available in beef, pork, and salmon flavors. Purchase them from us online here at FidoDogTreats.com.
  • Earth Animal is a family-based company from Connecticut. Their chicken jerky is unique in that they use a marinade of essential vitamins and antioxidants that are brushed on with olive oil to stick to the treat’s only other ingredient: chicken breast. Their formulas include Soothing, Calming, Energy, Vigor, Agility, Trim, Youth, Fresh, and Shiny Coat. Purchase them from us online here at FidoDogTreats.com.

Conclusion

Global trade and outsourcing are a part of our lives now. While we need to accept that there are different lifestyles and food conditions outside of our country, we must pay closer attention to the food and products that we purchase for ourselves and our animals. It’s crucial that we read product labels and know what is coming and going in and out of our environment.

Our companions are our family and we are blessed to be able to share a life with them. Please take the same time and care in selecting the products, food, and treats that you give them that you would take for yourself. Remember our motto:

Feed Better.

Feel Healthier.

Live Longer.
Sources are from FDA, NBC News, Dr. Becker w/Mercola

Websites: tuckersbones.com, bixbipet.com and  earthanimal.com

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