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New pet illness complaints linked to Chinese chicken jerky treats

A new record of complaints from pet owners and veterinarians submitted to federal health officials shows nearly 1,000 dogs have reportedly been sickened after eating chicken jerky treats made in China, according to a recent article.

Since November 2011, the US Food and Drug Administration has received almost 900 reports of pet illnesses and deaths. In early 2012, the agency sent inspectors to the Chinese plants that manufacture the jerky treats associated with the complaints, according to the article, but spokeswoman Tamara Ward of the Food and Drug Administration said the results of those inspections are not yet available. The administration has been unable to detect any toxin responsible for the pet illnesses, despite repeated testing, officials said.

The three brands of chicken jerky treats most frequently cited by pet owners and veterinarians in the complaints were Waggin’ Train and Canyon Creek Ranch brands, produced by Nestle Purina PetCare Co., and Milo’s Kitchen Home-style Dog Treats, produced by the Del Monte Corp. Both manufacturers have said their chicken jerky treats are safe and the pet illnesses are unrelated to the product.

However, Milo's Kitchen representatives confirmed that the company paid at least one pet owner US$100 in exchange for a release of all liability related to the pet owner's sick dog. Milo’s representatives said they provided the $100 as a “goodwill gesture” and asked that the consumer sign a “standard release form,” which is done on a case-by-case basis. The dog also underwent evaluation by a veterinarian.

“Following the evaluation, the veterinarian consultant concluded the symptoms experienced by the pet were not related to consuming Milo’s Kitchen chicken jerky treats,” said spokeswoman, Joanna DiNizio, in an email statement.

Food and Drug Administration officials have said the companies may recall the treats at any time but regulations do not allow for products to be removed based on consumer complaints alone.

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