FDA Continues To Investigate Chicken Jerky Pet Treats

It’s been a week since PetSmart pulled various Smokehouse brand chicken and duck pet treats off of their shelves. And it’s been almost two months since Wal-Mart pulled Bestros chicken jerky strips from their stores.

The FDA continues to investigate various chicken jerky pet treats for contaminants. As of yet, they have not found any toxins, including melamine, in the products.

A Smokehouse spokeswoman said their company does extensive testing and they have not found anything harmful in their products. She added: “I am in no way minimizing this … but we stand very firm in our belief that they are safe.”

There have been no official recalls of any brand of jerky treat products for pets.

Other retailers like Costco and Walgreens that stock other brands of jerky pet treats said they would continue to carry their jerky products.

Costco’s assistant vice president of food safety and quality said they do their own testing and are certain their products are safe. He added: “Until we get more information, it’s staying on the shelves.”

The FDA said they have received 11 consumer complaints about jerky products, all chicken flavored. Symptoms of ill pets have been compared to Fanconi’s Syndrome. But veterinarians think the number of affected pets may be much higher because Fanconi’s syndrome is so uncommon that it is often hard to diagnose.

Source: Sun-Sentinel

42 Responses to “FDA Continues To Investigate Chicken Jerky Pet Treats”

  1. 5CatMom says:

    “Costco’s assistant vice president of food safety and quality said they do their own testing and are certain their products are safe. He added: “Until we get more information, it’s staying on the shelves.”

    Until we get more information, I’m staying out of Costco.

  2. thomas says:

    Until we know the truth about what is in these treats , that is making pets ill and killing them , I am not buying any of them.

    I was in a family dollar store last night checking the treats and it appears DelMonte has removed made in China from the label. The label doesn’t say what country they are manufactured in , so until they say made in U.S.A. with all ingredients made in U.S.A. I am not buying them!

  3. Pukanuba says:

    I had a feeling once people started to boycott anything made in China, they would remove that from their labels. Funny how they can keep the old labels & use that as an excuse when we question a certain ingredient but the minute people start to boycott anything made in China, how they can come up with new labels pretty damn fast. I guess the expense of new labels is worth is when you need to deceive the public & sell your toxic product. I guess if it doesn’t say where it’s from……most companies will proudly state that it’s made in the USA……I don’t buy it.

    I was wondering if those jerky treats were made from sick birds to begin with, would testing for toxins show anything? I know there’s something wrong with those treats & can’t understand why it’s not showing up. Because it was never made public, lots of pet parents are probably still feeding those to their dogs. Very sad.

  4. purringfur says:


    Although we don’t want it in our pets’ foods, we’ve never really been concerned about melamine because it WASN’T responsible for killing the pets.

    One more time… If you really want to rule out what is causing the Fanconi Syndrome-like symptoms in pets that ate the jerky, here’s the list of drugs, heavy metals, and chemicals for you to test for, based on information from the University of Georgia vet school of medicine…

    Let us know, one by one, which substances you have tested for…

    Remember to test for related materials and any generic drugs also:

    “The disease CAN ALSO BE MIMICKED BY CERTAIN TOXINS and DRUGS that affect the proximal renal tubule and interrupt normal functioning.4,5″

    “The ACQUIRED FORM OF FANCONI’S SYNDROME can be caused by HEAVY METAL POISONING (LEAD, MERCURY, CADMIUM AND URANIUM). Drugs such as a gentamicin,5 cephalosporins, outdated tetracycline, cisplatin, and streptozotocin can cause proximal renal tubule resorption abnormalities.4 CHEMICALS such as Lysol® and maleic acid also have been reported to cause the syndrome.4 Renal cystic disease and neoplasia,3 including multiple myeloma and monoclonal gammopathies, also have been found to cause acquired Fanconi’s syndrome.4″
    [Capital letters are mine.]

    [taken from an earlier post of mine on itchmo. Numbers refer to references cited within the article.]

    DO let us know your results in real-world time, not FDA time.

    Is anyone here testing the jerky treats? We may, once again, have to be the ones to come through to do the testing so we can let the vets know what toxins the pets consumed so pets can be treated properly. Oh, and to let the media know what was found so other pet owners can be informed…

    I’m willing to contribute a little money toward testing to find the answers.

