FDA Proposes New Regulations On Pet Food Manufacturers

By Rachel Martin - 21Alive

October 30, 2013 Updated Oct 30, 2013 at 5:35 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (21Alive) – Recent deaths and illnesses in pets caused by jerky treats has the FDA cracking down on pet food companies.

Hundreds of pets have died and thousands more have gotten sick over the past couple weeks due to illnesses caused by jerky treats, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

That's why the FDA has put new regulations on pet food companies. The new proposed regulations require companies follow good manufacturing practices, like better sanitation, as well as develop procedures to prevent food borne illnesses.

The FDA has traced the illnesses in pets back to jerky treats containing chicken, duck, sweet potato, and dried fruit. When sampled, the FDA found traces of salmonella, metals, antibiotics, and pesticides found in the treats.

Veterinarian Dr. Dan Rodgers of Aboite Animal Hospital in Fort Wayne says most of the contaminated jerky treats were imported from China, so he recommends buying pet food that's made in America.

"Go to the pet stores or wherever, and grab those treats and it will say, ‘distributed by such-and-such company here in the U.S.’ But you have to really look for the fine print on the back where it says, ‘Made In China’," he said.

As a precaution, Dr. Rodgers also recommends using treats as just that—treats. He says in the pets he’s treated that have been sick, it’s because they’ve been given too many treats that were possibly contaminated.

“If they're getting fed as a treat should be fed, maybe one or two a day, they have not had that much of a problem. It's those who get multiple treats, and sometimes those treats have been their main diet, instead of a healthy balanced commercial food. That's where the real problems have risen,” he said.

Dr. Rodgers says there have been several pets in the Fort Wayne area that have gotten sick from treats, but luckily none have died.

The FDA has rules that prohibit adulterants in pet food, but no requirements that they analyze the potential food safety hazards of their products. The regulations will apply to domestic and imported pet food.

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