FDA complaints about chicken jerky products


— More than a year after warning consumers about a possible link between certain chicken jerky products imported from China and illness in dogs, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) continues to receive complaints from pet owners and veterinarians claiming these products are making dogs sick.

In addition, the University of Sydney is currently investigating an association between illness in dogs and the consumption of chicken jerky after recent complaints in Australia, and one Australian firm has recalled their chicken jerky product, which the company says was manufactured in China.

In a statement released Friday afternoon, the FDA says that “the continued trend of consumer complaints coupled with the information obtained from Australia warrants an additional reminder and animal health notification.”

To date, no definitive cause has been determined for the reported illnesses. The FDA and several veterinary diagnostic laboratories in the United States continue to perform extensive chemical and microbial testing but have yet to identify a contaminant in the products.

The FDA is advising consumers who choose to feed their dogs chicken jerky products to watch their dogs closely for any or all of the following signs which may occur within hours to days of feeding the product: decreased appetite, although some may continue to consume the treats to the exclusion of other foods; decreased activity; vomiting; diarrhea, sometimes with blood; and increased water consumption and/or increased urination.

If the dog shows any of these signs, owners stop feeding the chicken jerky product. Owners should consult their veterinarian if signs are severe or persist for more than 24 hours. Urine and blood tests may be consistent with Fanconi syndrome. Although most dogs appear to recover, some reports to the FDA have involved dogs that have died.

Suspected cases should be reported to the FDA. To find the number for the FDA district office consumer complaint coordinator in your region, visit www.fda.gov/opacom/backgrounders/complain.html.

The AVMA is monitoring the situation and will provide updated information on our Web site (www.avma.org) as soon as it becomes available. Like all information on our Web site, we will only post information that is credible and has been confirmed.

For more information from the FDA, visit http://www.fda.gov/consumer/updates/jerky122408.html.

For more information, contact Michael San Filippo, AVMA media relations assistant, at 847-285-6687 (office), 847-732-6194 (cell), or msanfilippo@avma.org.
The AVMA and its more than 76,000 member veterinarians are engaged in a wide variety of activities dedicated to advancing the science and art of animal, human and public health. Visit the AVMA Web site at www.avma.org<