  5. nora says:

    no matter what you are feeding your dogs and cats, if it is commercial treats, it is a gamble. I just can’t bring myself to gamble with my beloved pets health and life. I don’t buy commercial treats anymore and string cheese or other people foods that are somewhat healthy serve that purpose and my pets are VERY pleased with no danger lurking around every feeding.

  6. Ruth says:

    “Costco’s assistant vice president of food safety and quality said they do their own testing and are certain their products are safe. He added: “Until we get more information, it’s staying on the shelves.”

    I’d like to know how and what kind of testing Costco does on their products? How about they post their test results on the web to show the public the safety of their products. It’s one thing to say they test and another to actually show it.

  7. purringfur says:

    More on Acquired Fanconi Syndome


    “Induced Fanconi (caused by ZINC toxicity or exposure to certain pesticides or outdated antibiotics) can be “self limiting” and progress no further, IF the toxic agent are removed from the dogs environment. These cases are, I think, pretty rare also. Veri Kennels no longer have Zinc screws, Zinc is not present in Chicken Wire or fencing as it used to be, Tetracycline is not a common antibiotic anymore…etc.”

    from article by Dr. Steve Gonto, Author, “Fanconi Management Protocol for Veterinarians”


  8. purringfur says:

    Pukanuba says:

    I was wondering if those jerky treats were made from sick birds to begin with, would testing for toxins show anything? I know there’s something wrong with those treats & can’t understand why it’s not showing up.


    The signs of illness seen in domestic poultry infected with avian influenza viruses are variable and affected by the virus strain, age and species of infected birds, concurrent bacterial disease, and the environment. Such signs may include —

    Sudden death without any signs
    Lack of coordination
    Purple discoloration of the wattles, combs, and legs
    Soft-shelled or misshapen eggs
    Lack of energy and appetite
    Swelling of the head, eyelids, comb, wattles, and hocks
    Nasal discharge
    Decreased egg production
    Coughing, sneezing

    HEALTH: ‘Avian Flu Spread by Poultry, Not Wild Birds’
    By Marwaan Macan-Markar

    “This strengthens the argument of the FAO that the current spread of AI can be traced to the movement of poultry and poultry products in an open and unregulated manner, both within a country and across international boundaries. Poor bio-security measures in poultry farms across Asia have also been identified as another route for the virus spreading.”


  9. Rocky says:

    Could be some sort of chemicals that are used to denature the chicken carcasses, increase palatibility, or boost protein content.

    Lots of possibilities, to be sure.

    We’ll never know unless pet owners get the treats tested.

  10. Concha Castaneda says:

    They are not supposed to be importing chicken from China at all are they?

  11. purringfur says:

    China’s number one agricultural goal is to break into the poultry market (for human consumption) IN THE U.S. To my knowledge, presently the U.S. only allows U.S. chickens to be sent to China, be processed there and then be shipped back here for sale. So far only because they have been very vocal, the U.S. poultry industry have been able to postpone this.

    “Government authorities are working on a proposal to allow chickens raised, slaughtered, and cooked in China to be sold in the United States, and under current regulations, store labels do not have to indicate the origin of the poultry.

    According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, China’s top agricultural export goal is opening the U.S. market to its cooked chickens.”

    It’s pretty scary stuff when you think that products are produced here (seafood, chicken, etc.), and then SHIPPED to China for labor & processing, and THEN RETURNED HERE once again for sale. Wouldn’t anyone think it would be cheaper just to process the goods here and still make a hefty profit? Guess the deal is just too good in China. With the cheap labor, no wonder greedy corporations took their manufacturing to China. Absolutely disgusting.

    We saw on a trading website advertising chicken treats for pets that the company obtained its chickens from veterinary offices and approved slaughter houses. Let’s see… What state would the poultry be in if they’re obtained from vet offices?

    This chicken treat company stated that it cooked its chicken to high enough temperatures that would kill the Avian Flu so there would be no worry. The ad just turned my stomach. All of this was cited here at Itchmo. So, my conclusion is that Chinese chickens ARE used in pet treats. PLMK if I’m wrong…

  12. menusux says:

    So just where does Smokehouse get their products?


