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As thousands of dog owners report severe illness and death related to Chinese chicken jerky dog treats, Chinese government officials are refusing to allow the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to pull samples and run laboratory tests on their products.
NBC News reported that FDA officials visited four separate chicken jerky manufacturing plants in China last month, expecting to pull samples for FDA and independent testing on US soil. But, Chinese officials are stipulating that samples can only be retrieved if they are tested by Chinese-run testing facilities, not brought back to the United States.
Investigators were sent for several days to each of four plants: Gambol Pet Products Co. Ltd.; Shandong Honva Food Co. Ltd.; and Shandong Petswell Food Co. Ltd., all in Liaocheng, China, and Jinan Uniwell Pet Food Co. Ltd. in Jinan, China. The plants visited in July all manufacture the chicken jerky treats sold by Nestle Purina PetCare Co., including the popular Waggin’ Train and Canyon Creek Ranch brands.
Dennis L. Doupnik, an FDA investigator who visited the manufacturing facilities, wrote in his inspection report that “no samples were collected during this inspection” as a result of the Chinese requirements.
In addition, the reports showed that the Chinese plants conducted either no laboratory tests or only sporadic tests of the raw materials, including meat used in treats fed to many of the 78.2 million pet dogs in the U.S.
The FDA found no significant violations and issued no citations, but warned plant owners about problems that included broken supports on metal screens, a torn gasket door on a mixer and failure to file proper paperwork to list actual treat manufacturers instead of shippers or brokers in FDA records.
Doupnik also added, “I was informed that FDA would not be allowed to ship any samples outside of China for testing in an FDA laboratory due to the issue of national sovereignty among other reasons.”
“It’s hard to believe the FDA would send a team of inspectors over to China without first getting a guarantee that they could bring samples back,” said Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, who has been tracking the jerky problem. “They’re doing nothing of consequence. The FDA’s tone-deaf on this one.”
Kucinich believes that the plants’ refusal to allow sampling should be enough for the FDA to issue a recall and halt all imports of these products. The Dogington Post agrees completely.
Despite the factories’ refusal to allow sampling, no FDA alerts or import refusals have been issued. But, Tamara N. Ward, an FDA spokeswoman, says that the FDA have increased surveillance of chicken jerky products entering the U.S.
In other words, the FDA is not one step closer to determining the cause of some 2,000 reports of illness and death in US dogs that were fed the dangerous chicken jerky treats.