Pet-treat ingredients from China? FDA can’t say
WASHINGTON — Sen. Sherrod Brown said he’s worried that pet products labeled as coming from the United States actually contain hazardous ingredients from China.
The concerns stem from reports of the death of 1,000 dogs linked to pet treats made in China.
As of May 1, the FDA has received some 4,800 reports of pet illnesses involving kidney problems, convulsions and gastrointestinal distress. Because of those reports, pet-food chains PetSmart and Petco announced that they plan to stop selling all dog and cat treats made in China.
Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio
At a hearing of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China yesterday, Brown grilled officials from the FDA about whether the labeling of so-called “Made in the USA” pet products was accurate. While the United States does not permit raw-chicken imports from China, the USDA last year approved allowing chicken slaughtered elsewhere to be processed in China and then sent to the United States. (. . .oh, my Gawd. . .Jan)
“While no such chicken has entered our shores yet, it’s possible that very soon this processed chicken could end up on our dinner tables and in our school lunchrooms,” Brown said.
The Ohio Democrat said he’s also concerned that a recent outbreak of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus in the United States might be linked to pet food produced in China. Shaun Kennedy, an associate professor of veterinary medicine at the University of Minnesota, said food produced in China has been implicated in the outbreak, though it’s still being investigated.
Tracey Forfa, deputy director of the Center for Veterinary Medicine at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, said the FDA continued to investigate the outbreak of canine illnesses. Tests so far have been inconclusive, although the FDA has tested for everything including salmonella, pesticide contamination, antibiotic contamination and mold.
She urged pet owners to consider avoiding the treats. “Eliminating will not harm” pets, she said.
But Brown wondered whether avoidance was enough. He held up a package of dog treats described as made in the United States. “Do you know enough to be able to say all of the ingredients come from the United States?” he asked.
Forfa could not say yes.
“We work very hard to ensure that the American pet-food supply is safe,” she said.