    This listing is in AliBaba’s “wanted to buy” section:

    “About Us

    “We are a processor of high quality natural dog treats, ie. Pig ears, pig skins, beef and pork bones and other beef, pork, lamb, chicken, and venison products. We sell direct to all the major pet store chains, many major grocery store chains, several specialty store chains and well over 1200 pet shops. We are interested in using our vast customer base and marketing abilities to bring new products to our customers. We are specifically interested in dried chicken treats. We also have interest in all other pet products.”

    “Company Name: smokehouse pet products
    Business Type: Manufacturer
    Product/Service: Dog treats, beef, pork, lamb
    Company Address: 11850 sheldon st, los angeles, California, United States
    No. of Total Employees: 101 - 500 People
    Year Established: 1993
    Legal Representative/Business Owner: zelko majstorich
    Main Markets: North America
    Total Annual Sales Volume: US$10 Million - US$50 Million
    No. of R&D Staff: Less than 5 People”

    Now you see Smokehouse buys cheaply from anyone on AliBaba. The treats come from anyone who makes a deal with them–there’s no one supplier or factory. Some of the treats may be contaminated and some not–it depends on who they were obtained from.

    One lot sure looks like it came from Qingdao Pet Center:


    Qingdao Pet Center Inc China Co., Ltd




    Qingdao Pet Center Inc China Co., Ltd
    Contract Manufacturing: OEM Service Offered
    (Your labeling applied in China with your choice of packaging.)


    Smokehouse Chicken Breast Tenders For Dogs, Jar 20 oz (567 g)


    Yellow plastic jar Qingdao Pet Center shows its round chicken breast slices in with Smokehouse labeling instead.

  13. Skittles says:

    Or perhaps there is Dioxin contamination in everything. From the plastic food containers dumped into the pet food, to the vinyl lunchboxes, to the livestock and back again. Welcome to the wonderful world of PVC.


    You know, without the recalls I wouldn’t have learned all this. And sometimes wish I hadn’t.

  14. Teresa says:

    I will no longer buy treats for my dogs, I’m just scared and don’t want to take a chance. I ordered a food dehydrator and will use it and also, yesterday I made some quick treats. I took some steak, boneless pork and boneless chicken, I cut it in about 1 inch squares, baked it at 350 until it was crispy, baking close to top burner, and they loved them. And tey were not ene greasy. I keep in ref. and even my pickiest dog didn’t turn up her nose. It may cost a little more, and take a little time, but it’s worth it!

  15. Jenny Bark says:

    Purringfur & menusux, THANKS again great posts.

    I know this sounds stupid but I was wondering about some of the things used in jerky. Such as lots of salt, soy sauce, worcestershire sauce, teriyaki sauce, onion & garlic, all of these are used a lot. I don’t use soy sauce in my house any more because of all I have heard. In my jerky I don’t use these for my babies. I was also wondering about toxic mold if the jerky wasn’t dried out enough.

    Now this really sounds stupid (maybe not if from China) does the same company make jerky for humans? I am going to the grocery store now so I am going to look at the jerky if they have it. Just thinking out loud & thought I would pass it on to you all.

  16. Anonymous says:

    An Assessment of Heavy Metals in Packaging:
    Screening Results Using a Portable X-Ray Fluorescence Analyzer

    Final Report
    June 20, 2007

    “There were two types of packaging that dominated the samples failing the screening test:
    1) Flexible polyvinylchloride (PVC) packages. This “heavy-duty” plastic material is frequently found in packaging of textiles, cosmetics, inexpensive toys, and pet supplies. Examples of the packages tested are the zippered bags used to package home furnishings, such as comforters, and the plastic pouches used to package pet toys. In the TPCH screening project, 61% of this packaging type was not in compliance with toxics in packaging laws, due to excessive levels of cadmium and/or lead. Almost all of the flexible PVC packaging samples tested were from products imported from Asia, according to the product label. Interestingly, all PVC “blister packs,” which are semi-rigid and in this study were mostly imported from Asia, passed the screening tests.”

