NestlÃ© Purina has announced plans to reintroduce its Waggin' Train dog jerky treats in February, along with a sister brand. The product was voluntarily pulled from production in 2013 due to regulatory inconsistencies between countries, according to the company.
Pending federal lawsuits against NestlÃ© Purina (and competitor Del Monte Corp.) from customers are related to concerns about treat safety, but the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in an extended investigation has found no conclusive findings on the link between the China-made chicken treats and pet illnesses. NestlÃ© Purina says that their treats have always been safe for pets. "It was always safe to feed, and we are very confident with these products," said Nina Leigh Krueger, president of Waggin' Train. "We definitely believe in this brand, and we feel like there is good growth potential for the company."
Waggin' Train now contracts with a single-source, U.S.-based supplier for raw materials at a newly built facility in China and has its own in-house inspectors on site, according to NestlÃ© Purina's Vice President of Manufacturing Bill Cooper. "We certainly had very stringent testing prior to the withdrawal, but we've enhanced that," Cooper said. "We've also met with the FDA on several occasions to go through our testing," said Cooper. "We are confident the quality controls are better than anyone else's manufacturing jerky treats."
The company said it's bringing Waggin' Train back due to consumer demand. The product lineup has been pared down from about 30 products to its current offerings: Chicken Jerky Tenders made in China, and two U.S.-made products, Jerky Duos and Smoky Jerky Snacks.