Ever since I was a puppy, I loved to visit PetSmart. It’s like Toys R Us for dogs. You get to see all the latest toys and when you walk in the food aisle, it sure makes my mouth water. The people in Pet Smart love all kinds of critters and sometimes…their love for dogs is more than their love for making money for PetSmart.
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“Don’t buy that!” one of the PetSmart workers whispered to my dog parent. “It’s made in China. You see what Pet Smart does? They take a product that’s dangerous and package it so it looks healthy and natural. Don’t buy that. Buy this instead.”
Well my dog parent learned to trust the people in Pet Smart. So when he got a coupon in his email for Dentley’s products wondered, were Dentley’s products made in China?
He went to the Dentley’s website and was in for a surprise. Dentley’s are exclusively sold at PetSmart. And no where on the Dentley’s site did it list where the product was made or sourced.
So the first thing he did was to Tweet @petsmart and asked them: “Are Dentley’s products made or sourced in China?” You see, sometimes a product says “Made in the USA” but the product ingredients come from China.
They ignored him.
So he tweeted them again.
They ignored him again.
Hey, this could be fun.
So he sent a letter to PetSmart’s PR department and asked them a simple question: Are Dentley’s products made or sourced in China.
They sent back a confusing email:
Are all Dentley’s products made or sourced in China?
Dentley’s products are sourced from multiple countries, including the United States, Brazil, China, Columbia, Ecuador, India, Mexico and Thailand. This diversity in sourcing helps us ensure that we provide pet parents with high-quality products at reasonable prices. All of our suppliers pass a rigorous audit process which includes both raw material testing and finished goods testing. Additionally, all Dentley’s rawhide products carry a guaranteed analysis and an ingredient panel on the label.
Let me translate that for you. Yes, we get products from China and other places. We do this because it’s cheap.
Now it’s pretty shocking to a little puppy like me to have my favorite store selling products that can harm me.
Here’s what the FDA said:
Since 2007, the FDA has become aware of increasing numbers of illnesses in pets associated with the consumption of jerky pet treats. The majority of complaints involve chicken jerky (treats, tenders, and strips), but others include duck, sweet potato, and treats where chicken or duck jerky is wrapped around dried fruits, sweet potatoes, or yams.
The FDA has received approximately 2,200 reports of pet illnesses which may be related to consumption of the jerky treats. The majority of the complaints involve dogs, but cats also have been affected. Over the past 18 months the reports have contained information on 360 canine deaths and one feline death. There does not appear to be a geographic pattern to the case reports. Cases have been reported from all 50 states and 6 Canadian provinces in the past 18 months.
Although the FDA has been actively investigating the reports of illnesses, no definitive cause has been determined. The ongoing global investigation is complex, multifaceted and includes a wide variety of experts at the FDA including toxicologists, epidemiologists, veterinary researchers, forensic chemists, microbiologists, field investigators and senior agency officials.
In the past 10 years, there has been a dramatic increase in importation of pet food from China. Human consumption of poultry in China largely consists of dark meat, leaving a large amount of light meat poultry products available for export. From 2003, when China first approached the USDA about poultry exports, to 2011, the volume of pet food exports (regulated by the FDA) to the United States from
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Furthermore, the FDA has said:
Are there specific brands we should be concerned about?
No specific products have been recalled because a definitive cause has not been determined. The FDA continues to actively investigate the problem and its origin. If the FDA identifies the cause, the agency will take appropriate action and notify the public.
Why aren’t these products being taken off the market?
There is nothing preventing a company from conducting a voluntary recall. It is important to understand that unless a contaminant is detected and we have evidence that a product is adulterated, we are limited in what regulatory actions we can take. The regulations don’t allow for products to be removed based on complaints alone. This is an ongoing investigation and FDA will notify the public if a recall is initiated. Currently, FDA continues to urge pet owners to use caution with regard to jerky pet treat products.
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Did you note those words we marked in Bold? There is nothing preventing a company from conducting a voluntary recall.
You would think that a company like PetSmart who knows how much our dog parents love us would stop sourcing their products in China. But their response was:
To date, the FDA has identified no toxins that could cause illnesses in dogs. Information from both the FDA and product manufacturers- including required or voluntary recalls- is reviewed swiftly and any recommended enhancements or changes to our business practices specific to a product are implemented immediately. PetSmart will continue to monitor all sources of information and will take action if necessary.
Here’s the way I see it. PetSmart knows how much our dog parents love us. They could easily find products that aren’t made or sourced in China. But as long as the FDA doesn’t order them to do it, you can expect to see products made or sourced in China in PetSmart.
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And to us, that means PetSmart is really Pet Stupid!
Do you think PetSmart should continue to produce and sell food products made in China?
Do you think Dentley’s should clearly label their products if they come from China?
Do pet parents have a right to know where the products they give their babies are made?
Please add your comments below.