    Read the report…..


  17. Anonymous says:

    great work all

  18. highnote says:

    I wonder if these companies test for everything not just melamine in the treats.
    I read an article that the president said we would take China’s chicken if they were cooked first before being brought to this country. The FDA found in a warehouse several chickens that were not cooked and imported here from China. So it is getting into this country because the FDA cannot check it all. Wish I could find the article and post it. I know I read about it though.
    If they are importing chicken not cooked from China then I must ask who is buying it?
    I don’t want any chicken from China! Cooked or not!
    I do not believe that a company would export the chicken and make a product and then import the product back. Too much money envolved! The cost of the product would be too high then.
    I am very angry that Walgreens, Walmart and others would keep any product on their self that could possibly harm any animal! Until they know for sure they should have removed the treats. They do not know for sure! I do not believe they have tested the treats properly. So they don’t contain melamine! There are too many other toxins that can harm pets! They need more testing!
    Keeping the treats on the self just makes me sick!
    Is profit so great that the life of an animal means nothing? What happens to all their profits when they kill all the pets off? Who will they sell to then? It is a quick buck business and they do not realize their stupidity.

  19. Jenny Bark says:

    Just came back from Giant Eagle, no jerky but dried which is the same thing only not dried as much. Dried beef, chicken & lot of different kinds of fish all distributed by & a long, long list of ingredents. Snow’s clams, made in USA not their any more, only clams distributed by CBumble Bee Seafoods,LLC San Diego, Ca (the C has a circle around it). All the sardines same thing. I am going out tonight to other stores to buy clams in case the other stores are dropping Snow’s.

  20. Jenny Bark says:

    Sorry forgot to say manager said they wern’t going to carry Snow’s any more. I know him so I told him what I thought about that. Giant Eagle’s are independently owned so maybe your’s will still carry Snow’s clams.

  21. purringfur says:

    From Shanghai Enterprises, Inc., MAKERS OF BESTRO JERKY

    Chinese Chickens for Jerky come from “VET OFFICES & DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE APPROVED FARMS & SLAUGHTERHOUSE” according to the ad that was on the website. I believe we discovered the ad was subsequently taken down.

    Why are animals taken to vet offices? Do you think the chickens just went there for a check up and were left behind? Or do you think they were sick or dead? Sick or dead from what illness?


    Posting from “CCnDuke” below is from petconnection.com, May 10, 2007:

    Just a little blurb I have found from a ¡°company¡± that calls itself ¡°shanghai enterprises inc.¡±

    Dear Customer:

    There is lots of production recall, but not our production, you could visit web at: http://www.menufoods.com/recall/product_dog.html . to find the list of recall production names. If you still have any question, pls feel free to contact us at : info@bestros.com

    To our valuable customers who purchased Bestro¡¯s Roasted Chicken Jerky Treats :
    According to WHO (World Health Organization),The H5N1 virus is sensitive to heat. Normal temperatures used for cooking (70¡æ or 158¨H in all parts of the food) will kill the virus. For more details about Avian influenza (¡°bird flu¡±), please visit the web page below:

    How were the Bestro¡¯s Roasted Chicken Jerky Treats made?

    1) Materials only derived from the vet. office & department of agriculture approved farms & slaughterhouse.
    2) Roasted under 75¡æ-85¡æ (167¨H-185¨H) for more than 10 hours.
    3) Go through our unique microwave system under 120¡æ (248¨H) to ensure the CORE temperature meets the minimum standard of 70¡æ (158¨H) to kill the virus in ALL PARTS.
    4) Treated by irradiation (Gamma Ray) to eliminate the harmful bacteria.
    So that means they use material from the ¡°vet. office¡± to make their treats? And are concerned about Avian Flu?

    Comment by CCnDuke ¡ª May 10, 2007 @ 3:10 pm

    JennyBark said: “Now this really sounds stupid (maybe not if from China) does the same company make jerky for humans?”

