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Petco in Florida, nationwide to stop selling Chinese pet treats

Last fall, we discussed reports of contaminated pet jerky treats made in China. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has been investigating Chinese jerky pet treats for seven years now to determine whether the treats are behind a range of canine illnesses, including kidney failure. Although it has not so far been able to determine what ingredient may be causing the illnesses and has not recalled any defective products, it has issued consumer warnings.

Now the FDA has released numbers that put fear in the hearts of any of our Miami readers with a four-legged family member. It announced that jerky treats, mostly Chinese imports, may be responsible for the deaths of at least 1,000 dogs. Moreover, it believes the treats may be behind 5,000 reports of illnesses in both dogs and cats as well as people.

That was enough for leading pet retailer Petco. The company has announced that it will stop selling any cat or dog treats made in China by no later than the end of the year. Petco's chief executive officer acknowledged that the FDA has not yet been able to link the treats directly to the illnesses and deaths. However, he said that "the uncertainty of the situation outweighs the lack of actual proof."

Petco isn't alone among those in the pet food industry to move away from Chinese pet treats. Milo's Kitchen no longer produces any treats in China. According to its website, its "home-style dog treats" are 100 percent "Made in the USA."

Petco's CEO noted that the company was "eager to make this transition." He summed up the reasons for the action. "Very simply, we feel this decision is in the best interest of the pets we all love and, ultimately, for our business."

Certainly, no amount of money can bring back a beloved four-legged family member. However, civil lawsuits can be a powerful incentive for those involved in producing, distributing or selling items that may be dangerous or even fatal.

Source: NBC News, "Petco to pull pet treats from China after dog deaths" Monica Alba, May. 20, 2014

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