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2015-01-22

Petco pulls pet treats from China

By Judith Pannebaker BCC Editor

On Monday, Jan. 5, Petco became the first national pet specialty retailer to stop selling dog and cat treats made in China at its more than 1,300 store locations, including Unleashed by Petco stores and online at Petco.com. The decision to remove Chinese-made pet treats from Petco shelves was announced last May.
"As a trusted partner for pet parents, we believe this is the right thing to do, and we're proud to take this step in the best interest of pets," said Petco CEO Jim Myers. "What we feed our pets matters, and this milestone supports the company's steadfast commitment to putting our customers, partners, animals and the communities we serve first."
Additionally, Petco Vice President John Sturm indicated the company now stocks treats made in the US, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Australia and South America, according to the AP. The company removed pet food made in China from its shelves several years ago.
Myers continued, "Customer response to our expanded assortment of treats has been great. And we are equally pleased at just how responsive our vendor partners have been in helping us source an entirely new line-up of high-quality, predominantly US-made treat and chew alternatives."
Pet parents looking for alternatives to Chinese-made dog or cat treats will find a broad selection of American-made products, including American Jerky, Blue Buffalo, Blue Ridge Naturals, Canidae, Colorado Naturals, Dogswell, Isle of Dog, Merrick, Natural Balance, Nature's Variety, Prairie Dog and Zuke's, among others.
Since 2007, the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has periodically cautioned consumers that a potential link may exist between reported illnesses in dogs and the consumption of jerky products from China. In fact, according to FDA documents, the agency has received approximately 4,800 reports of pet illnesses linked to the Chinese-made treats, which affected a total of 5,600 dogs, 24 cats and three people. In addition, more than 1,000 dogs have died. The majority of the cases involved gastrointestinal illnesses, but a third involved kidney failure.
However, a lengthy inquiry has failed to determine "an exact cause-and-effect" relationship between the Chinese jerky treats and ill and deceased pets, according to the FDA. Therefore, the agency has not recommended a recall of Chinese-made jerky products.
In response, Myers said, "We know the FDA hasn't yet identified a direct cause for the reported illnesses, but we decided the uncertainty of the situation outweighs the lack of actual proof. It has taken some time and careful thought to get to this point, but we're proud to make the change and we believe our customers will be pleased with it as well."
Pet owners who choose to give their pets Chinese-made jerky treats should monitor their animals for vomiting, lethargy, diarrhea and increased urination or water consumption, the FDA said. More information about reporting a pet food complaint can be found at http://www.fda.gov/petfoodcomplaints.
Meanwhile, Petco's business rival PetSmart recently announced that it would pull Chinese-made treats from its stores by March.
For more information about Petco or to find the nearest location, visit petco.com.
(Sources: Petco, FDA, The Dodo and www.lifewithdogs.tv)