By Dr. Becker
According to NBCNews.com and other sources, the Hartz Mountain Corp. is withdrawing 20,000 packages of Hartz Chicken Chews and Hartz Oinkies Pig Skin Twists Wrapped with Chicken from U.S. store shelves due to contamination concerns.
The contaminant? Trace amounts of the same illegal antibiotic residue found in Waggin’ Train and Canyon Creek Ranch jerky treats made by Nestle Purina PetCare, and Milo’s Kitchen products by the Del Monte Corp. The drugs are approved for use in China, but not in the U.S.
Publix Stores and IMS Pet Industries, Inc. Also Recall Jerky Treats
Officials of Hartz Mountain Corp., headquartered in Secaucus, NJ, told NBCNews.com they were not contacted by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets (NYSDAM), the agency that discovered the antibiotic residue in the previously recalled treats. Rather, they said they conducted independent laboratory tests after learning of the NYSDAM findings, and discovered antibiotic residue in about a third of the treats submitted for testing.
The antibiotics involved are the same unapproved drugs found in the Nestle Purina and Del Monte products: sulfaclozine, tilmicosin, trimethoprim, enrofloxacin and sulfaquinoxaline. As I reported in an article a few weeks ago, four of the drugs are not approved for use in U.S. poultry. The fifth is legal to use, but quantities are strictly limited.
In addition to the Hartz products recall, Publix stores pulled its store brand Chicken Tenders Dog Chew Treats, and IMS Pet Industries, Inc. voluntarily recalled its Cadet Brand Chicken Jerky Treats.
According to NBCNews.com, FDA officials believe that the antibiotic residues found in all the chicken jerky pet treats “pose no health threat to pets or humans.”
Further, the FDA continues to maintain (as do Nestle Purina PetCare and DelMonte Corp.) there is no connection between the problem of antibiotic residue and the ongoing investigation into deaths and illnesses of dogs and cats linked to chicken jerky pet treats made in China.
Is This Just the Beginning?
For an interesting and informative review of Chinese pet food imports and their regulation by the FDA, read Susan Thixton’s article at Truth about Pet Food.
According to Thixton’s research, Hartz Mountain buys treats from Yantai Aska Foods Co, Ltd, which is one of the manufacturing plants the FDA visited last April as part of its investigation into chicken jerky pet treats made in China. Yantai Aska Foods also sells pet treats to a variety of other importers, but which companies ultimately package and sell the treats to U.S. consumers can’t be determined by reviewing the inspection records the FDA has made public.
Thixton is of the opinion the FDA is in possession of a seven-page document that lists all the U.S. private label brands manufactured by Yantai Aska Foods. Whether other pet treat products on that list are also being tested for contaminants is anyone’s guess. It’s possible more manufacturer recalls of pet treats are on the horizon. Or not. Both scenarios are cause for concern.
Once again … PLEASE be very careful in selecting treats for your pet. I recommend you buy only products made in the U.S., with ingredients sourced in the U.S., or make your own treats at home.