One of the nation’s most popular pet stores has officially cut ties with China after thousands of pet illnesses and deaths were linked to Chinese-made pet treats.
Petco is discontinuing the sale of treats from China in order to stay true to the company’s commitment of putting pet health first, according to a release from the store.
The decision was made after more than 4,800 pet illnesses and 1,000 pet deaths were reported to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration since 2007. A majority of the claims were made after pets consumed jerky treats, many of which possibly originated in China.
Kat Drawdy, owner of Earth Pets — a local Gainesville pet store — thinks the move is a great idea.
“Earth Pets has never sold any food from China,” she said. “They’re poorly regulated and we know that.”
Earth Pets, located at 404 NW 10th Ave., provides customers with natural pet products from ethical companies.
“We are really passionate about our animals and our community, and we want to make sure that nothing would harm them,” Drawdy said.
Sky Levi, Drawdy’s son and an employee at Earth Pets, also felt the move was responsible.
“A lot of Chinese companies do use preservatives that we have banned in the U.S. for very good reasons — all health related,” Levi said.
Courtney Sutter, a 20-year-old UF zoology sophomore and dog owner, believes the move was positive for Petco because they’re taking ownership of mistakes. She said she thinks the reactions from competing companies will show the magnitude of Petco’s decision.
PetSmart, a major competitor, is already following in the footsteps of Petco and will remove all Chinese products by March.
Moving forward, Petco will begin to use more American manufacturers and work with countries like New Zealand and Australia.
[A version of this story ran on page 9 on 1/12/2015 under the headline “Petco removes all Chinese pet treats from store shelves"]
Information to protect your pet:
Since 2007, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned consumers of a potential link between reported illnesses in dogs and the consumption of Chinese-made jerky treats.
The majority of complaints involve chicken jerky (treats, tenders and strips), but others include duck and sweet potato as well as treats where chicken or duck jerky is wrapped around dried fruits, sweet potatoes or yams.
Pet owners should be aware that manufacturers do not need to list the country of origin for each ingredient used in their products.
Top three brands of chicken jerky the FDA warns consumers against: Canyon Creek Ranch Jerky Treats or Tenders, Waggin’ Train Jerky Treats or Tenders and Milo’s Kitchen Home-Style Dog Treats.
— Sources from Petco and the FDA