(CBS) – Four Chinese plants that produce chicken jerky treats sold by American companies have refused to allow Federal Drug Administration investigators to take samples for analysis despite complaints from pet owners, according to an NBC report.
The treats have been linked to potentially fatal vomiting diarrhea and kidney failure, and have been reported in hundreds of complaints to the FDA by pet owners. The complaints about the dog treats date back to 2007, but concerns have skyrocketed in the past year.
The plants make pet treats sold Nestle Purina PetCare Co., including the Waggin’ Train jerky brands.
FDA scientists have been unable to pinpoint the specific toxin responsible for the illnesses, and the new report indicates that inspectors did not collect any samples after factory officials made demands which included testing in Chinese laboratories.
The FDA has said it can’t legally recall a product based on complaints alone.
Several pet stores have previously told CBS 5 that they were aware of the questions surrounding chicken jerky but stood by their brand-name products and the testing each receives. PetCO, Pet Smart, Nestle Purina and Del Monte Corp. all pointed out the FDA has not determined any link between the dog illnesses and chicken jerky products from China, nor has there been any recall by the FDA.
A 2011 warning by the FDA also notes the chicken jerky products should not be substituted for a balanced diet, are intended to be fed occasionally in small quantities, and that illnesses reported may be the result of causes other than eating chicken jerky. The agency also has compiled a list of answers to frequently asked questions about the jerky treats.
Pet owners can submit complaints to the FDA at fda.gov/petfoodcomplaints.
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