I’m more than furious. A recent statement from FDA’s Dr. Dan McChesney tells us the FDA receives 40 complaints per week – on a slow week – of sick or dying pets related to the jerky treats imported from China. Further, the article that quotes Dr. McChesney seems to say pet owners are simply over reacting about jerky treats imported from China; and as well states journalists and pet bloggers are misinformed.
The Pet Food Industry website (organization that caters to the pet food industry and suppliers of the industry) posted an article about how social media continues to talk of the concerns surrounding chicken jerky from China. Within this article, is a quote from Dr. Dan McChesney of FDA’s Center for Veterinary Management.
Quoting from the article are the words of our Dr. McChesney –
“On average, about 40 complaints regarding chicken jerky are filed every week when there is little to no press coverage occurring,” he said. “The number of reports per week raises drastically whenever the media turns it’s attention to the issue, however.”
Another quote from the article: “Are pet parents merely being pushed into panic mode by a bombardment of misinformed bloggers and journalists?”
Can you hear me screaming?
“Forty complaints a week without press coverage.” That’s 2,080 complaints in one year – when the media and those pesky bloggers aren’t warning the public. That could easily escalate to more than 3,000 complaints in one year with media reports.
That’s not what the FDA told us in September 2012 . Back in September the FDA stated they have received “only 2,200 reports of pet illnesses which may be related to consumption of the jerky treats” in five years of FDA investigating these treats. (Note they used the words “only 2,200 reports”.) Did the FDA mislead pet parents with their September 2012 statement? Did the FDA release low numbers of reports of sick or dead pets related to the jerky treats to intentionally calm the furry of concerned petsumers?
“Forty complaints a week without press coverage” and there has been no recall? How many pets need to die or suffer significant kidney damage for FDA to take this seriously?
“Forty complaints a week without press coverage” and these treats remain on store shelves in every major retail chain and every big box pet food store!
2,200 reports of sick pets in five years remains nothing to dismiss. These numbers alone should have demanded the treats be recalled or pulled from shelves out of precaution. Using Dr. McChesney’s “on average” slow week of 40 complaints, it is absurd nothing has been done thus far. Nothing from FDA, nothing from the importers/manufacturers, nothing from retailers.
Dr. McChesney continues –
“Some cases are not substantiated, while other pets may have been affected but their owners never complained or associated a pet’s problem with the treats, Dr. McChesney noted. In any case, he concedes there’s clearly an apparent issue with chicken jerky treats.”
Isn’t that nice of Dr. McChesney; he “concedes” there’s an apparent issue with chicken jerky treats from China.
The following email was sent to Dr. McChesney today (11/17/12)…
I am writing to you regarding your statement to the Pet Food Institute and Feed Industry Joint Conference last month referencing the jerky treats imported from China.
For starters, your statement (quoted from the PetFoodIndustry.com blog): “On average, about 40 complaints regarding chicken jerky are filed every week when there is little to no press coverage occurring,” he said. “The number of reports per week raises drastically whenever the media turns it’s attention to the issue, however.”
Your numbers quoted in this story (40 complaints a week without press coverage) does not agree with the numbers your agency released in September, 2012 (total of 2,200 reports to FDA in five years). Using your numbers, and with no consideration of press reports increasing the numbers, would be 2,080 in just one year. Were you misinformed when you spoke to pet food industry representatives, did the industry protecting these jerky treats misquote you or did the FDA attempt to push pet parents into ‘calm mode’ with lower numbers of reports in September?
As a representative of thousands of pet parents, it is insulting that a high level authority of the FDA/CVM dismisses the actual deaths and illness of pets related to these treats so easily; appearing to blame journalists and bloggers as “misinformed”. Journalists and bloggers have met these pet parents, have you?. It is absurd these treats have not been recalled by FDA, not pulled from store shelves by conscientious importers/manufacturers or retailers. Especially considering “40 complaints a week” – on a slow media week.
Please consider this email an official request for a meeting between pet parents, pet food safety activists and FDA. We request an audience with you and Bernadette Dunham, head of CVM. Please advise of when this meeting can take place.
FDA Administration needs to meet the people these jerky treats from China have damaged. You and others at FDA need to hear their stories, see the vet bills, and experience the heartache they have suffered. At the very least, these pet parents deserve this acknowledgement from FDA.
We await your response, and your clarification of exactly how many reports to date of pet illness or death the FDA has received related to jerky treats imported from China.
Pet Food Safety Advocate
Should Dr. McChesney respond and agree to a meeting, all of you will be the first to know.
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
Pet Food Safety Advocate
Author, Buyer Beware
Co-Author Dinner PAWsible
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