Pet Owners Need to Be Cautious Buying Jerky Treats - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Pet Owners Need to Be Cautious Buying Jerky Treats

Updated: Oct 28, 2013 10:32 PM

The federal Food and Drug Administration continues to investigate a growing number of pet illnesses and deaths related to chicken, duck, and dried fruit jerky treats from China. But, even as the experts work to track down the exact source, we are being urged to use caution when buying pet treats.

There are still a lot of questionable products on the shelves here in the QCA.

The FDA isn't requiring any specific products to be recalled at this point because the illnesses have not been linked to specific brands.

But, we checked out the products being offered at stores across the Quad Cities today, and every single one we went to had at least one thing on its shelves that raised red flags.

At least a few places we looked at have taken Chinese-made chicken jerky off their shelves now, including the Walmart in Silvis.

All of the chicken jerky treats available there are American-made.

That said, they did have a bacon jerky for sale that was made in China, and chicken was the second ingredient listed on that.

We found the same situation at another Walmart in Davenport.

Walmart's corporate office offered the following statement:

"At Walmart, we are committed to providing our customers and their pets with safe and affordable foods. We have been in contact with the FDA regarding their on-going investigation of this situation... Walmart requires all suppliers, including suppliers of pet treats, to be in compliance with all federal, state and local regulations and follow Good Manufacturing Practices established by the FDA. Should you have additional questions about the specific brand of treat you have purchased we would recommend you contact the supplier directly and they can provide you with information about their product."

At the Target in Davenport, we found one chicken jerky-style product that was made in China, Happy Hips with glucosomine and condroiten.

That same product was also available next store at the Petsmart, although all other varieties of jerky treat made by Happy Hips that was available there was made in America. In fact, just about every jerky treat in that store was American-made. We found a couple products that were made in Thailand.

But, across the river at a Jewel-Osco we went to in Moline, we found chicken jerky from China on the shelf, right next to a product made here in the USA.

And, at the Hyvee in Bettendorf, while all of the chicken jerky was clearly marked "Made in the USA", we did find chicken-wrapped bananas that were made in China. Those are exactly the kind of jerky-wrapped fruit treats the FDA is warning about.

Shoppers we talked to on Monday say they're not happy those kinds of products are still available.

"They need to get rid of them immediately. Our doggies are our babies and our families so we don't want to feed them anything bad that could hurt them," said Dalila Neff, who lives in Bettendorf.

"We won't buy them. We always look. If it's made in China, we skip it," said Richard Thomas, a Davenport resident with two dogs, including a service dog.

The bottom line is that every consumer needs to keep a close eye on what they're buying. Read the fine print and only buy products you trust.

The FDA is urging pet owners to be cautious about providing jerky treats. And, they remind pet owners that treats are not a necessary part of a pet's balanced diet.

The FDA says pet owners should also be aware that manufacturers are not required to list the country of origin for the ingredients used in their pet treat products.