Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Carmel on the Case: Treat Troubles
Tonight dogs across the country continue to suffer and die as the Food and Drug Administration struggles with what to do about treats from China, and now criticism of the agency is coming from congress along with a surprising lack of cooperation from the Chinese. Carmel Cafiero is On the Case.
Nancy Morrissey: I found puddles of blood all over the floor and big clots and the dog was crying and dragging on the floor. And I thought she was dying before my eyes and there was nothing I could do."
The public has become so desperate for action lawsuits have been filed and an online petition has gathered more than 57,000 signatures begging stores to take them off the shelves.
The Food and Drug Administration has put warnings on its web site but not many people check the agency's web site before buying a treat for their pet, so some vets are issuing their own warnings.
Carmel Cafiero: "If you see China on the label what do you tell your clients?
Dr. Darko Mladenovic: "I typically say to the clients stay away from that, try to find a product that is made in the USA or USDA inspected."
The FDA sent inspectors to five Chinese plants that are associated with treats, causing some of the highest number of illness in the U.S.. But inspectors were not allowed to take samples out of the country for testing.
According to FDA documents, Chinese officials insisted, one reason was due to national sovereignty. In each case, inspectors left with no samples collected so there is no answer as to what is causing our pets to get sick and die.
The FDA maintains it cannot force a recall based on complaints alone.
Carmel Cafiero: "And although those complaints began with chicken jerky treats, there are now reports duck and sweet potato and treats with yams could also be causing problems for our pets."
Dr. Darko Mladenovic: "We are not protected at all."
Dr. Darko Mladenovic: I'm puzzled that not more is done about this issue because it's been going on for so many years."
We've repeatedly asked the FDA for an interview without success.
The most recent warning on its web site reads: "The treats are not necessary for pets to have a fully balanced diet, so eliminating them will not harm pets."
Also posted on the internet, a picture of a man reportedly singing to his dog as it died after eating a treat from China.
IF YOU HAVE A STORY FOR CARMEL TO INVESTIGATE: