It has been a month and a half since Wal-Mart pulled Bestros Chicken Jerky Strips from their shelves. There still has been no formal recall.
The FDA, Indiana State Chemist’s Office, and Wal-Mart have all tested the chicken jerky strips, and their results have been inconclusive. And pet owners whose pets have been affected by these chicken jerky strips continue to wonder why their pets died or became ill.
Sherri Shelton is one of these pet owners. Her dog, Sheba, had to be put down after eating Bestros Chicken Jerky Strips, and her other dog, Kali, became ill and is still recovering after eating the treats.
For the past few weeks, Shelton has been asking the FDA, Wal-Mart and the Indiana State Chemist’s Office to release their new test results. FDA has not responded to her requests. Wal-Mart gave her the runaround. And the Indiana State Chemist Office finally released the test results to her this morning.
The Indiana State Chemist’s Office analyzed the chicken jerky strips for melamine, ethylene glycol, diethylene glycol, and propylene glycol. All tested below detectable limit. But the Indiana State Chemist’s Office said that other testing of the chicken jerky strips is still ongoing and they are checking for ethylene glycol, diethylene glycol, and propylene glycol.
Dr. Rod Noel of the Indiana State Chemist’s Office told Shelton that even though chemicals may be found below the detectable limit, the combination of these chemicals, even at low levels, in a pet food could cause a reaction in a pet.
He also stated that it seems that no one really knows what they are supposed to be looking for in the products. This makes the tests very hard to conduct without knowing what they should be exactly looking for. Dr. Noel added: “only China knows what they did to the product.”
Shelton also has had extensive conversations with the claims management group that is dealing with pet owner’s claims against Bestros. Shelton stated the claims management group said they are not going to bother with or accept the test results from the manufacturer of the chicken jerky strips because they know there is a problem with the product. She said he also added that they just don’t know what is exactly wrong with the product, and the manufacturer’s testing is not to be trusted.
More and more pet owners are stepping up and claiming that chicken jerky strips bought from Wal-Mart killed or made their pets ill. A Pennsylvania woman, Stacey Combs, said her Yorkie, Pumpkin, died from acute kidney failure after eating Bestros chicken jerky strips.
Combs bought the chicken jerky strips on July 23rd and fed them to Pumpkin on the 24th. On July 27th, Pumpkin became ill and on July 30th, she went to the hospital. On August 6th, the young puppy died.
Veterinarians confirmed that Pumpkin died from acute kidney failure.
Not until after Pumpkin died did Combs find out that the chicken jerky strips that Pumpkin ate were taken off of Wal-Mart’s shelves. She said she wished that Wal-Mart would have alerted consumers earlier especially since many pet owners were complaining about the product since April.
In chicken jerky strips related news, the American Veterinary Medical Association sent out this press release:
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has recently been made aware of several complaints from pet owners and veterinarians that multiple brands of jerky treats manufactured in China have been making pets sick. Symptoms of illness have included vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy. To our knowledge, no deaths have been reported.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is currently testing these treats to see if a contaminant can be found. So far, they have ruled out melamine, one of the chemicals that led to the massive pet food recall this spring, but have yet to identify anything that might be making pets sick.
While a list of brand/product names of affected treats is not yet available, the AVMA has learned that all complaints have involved jerky treats from China. We recommend that pet owners use their best judgment in this matter.
On August 22, Wal-Mart released a statement that they pulled from their shelves two brands of jerky treats manufactured in China, but no official recalls have yet been issued. For the latest information on pet food recalls, including Wal-Mart’s statement, visit www.avma.org/aa/petfoodrecall/default.asp.
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.
Photo: Sherri Shelton