At a hearing of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China last week, Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, raised concerns that pet foods labeled as American-made may contain tainted ingredients from China, according to The Columbus Dispatch.

Brown's unease is related to illness in 5,600 dogs, 24 cats and 1,000 dog deaths, with most cases involving chicken, duck or sweet potato jerky products imported from China. Despite soliciting help from pet owners and veterinarians and launching a global investigation, the FDA's research into these treats has been inconclusive, according to a statement issued by Tracey Forfa, deputy director, Center for Veterinary Medicine for the FDA, recently.

The Columbus Dispatch reported that Forfa, who was present at last week's hearing, urged pet owners to consider avoiding feeding their pets treats, as doing so wouldn't be harmful. 

But Brown wondered whether avoidance was enough. He held up a package of dog treats described as made in the United States. "Do you know enough to be able to say all of the ingredients come from the United States?" he asked. Forfa could not say yes.

The FDA is working with Chinese officials to help them improve their regulatory system and educate them on changes to the U.S. regulatory system, according to Forfa. But a recent Forbes report notes that China does not regulate pet food. 

There is no pet food law, there is no pet food manufacturing regulation, and there is no set of specific measures for supervising pet food safety or punishing wrongdoers.

 

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