The rash of pet illnesses and deaths from possibly tainted jerky treats made in China has raised questions whether federal officials are doing enough to endure imported foods are thoroughly inspected and deemed safe for humans.
More than 3,600 dogs and 10 cats were sickened or died after eating the jerky treats, however the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says it has yet to identify what in the treats made the animals sick. About 580 of the cats and dogs that fallen ill have died from health problems including kidney failure and gastrointestinal bleeding.
In an effort to identify the cause, the FDA says it would like to talk to owners of affected pets or, at the very least, their veterinarians. The baffling thing is that the agency has tested more than 1,200 jerky treats since 2011. And, agents have also visited Chinese pet food plants. Yet, there are few clues that point to the particular source of the problem.
Since 2003, the number of food products imported from China for human consumption has nearly doubled from 2.3 billion tons to 4.1 billion tons. Bloomberg asked in a recent article titled, “China Killed Your Dog. Are You Next?” the pointed question: “If the agency can’t secure the jerky treats, what guarantee is there that it can secure the 367.2 million gallons of Chinese apple juice Americans imported in 2012?”
It is a good question. Consider what has “accidentally” slipped into the United States through imported foods and goods in the past decade – lead paint on toys, faulty cribs, tainted pet food, and contaminated milk. FDA inspectors also identified manufacturing plant located in China as the source of contamination for the blood thinner heparin, which caused illnesses and deaths in the United States and other countries.