Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Chinese Poultry Products Investigated by FDA for Pet Illnesses

There has been a problem with Chinese poultry products and they are prohibited from exporting them to the US for human consumption, although there was no ban on pet foods. Numerous dogs were sickened by the chicken jerky treats from China. I am all for free trade, but with the tainted food from China, I am none to eager to have the US import their poultry for human (and pet!) consumption until it can be deemed safe.

Dr. Sakas

From DVM Magazine

Inspection of Chinese poultry-processing plants may signal opening for imported poultry for human consumption
FDA continues to investigate pet illnesses associated with Chinese chicken products.

The export of poultry from China to the United States is currently banned--past food safety concerns, bird flu outbreaks, even the frequent turnover of Chinese officials involved in negotiations, are cited as reasons for the continued ban. However, reports indicate officials from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) are scheduled to inspect Chinese poultry-processing plants in late January or early February in an apparent step toward lifting the ban.

Although banned from exporting chicken for human consumption in the United States, China is allowed to export chicken for pet food. Since 2007, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has conducted extensive testing on chicken jerky treats consumers claim are harming pets. According to the FDA, as of Dec. 17, 2012, it has received 2,674 reports involving 3,243 dogs, including 501 deaths, and nine cats, including one death.

Much to the dismay of effected pet owners, the FDA has yet to indentify a contaminant or cause for illnesses associated with chicken imported from China and therefore will not enact a recall. It has issued a warning to pet owners of the possible dangers of feeding pets products such as Nestle’s Waggin’ Train and Canyon Creek Ranch brands and Del Monte’s Milo’s Kitchen Home-style Dog Treats. Presently, Milo’s Kitchen’s Chicken Jerky and Chicken Grillers treats are voluntarily recalled due to trace amounts of residual antibiotics.

Politically, the planned inspections could relax tense trade relations between the countries embattled in negotiations for the past seven years. China is anxious to import poultry, as the United States is interested in reversing China’s 2003 ban on American beef. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, representing U.S. ranchers and beef producers, estimated last year the U.S. could be exporting $200 million of beef to China per year if the ban was lifted.

However, it seems there won’t be one ban lifted without the other.

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