mystery of pet deaths related to jerky treats made in china continues to stump fda - pet manufacturing process
Andy has no appetite.
Then there is vomiting, thirst that cannot be stopped, and a constant need for urinating.
In the last few days, spunky 4-year-
The old West Highland White Terrier fainted and lost more than 10% of his weight.
"It's getting bad," said Andy's owner, Alfredo Goodall . " He is a retiree at Coral point Florida.
"I know he's in trouble.
Good and his wife sent Andy to their vet, who sent him to a clinic 15 miles away.
The doctor there sent a urine sample to a dedicated metabolic laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania.
A few days later, the test results confirmed the diagnosis: Van Cani syndrome, a rare and deadly disease that affects the kidneys.
Suspected reason: dried chicken and pet food made in China.
The incident was part of a disturbing mystery that lasted more than seven years, with at least 600 dogs reportedly dead and thousands sick.
It angered the unsuspecting pet owners, confused the Food and Drug Administration and placed production practices in the pet food industry under a microscope.
From 2007, when the FDA warned that there was a clear link between dried meat food and sick and dead dogs, FDA officials spent countless hours trying to figure out the causes behind these diseases, with little success.
The agency continues to seek leads from veterinarians and pet owners, sorting out 1,500 reports received since the fall public call for information.
Now, companies that volunteered to withdraw some snacks from the market last year are bringing the remade version back to the store shelves, although the government can't figure out why pets continue to get sick.
Bernadette Denham, director of the FDA Veterinary Center, said it was "one of the most elusive and mysterious outbreaks we 've ever encountered," and others at the agency agreed.
"We are frustrated," said Martine hartog, who oversees the FDA's ongoing investigation . ".
"This is a long and tortuous road. . . [But]
We did not give up.
"The FDA says more than 1,200 types of beef jerky have been tested in recent years to find salmonella, mold, pesticides, toxic metals, illegal antibiotics, kidney toxins and other contaminants.
Federal officials have checked factories in China that produce dried chicken products for the United States. S.
The company, and seeks input from scholars, state and university research laboratories, foreign governments and the pet food industry.
The agency even made its own beef jerky in an attempt to replicate the business process.
Still, it hasn't figured out why.
FDA investigators say the disease has a great impact on dogs, but some cats are already sick.
Most complaints involve dried chicken, but also include snacks that wrap dried chicken or dried duck meat around dried fruits, sweet potatoes or yam.
Officials say there is no clear model based on variety or geographical location --
Pets are sick in every state, Australia and other countries.
These issues don't seem specific to any particular brand or manufacturer.
Officials say the agency can only warn people of potential dangers from beef jerky until it can lock in specific toxins.
"Unless contaminants are detected and we have evidence that the product is adulterated, we can only take regulatory action," the agency said in an update . ". ”The long-
The ongoing survey shows a significant increase in the number of pet food exports from China to the United States.
According to the FDA, the number increased from 1 million in 2003 to about 86 million in 2011.
At the heart of the current survey is pet food, including beef jerky, which has quickly become
Growing share of the pet food market.
This is part of the reason for many American immigrants. S.
Industry officials say Chinese companies have been hoping to produce dried chicken in China because, unlike the United States, Chinese prefer dark meat.
This makes the white meat used in export pet food more available.
Some pet owners say FDA efforts are simply not good enough given the ongoing problems.
"It has been going on for so long, which is irritating," said Susan tikeston, who runs the website TruthAboutPetFood.
The company has repeatedly asked the agency to do more.
"If this is the death of humans, they can't find the cause for seven years, and members of Congress will yell at them.
"A clock is displayed on her website's homepage, tracking the time when beef jerky food from China killed and infected pets.
It asked: "When will the FDA stop this clock?
Statistics were 2,643 days as of Friday.
"My job is to point out that they are not doing their job," Thixton said . ".
"I have great respect for what they have to accomplish.
They have a huge responsibility, but that's one of them.
Angry pet owners have also criticized the United States. S.
Companies that continue to produce beef jerky from Chinese raw materials.
This backlash includes from doubts about the industry's assurance that such snacks never pose a risk to health, to lawsuits claiming to be harmful.
Earlier last year, Nestlé and Del Monte, two industry giants, took the initiative to withdraw several popular chicken jerky produced in China from the market after New York state agricultural officials found trace antibiotics.
These brands include Nestle Purina's Wagner Train and Canyon Creek Ranch beef jerky, as well as Milo kitchen food produced by the Del Monte Pet Food Department (
(Now known as the Big Heart Pet brand).
These companies insist that these snacks are never safe for pets and that withdrawals are preventive.
Complaints related to beef jerky fell sharply in the coming months.
But the FDA agrees with company officials that this reduction may reflect a smaller number of products on store shelves, rather than any issue involving antibiotics.
A spokeswoman for the Big Heart Pet brand said that this month, the company will launch a reformulated Milo kitchen food, which is produced in the United States and is made from domestic sources.
After the company transformed its production process and overhauled its supply chain, it also re-introduced several Waggin 'train treats, including two produced in the United States.
The company still produces dried chicken in China, but now its chicken comes from the United States. S. -
Bill Cooper, vice president of manufacturing at Nestle Purina, said he was in charge of overseeing the process "from eggs to treatment" and he declined to give the supplier's name.
He said the company now regularly tests 40 antibiotics and details the new quality control at a meeting with FDA officials.
"We have joined the strict agreement that we have made," Cooper said . " He noted that the company received few complaints even before it voluntarily withdrew last year.
"We believe our quality is the highest.
Nina Leigh Kruger, head of Wagner's train brand, said most retailers and customers welcome the snack back.
"Thousands of consumers have been calling us and asking us to return Waggin 'train treats to the market," she said . ".
Terry safrank is not one of them.
"It's an intuition to see them back on the shelves," Safranek said . " His 9-year-
Samson, an old fox dog who had eaten beef jerky, died of kidney failure in 2012.
Since then, Safranek has become a plaintiff in a category
Lawsuits against Nestlé and retailers including Target and Wal-MartMart.
She helped create animal parents who opposed Chinese-made pet food and food, and the group called on the FDA to do a better job of reminding people of the potential dangers of beef jerky food produced in Chinese factories.
Currently, on the west coast of Florida, after months of treatment, the Puppy Andy has returned to normal.
Worth about $3,500.
Restore his kidney function
"We feel very lucky," said Goodall . " He accepted the advice of many veterinarians across the country, completely avoiding the dried pet meat.
"This is probably another way.
"At the FDA, a small group of investigators, whose offices are full of beef jerky, continue to look for clues from the latest batch of reports, hoping to finally solve a mystery in seven years.
"They want to solve this problem most," said Hartogensis, an FDA official who oversees the work . ".
"I believe we will succeed.
This is a very complicated question, but we have a lot of great people doing it.
I think we're closer.