As more and more dogs are becoming sick and/or dying from Chinese imported chicken jerky treats, the FDA is stating they have found “no evidence of harmful levels of melamine or other substances”.  However recent information provided to me is stating something quite different.  The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA), specifically Dr. Warren Skippon DVM of CVMA, told a pet owner that diethylene glycol “has been a suspected toxin as reported by the FDA in the United States.”  What’s going on?

In the November 2011 warning FDA sent out to Pet Owners, they stated “FDA, in addition to several veterinary diagnostic laboratories in the United States, is working to find out why these products are associated with illness in dogs.  To date, scientists have not been able to determine a precise cause for the reported illnesses.”  The FDA’s standing, if we can’t determine a cause for the pet illnesses and deaths from these treats – we can’t issue a recall.

No cause for the reported illnesses?  That’s not what a veterinarian with the CVMA told a pet owner.  This concerned pet owner wrote the CVMA asking for suggestions of where and what to test the jerky treats for.  Dr. Warren Skippon told this pet owner “I would recommend you ask for a toxicity screen on these products, and that you specifically ask for a screen for diethylene glycol as this has been a suspected toxin as reported by the FDA in the United States.”   

I have contacted Dr. Skippon asking for confirmation of FDA’s statement diethylene glycol is a suspected toxin and asking for a copy of this letter/email from FDA – I have received no response.  My email to Dr. Skippon was dated 2/10/12.  I have contacted FDA – Eric Nelson Director Division of Compliance CVM (dated 2/08/12) asking for confirmation that the FDA does indeed have a suspected toxin of the Chinese imported jerky treats – I have received no response.

So what is diethylene glycol?  From“the substance is toxic to blood, kidneys, the nervous system, liver.  Repeated or prolonged exposure to the substance can produce target organs damage.” 

The FDA has a very long history and detailed knowledge of the dangers of diethylene glycol.  In fact, diethylene glycol is responsible for the enactment of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act – the laws the FDA are guided by (or supposed to be guided by).  In 1937, an outbreak of diethylene glycol poisoning occurred in the United States which resulted in a total of 107 people dying.  From this deadly event, The Act was developed by Congress to protect humans and animals from contaminated food, drugs, and cosmetics.  Diethylene glycol was found in glycerin – a thickening agent used in pharmaceutical syrups – in 1995 in Haiti, between 1990 and 1998 in Argentina, Bangladesh, India, and Nigeria, and in October 2006 in Panama – all resulted in illness and deaths of mainly children.

Since the November 2011 warning from FDA on Chinese imported jerky treats, 400 new reports of pet illness or death has been reported to FDA.   Grass root efforts of heartbroken pet owners diligently trying to urge retailers to stop selling these dangerous treats are going unanswered – few retailers are listening.

Just yesterday, I heard from a pet owner who has experienced three dogs dying due to these treats.  Her pain is unimaginable.  And sadly, she is not alone.  As each day goes by without a recall of these treats – more and more pets are becoming sick and dying.

So, FDA – since you won’t respond to my emails (more below on this) – I/we ask you publically here.  Is diethylene glycol the toxin that is killing and sickening pets in Chinese imported jerky treats?  If yes, when can we expect a recall?

My recent history of no response from FDA…

First off, I’m the first to admit that I’m probably not on the top ten list of favorite people the FDA wants to speak with.  But regardless, as a citizen of the U.S., I see no reason why this government agency should ignore repeated requests for information.

In December 2011, I sent Dr. Dan McChesney of FDA/CVM numerous requests for interview – all requests went unanswered.

During the AAFCO Meeting in January 2012, I spoke with Anita MacMullan and Dr. Farrar of FDA after their presentation.  While sharing with them my concern of lack of consumer input, Dr. Farrar told me the FDA“meets several times a year with pet owners from The Pet Food Safety Alliance”.  I know this group – it’s actually The Pet Food Products Safety Alliance led by Don Earl.  I contacted Don and no – the FDA has never met with him or anyone of his organization.  I emailed Anita MacMullan of FDA asking if FDA would be interested in meeting with representatives of – as they stated they have done with Pet Food Products Safety Alliance.  No response.

During the AAFCO Meeting in January 2012, the FDA previewed a new video – directed at consumers – and asked for input.  I sent detailed input to Eric Nelson.  Despite his response stating he will get back to me before the end of the month – I have not received any message from Eric Nelson.

And most recently, my email of 2/08/12 to Eric Nelson asking for clarification on the diethylene glycol issue above – no response.

FDA, your silence is very telling.