    Gosh, I hope NOT! I don’t think so, …yet. But the Chinese gov’t. is working on breaking into the cooked chicken market for U.S. sales. Hey, don’t worry because the chicken will go through a “unique microwave system under 120¡æ (248¨H) to ensure the CORE temperature meets the minimum standard of 70¡æ (158¨H) to kill the virus in ALL PARTS” just as it does for the chicken pet treats.

  22. Trudy Jackson says:

    Can any of you answer these questions?
    Did the links you put up here mean this? - the plastic bags that We bring home from Wally world, and grocerey shopping have metals in them? What about the large storage boxes [plastic] that were bought at WM, do they contain metals, lead, etc.? Should We be getting rid of all thses things? Dog food, cat food bags, . what about plastic cat boxes? There’s so many things I want to know I can’t even think of all of them right now.
    And also the plastic on the foods we buy?
    And is alumnimum foil safe?
    Thanks-for now.

  23. Vicki says:

    While I was in a local grocery store I checked out the jerky — for people– lots of it is coming from China. Yikes!
    My dog is suffering from Kidney damage after eating the Bestro Treats…. $6,000 in vet bills that continue adding up but our guy, Doc, is still hanging in there. Many were not so lucky.
    It says in the article that 11 dogs have been made ill after eating the Bestro treats. Do you really think that only 11 dogs have been made ill and Walmart was willing to take these treats out of their store. Oh sure!
    They can try to minimize this but it will all come out. Matter of fact, if it were covered by the media the way it should be we would be hearing from a heck of a lot more victims. I didn’t know what was going on with Doc — he became sick in early July — until I heard a blurb on CNN. More coverage please!
    And people PLEASE if you gave your pets these treats and they got sick please, please call the FDA and report it. IT IS SO EASY! It is done right over the phone.
    Thanks to all that I have heard from for you good wishes. Vicki

  24. Jenny Bark says:

    Purring Fur, Thanks again for that great post. I remembered reading all that too but would take me days to find out where. Looks like Vicki answered my question on human jerky. I’ll keep making my own for my babies.

    I put my receipe on one of the threads about jerky that I make for my dogs & kitty plays with it too. Please everybody make your own, if you dont have a dehydrator use your oven just make sure it’s all the way dry. It is so simple.

    Vicki, i’ll keep praying for your baby & you. We are all going to ending up living like the 1700’s & having no money.

  25. Trudy Jackson says:

    Try this, and I hope it works
    If this works this is where I found toys and things for pets.

  26. Trudy Jackson says:

    It didn’t work, but takes you where You can look at some things. Just put in PVC. I was very surprised.

  27. Trudy Jackson says:

    This one should work. It is what a lot pet toys, toys, and food are packed into.

  28. purringfur says:

    JennyBark said: I put my receipe on one of the threads about jerky that I make for my dogs & kitty plays with it too. Please everybody make your own, if you dont have a dehydrator use your oven just make sure it’s all the way dry. It is so simple.

    Thank you for sharing your recipe to help others keep their pets safe. Posting recipes & tips helps others realize that they can make safe treats for their animals, too. People here are so selfless, sharing information, all for benefit of our pets. I’ve learned so much here from all of you and can’t begin to thank you and Itchmo for providing this forum.

    I was on a few other sites today (not recall sites), and people were still asking about Bestro jerky and other brands and talking about their sick pets and those they had to put down recently. I referred them to this site and the information we shared about the brands, Fanconi Syndrome symptoms, treatment, etc. There are still people out there relying on the FDA’s recall page and are assuming because they didn’t hear of a recall on the news, that all is well.

  29. Skittles says:


    Yeah, it is interesting stuff. I became aware of it after I watched the latest House Committee Hearing on the Toy Recalls. One of the panelists I believe was answering a question raised to him on how to destroy the recalled toys. He said something to the effect that you couldn’t burn them because when PVC is heated or burned that it releases Dioxin! That made me take notice because of the talk of the plastic meat trays that go into rendering. Then I just had to search it out. Here is the webcast of that hearing if anyone wants to watch….


  30. Don Earl says:

    Gee, who didn’t know the FDA can’t find toxins in pet food?

  31. bernie says:

    Has anyone considered the fact that these treats were irradiated? Irradiation is some scary s***

  32. Vicki says:

    What is irradiation?

