Jerky Treat Recall in U.S. – Pet foods NOT REGULATED in Canada – Read on…

January 15th, 2013 by Daniel Mudrick

Update on Jerky Treats

Many of you heard about the voluntary recall of chicken jerky treats in the U.S. last week. Here’s a Q & A breakdown of the most recent developments in the ongoing investigation:

Q: There were reports of a recall in the news last week, what happened?

A: During the ongoing investigation into pet illnesses and deaths related to the consumption of jerky treats made in China, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found that specific chicken jerky treat products held trace amounts of antibiotic residue. The specific antibiotic they detected is not approved in the U.S.  In correspondence with the FDA, Nestle Purina (Waggin’ Train and Canyon Creek Ranch brands) and Del Monte (Milo’s Kitchen Chicken Jerky Treats and Chicken Grillers brands) voluntarily recalled their jerky treat products across the United States.

Q: Were these products recalled in Canada?

A: There has been no formal recall of any jerky treat products in Canada by the CFIA or by Nestle Purina or Del Monte.  Costco Canada chose to voluntarily recall the above mentioned products from their Canadian stores. In a statement to CBC News, Costco said it made the decision even though Canadian regulations, “..are not the same as the U.S regarding residual antibiotics in pet food.”

Q: Is Costco the only Canadian retailer to pull these products from the shelves?

A: No other retailers in Canada have chosen to remove these products from their shelves, they are (as of Jan. 14) still available for purchase at a variety of retail stores across Canada.


Q: Are there any other brands affected by the voluntary recall in the U.S.?

A: Cadet brand jerky treats have also voluntarily recalled their chicken jerky treats due to antibiotic residue.  Other American brands have also voluntarily recalled their products due to antibiotic residue but they are only distributed in specific US states and do not affect Canada.

Q: Is antibiotic residue what’s making pets ill from eating jerky treats?

A: The FDA specifically noted in its report (see link to report below): “…there is no evidence that raises health concerns, and these results are highly unlikely to be related to the reports of illnesses the FDA has received related to jerky pet treats.”

Q: I heard that glycerin added to the jerky treats may be part of the problem?

A: Another issue that has come to light during the FDA investigation is that one of the manufacturing plants in China was found to have falsified documents about the type of glycerin used in the manufacturing of jerky treats. Although food grade glycerin/glycerol is used in thousands of foods and products and is considered safe, the falsified reports indicated the glycerin used was food grade when in fact it was industrial grade.  According to the FDA (see link to report below) the plant officials have since been penalized and the issue has been rectified.  The report made no link between this finding and illness in pets.

Q: Why haven’t we heard anything from the CFIA?

A: The CFIA has not recalled anything in Canada nor are they investigating this issue because pet food is not regulated in Canada. 

Please see the following FDA updates for more information:

FDA report explaining antibiotic residue findings

FDA Inspection information re: glycerin

Q: What is food grade glycerin used for?

A: Glycerin or glycerol is a form of alcohol popular in the food industry, used for its sweet taste and as an ideal alternative for common table sugar without raising blood sugar levels. Because is it non-toxic, glycerin is usually added in food, syrups, ointments, and medicines. Its antiseptic quality makes it a good preservative.

Before packaging, raisins in cereal were soaked in glycerol to maintain their chewiness. Furthermore, glycerin increases plasticity of meat casings and food wrappings.

Q: Is industrial grade glycerin responsible for the reported illness in pets that consumed the jerky treats?

A: The FDA has not indicated that industrial grade glycerin was the cause of illnesses reported in pets that consumed jerky treats.

Q: What should I advise my clients about feeding these treats to their pets?

A: Given the ongoing findings in this investigation, and the lack of conclusive evidence about what is making pets sick, pet owners should be cautious about feeding these treats to their animals. Jerky treats are not a necessary part of a pets’ diet and there are many other treat alternatives available. The investigation into jerky treats and pet illness is ongoing.

Q: What should I do if I want to report a suspected case?

A: If you have questions about the ongoing investigation or would like to report a case, please refer to the FDA’s Safety Reporting Portal at: http://1.usa.gov/X8HCjW

About Daniel Mudrick

I'm the owner and founder of Clarkson Village Animal Hospital, a state-of-the-art veterinary hospital that's open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Clarkson Village Animal Hospital has always been a dream of mine, and by caring for one patient at a time, the hospital has continued to grow. During those rare times when I'm not at the hospital, I'm at yoga, hiking, gardening, and spending time with my family. I also enjoy reading to stay current on the most recent advances in veterinary medicine.

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