Why pet food isn’t people food

(AP Photo/SPCA of Westchester County, NY)

The Food and Drug Administration released an update Friday on those jerky treats imported from China that appear to be killing and sickening pets, and the news is disturbing in more ways than one.

The total number of illnesses now includes "5,600 dogs, 24 cats and three people(emphasis mine), according to an FDA bulletin issued late Friday afterno0n. There is no word on how humans--or felines for that matter--came to consume chicken, duck and sweet potato treats intended for canines.

As my colleague, Brady Dennis, wrote in March, the FDA is still stumped after seven years of study by what in the treats might be killing dogs. The agency put out a call in October for more information from vets and pet-owners and received more than 1,800 new reports of gastrointestinal, liver, kidney and urinary disease. More than 1,000 dogs have died.

The long-running investigation has paralleled a big increase in the amount of pet food imported from China to the United States, from barely 1 million pounds in 2003 to an estimated 86 million pounds in 2011, according to the FDA.

Lenny Bernstein writes the To Your Health blog. He started as an editor on the Post’s National Desk in 2000 and has worked in Metro and Sports.
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Lenny Bernstein · May 16