  33. Sharon & Ken says:

    We lost our dog to Bestro’s Chicken Jerky Strips on 9/18/07. The vet wanted to put him down last month but we brought him home and tried to nurse him back to health with no luck. I am angry that this type of thing can continuously go on. I am currently in contact with our local FDA here in Baltimore, MD. Fortunately, we still have our receipt from when we bought this KILLER from Wal-Mart. Anyone have any suggestions on how to ease the pain? I am so angry because it still has not been recalled.

  34. 5CatMom says:

    Sharon & Ken,

    Very sorry you lost your poor dog.

    Many sad stories are here because of dishonest pet food companies.

    The pain of losing a pet is difficult to deal with, but you may find that putting some of the offenders out of business will help.

    Do you still have some of the treats? Have them tested by Expertox in Arlington, Tx.

    Also join the forums and tell your story. Go to: “What’s Killing Our Pets?”


  35. Joanne says:

    My dog was sick with renal failure. I gave three bags of chicken jerky strips to the FDA in late August. Two weeks ago I received a registered letter from the Dept. of Health. The open bag contained DEG and EG (components of antifreeze). The strips were made in China, the company which packaged them is here in North Carolina and won’t return my phone calls. Antifreeze is a known killer of animals.

  36. Johanna says:

    My dog is sick with vomiting, diarrhea and hasn’t kept food down for over a week. Her kidneys aren’t functioning properly. My veterinarian consulted with another area veterinarian, who had three dogs in the past week with the same problem. The common factor was dried chicken strips from China.

    We bought the Smokehouse brand treats from Petsmart. In researching this, I see an article that Petsmart had pulled these products in September, but they are now back on the shelves at our Petsmart in Longmont. I spoke to the manager about my dog becoming severely ill with these products, and he said that Petsmarts “voluntary recall” was to pull the products off the shelf in September and replace them with new lots. So much for the recall. Smokehouse’s web site denies that there was any problem with the products.

    Joanne–how did you get your product tested? I would like to have it done with the remaining product we have, but I get no response from our FDA office in Colorado.

  37. Tina says:

    Joanne - I live in the Washington, DC are and my story is EXACTLY the same as yours. I called Smoke House, the FDA in Baltimore MD and, State Vet and spent $11,000 in trying to save my dogs. FDA did not help me at all. They just took my name and information. My younger dog died in August and he was 1-1/2 years old and loved the Smoke House Chicken treats. My treats are currently being tested. I am looking for a class action suit, but understand that you can only sue for the value of the dog and not the value of medical expenses. It kills me that these companies are not held accountable for what they sell.

  38. Kelly says:

    My yorkie, “Winston, ” is fighting for his life tonight and I am holding back tears as I write this. I have no idea if he is going to pull through. We gave him Smokehouse jerky treats from Petco thinking this was “all natural.” What a complete line of B.S. I get sick thinking about the fact that it was us who fed him this horrible product.

    DO NOT FEED ANY TREATS FROM CHINA TO YOUR ANIMALS, NOT SMOKEHOUSE, NOT BESTROS, NOTHING. We have visited him in the hospital everyday since Thursday and pray that he will pull through. I can’t describe how painful it is when your 5 lb baby is screaming as you leave him in his cage with an IV needle stuck in his little leg. He is so scared and has no idea why this is happening to him. The pain we are feeling is beyond words.

    We know if at least 2 other cases in our area, and the wonderful people at UC Davis Veterinary Medical Center in San Diego have been tracking over 30 other cases of animals harmed by these treats. I can’t believe this damn product is still on the shelves. Boycott any Smokehouse treat, as well as Petco for distributing products that are killing our pets.

  39. Dan says:

    Question. Name and address of President/ C.E.O. of Smokehouse Pet Products. Need to return a few items. Thank You.

  40. colorado chickens pet says:

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  42. Cici says:

    I’m trying to get the word out. Don’t feed your pets any dried chicken until you check the back of the bag! Most of them say in tiny little words “Made in China” even if packed by an American company. The only one that is truly made in America is Kona’s Chips. If your dog is hooked on chicken, like ours (and he got sick too), check out these chips recommended by our vet:


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