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- Editor's View - Suspect jerky treats back on shelves

By Judith Pannebaker BCC Editor

Last year, Nestle Purina PetCare, makers of Waggin' Train and Canyon Creek Ranch jerky treats, and the Del Monte Corp., makers of Milo's Kitchen products, voluntarily pulled their jerky products from store shelves across the country. The manufactured-in-China treats were allegedly implicated in the deaths of 600 pets and the sickening of scores of others over the last six years.
Well, the potentially tainted chicken, duck and sweet potato treats are back on the shelves ¬- in spite of the fact that the causes of pet deaths remain undetermined and are still under "investigation." The reappearance of these items on store shelves does not mean that they have been improved. In fact, neither company has indicated that there have been any changes in the way these jerky products are prepared and manufactured.
With that in mind, red flags have gone up on Internet animal advocacy sites warning pet owners not to feed their companion animals anything manufactured in China.
And, "Made in America" emblazoned across packaging doesn't necessarily mean all ingredients in the products were made in this county. In fact, if the pet products are merely "assembled" here, the assertion "Made in America" can legally be used.
Additionally, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) recently rejected a resolution that would discourage pet owners from feeding jerky products. Despite seeming links between the treats and pet deaths, neither the AVMA nor the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will take an official stance on the products. These agencies and organizations have categorically elected not to err on the side of caution and protect consumers and their companion animals.
So, just because these jerky treats are back on the shelves, don't assume it is safe to feed them to your pets. Nothing has changed - nothing, that is, except that "They're baaaaack!"
Bottom line is this: Don't feed your pets anything manufactured in China! If the Chinese can put antifreeze in toothpaste, melamine in baby formula and toxic waste, including lead, bromine, chlorine, cadmium, arsenic, tin, phthalates and mercury, in Mardi Gras beads, imagine what they consider acceptable for introducing into pet treats!
If your pups are wild for jerky treats as are mine, prepare your own. It's quick and easy and dehydrated poultry jerky you've made yourself won't kill your pets or cause irreversible kidney damage.
Jerky Treats
Buy some boneless chicken or turkey breasts, clean, pound the meat as thin as possible, using a rolling pin or meat tenderizer mallet. Then slice the meat into long, thin strips. Place strips on a greased or non-stick cookie sheet and bake them for at least three hours at a low oven temp - 180º F should do it. The low temp dries the chicken out slowly, allowing the strips to be chewy, just the way dogs like them.
After the strips cool, store them in plastic bags or another airtight container. They can also be frozen.