SAN DIEGO, California – Petco announced yesterday that it will stop carrying dog and cat treats made in China at its more than 1,300 store locations nationwide and online at Petco.com by the end of 2014.
The move makes Petco the first national pet specialty retailer to take this step following precautions issued by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) regarding the consumption of jerky treats made in China.
Since 2007, and as recently as just last week, the FDA has periodically cautioned consumers about a potential link between reported illnesses in dogs and the consumption of jerky products made in China. However, the FDA has been unable to identify a direct link between the reported illnesses and the China-made treats, and has not recommended a recall of jerky products.
“We’ve been following the FDA warnings and related customer concerns closely, and we’ve been actively reducing our China-made assortment and expanding our American-made offerings for several years now,” said Jim Myers, Petco CEO. “We know the FDA hasn’t yet identified a direct cause for the reported illnesses, but we decided the uncertainty of the situation outweighs the lack of actual proof. It has taken some time and careful thought to get to this point, but we’re proud to make the change and we believe our customers will be pleased with it as well.”
The final stage of the transition will begin in September and is expected to be complete by the end of 2014, marking the end of a multi-year process in which Petco has been working with vendors and suppliers to offer more safe and healthy alternatives to treats made in China.
Pet owners looking for alternatives to China-made dog or cat treats will find a broad selection of USA-made products at Petco.
Jerky Treat Illness Symptoms
According to the FDA, within hours of eating treats sold as jerky tenders or strips made of chicken, duck, sweet potatoes and/or dried fruit, some pets have exhibited decreased appetite, decreased activity, vomiting, diarrhea (sometimes with blood or mucus), increased water consumption, and/or increased urination.
Severe cases have involved kidney failure, gastrointestinal bleeding, and a rare kidney disorder. About 60 percent of cases involved gastrointestinal illness, and about 30 percent involved kidney and urinary systems. About 15 percent of the kidney or urinary cases also tested positive for Fanconi syndrome, a rare kidney disease that has been associated with this investigation.
The remaining 10 percent of cases reported various symptoms, such as neurologic, dermatologic, and immunologic symptoms.