Will Chinese Pet Food Production Ever Be Safe?

The Chinese government has been under fire for their inability to properly control food production in Chinese factories for many years. While the government does have laws in place, they are simply not enforced. As a result, farms and factories use unsafe, illegal, and often harmful practices to improve their profits.

In 2007, Chinese pet food manufacturers were found to be purposely using a chemical additive, melamine, in their manufacturing process. Melamine, when added to pet food, gives a false appearance that the food is higher in protein, allowing manufacturers to use cheaper, low quality, low protein ingredients, but still chemically appear to have a good protein content. Over 14,000 pets became ill or died as a result. Prior to the pet food recalls, melamine was considered to have low toxicity, not harmful when consumed in small doses – clearly, this information was wrong.

In 2008, melamine again found its way into our food sources, this time in infant formula, leading to kidney stones and renal failure in the babies that were fed with the powdered milk.

In 2012, scandal again hit the Chinese food industry, when a Dongguan factory produced a mixture of cottonseed and soybean oil, but marketed and sold tons and tons of it as peanut oil. The cottonseed/soybean oil blend was deemed able to damage human reproductive cells. Earlier that year, another Chinese cooking oil manufacturer was charged with selling over 2,000 tons of used cooking oil that they had drudged from restaurant gutters, rather than new, clean, unused oil.

Now, in 2013, after nearly 6 years of investigations by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration into Chinese poultry farming and manufacturing, a contaminant has finally been found in Chinese poultry that may be responsible for the deaths of nearly 600 dogs and illnesses of thousands more in the United States. Chinese authorities for years thwarted FDA efforts to investigate poultry farms and manufacturing processes, claiming that there was nothing wrong with their chicken. One Chinese government official went so far as to write a US Congressman, cautioning him against bad-mouthing the Chinese food industry.

But now, on the heels of chicken jerky dog treat recalls by popular brands Waggin’ Train, Canyon Creek Ranch, Milo’s Kitchen, Cadet, and Hartz as well as some store brands, the Chinese government appears to finally be taking a stand.

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