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Jerky Dog Treat Causing Illness In Pets

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — After nearly six years, the FDA hasn’t found the reason why certain dog treats are making pets sick.

More than 1,000 complaints have been filed with the FDA about chicken jerky dog treats made in China.  The government agency hasn’t recalled them and there are still a lot of stores selling them in Minnesota and across the country.

At least one Minneapolis dog owner is shocked that these treats are still on store shelves.

Nancy Hawkinson says they fed their dog Milo’s Kitchen Chicken Jerky Dog Treats.

“She was violently ill, both times, we’d given her the treats,” Hawkinson said.

In November 2011, the Food and Drug Administration issued a warning about all chicken jerky treats made in China. People reported their dogs were throwing up, not eating, and were less active, yet the FDA couldn’t pinpoint why. As a result, a recall hasn’t been issued.

According to the FDA, “Scientists have not been able to determine a definitive cause for the reported illnesses.”

Milo’s Kitchen, owned by Del Monte, claims the treats are made with “nutritious and quality ingredients” and are “safe for dogs to enjoy.”

Experts say it wouldn’t take much to make these dogs sick.

“Even low levels of contamination can represent significant problems,” said professor Shaun Kennedy, Director of the National Center for Food Protection and Defense.

So far, the answers aren’t good enough for Hawkinson. She wants stores to pull these treats from the shelves until the issue is resolved.

“If they’re making dogs sick, what other proof do you need?” Hawkinson said.

Veterinarians say it can be difficult to treat these dogs until a cause is found. Still, the FDA wants people to take their dog to the vet if the symptoms last for 24 hours.

A spokesperson for one of the chains that carries Milo’s Kitchen Chicken Jerky Dog Treats says not one single formal complaint has been filed with their stores about these treats.

Hawkinson said every time they go into the store, they tell an employee what happened to their dog.

Full statement from Del Monte:

Milo’s Kitchen™ considers the safety of pets our highest priority.  Pets are family and we are committed to providing safe, healthy and nutritious treats for dogs.  Here at Milo’s Kitchen™, we are pet parents too and we understand that the information that has been released regarding the FDA warning about chicken jerky made in China is confusing and concerning.  To clarify, all of our treats, including our Chicken Jerky variety, are made with nutritious and quality ingredients that meet the standards and specifications of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) and the Food & Drug Administration (FDA).  The health and wellness of all animals is very important to us so we have been closely monitoring external testing by the American FDA, the American Veterinarian Medical Association (AVMA) and several animal health diagnostic laboratories, none of which has identified any connection between illness and chicken jerky treats. Additionally, we at Milo’s Kitchen have conducted our own extensive internal testing, all of which has shown our Chicken Jerky to be safe for dogs to enjoy. As is the case with all foods and snacks for dogs, we encourage pet parents to read feeding instructions and to feed with confidence as directed.

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