Statement of Wenonah Hauter, Food & Water Watch Executive Director
Washington, D.C.—“Today, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) released its latest update on the number of pet illnesses associated with imported pet treats from China, and the numbers have grown to 4,800 cases, including three human illnesses and 1,000 canine deaths. The exact cause of the illnesses is still not known.
“The imported pet treats in question are made from chicken, duck or sweet potato. Although some companies recalled their imported pet treat products in January 2013 when the New York Department of Agriculture and Markets discovered that they contained antibiotics that were not approved in the U.S., at least one of those companies has resumed importing pet treats from China and is selling them in retail stores and on the internet.
“While we appreciate the efforts and resources that FDA has invested in investigating this issue for the past seven years, today’s report proves that pets are still getting sick and dying from consuming Chinese pet treats.
“This ongoing health threat to American pets illustrates how trade policy is trumping regulations to protect our health. When is the Obama administration going to show some backbone and stop the importation of these deadly products until we have some concrete answers? When is USDA going to stop its nonsensical attempts to declare the Chinese food safety system equivalent to that of the United States? Ultimately, China’s claims regarding the safety of its products are nothing more than an attempt to pave the way for poisonous poultry imports.
“Food & Water Watch has repeatedly called on USDA to stop the equivalency process that would allow the import of processed poultry products for human consumption from China. This latest report on continuing pet illnesses and deaths is just the latest example of why it is far too soon to allow more dangerous imports into the United States.”
Contact: Kate Fried, Food & Water Watch, kfried(at)fwwatch(dot)org.