Bestro Chicken Jerky StripsIn a statement the company released late last nite, the two Chinese made treats; Chicken Jerky Strips manufactured by Import-Pingyang Pet Product Co and Chicken Jerky manufactured by Shanghai Bestro, contain melamine!

“The latest advice from our testing laboratory shows trace levels of melamine. Because of the low levels that were found, our laboratory has recommended additional testing,” the statement says. “Nevertheless, the product remains off shelves and we continue to take the extra precaution of placing a computerized block on the product at the cash register. Moreover, we encourage customers who may have purchased this product to return it for a full refund.”

Company spokeswoman Deisha Galberth said 17 sets of tests done on the products found melamine, a contaminant that’s a byproduct of several pesticides.

Wal-Mart’s statement Tuesday said customers should be especially wary of jerky from Shanghai Bestro Trading with the UPC number 0087784900006 and item number 839751.

Walmart pulled the chicken jerky treats off their shelves in July after some customer complaints, including deaths but didn’t issue a recall or make any announcements. This problem didn’t become public until pet owners finally contacted news agencies to get the word out about the problem. And now finally we hear that FDA is conducting their own investigation – finally!

And yes, melamine is the very same substance that caused the massive pet food recall just a few months ago. Wheat gluten tainted with the substance to boost protein ratings in food. It caused kidney failure in thousands and thousands of pets and the true number killed and sickened will never really be known.

More than 150 brands of pet food were recalled earlier this year after U.S. inspectors said wheat gluten from China that was used to make the food was tainted with melamine. An unknown number of dogs and cats died.

Since then, other Chinese products including tires, toothpaste, seafood, juice, and toys decorated with lead paint have been recalled or have come under scrutiny.

Attempts to contact the company in China finally got a response from Thomas Lee, who works in the sales department.

“We are very surprised to hear about the melamine issues,” Lee says. “The chicken jerky was made from chicken breast and there’s no wheat glutens, no proteins and no starch” in the product.

You can tell how surprised they are by the fact that their website, http://dogchews.com/, disappeared overnight!

He said that the product was tested before it left China but can’t say whether is was tested for melamine and say they will be conducting their own investigation. He says that their company has liability insurance but couldn’t answer questions about compensation to the owners of pets who have already died or become ill due to this latest round of pet poisonings!

Lee did say the his company plans to work with Walmart and the FDA to investigate and will release the results of the tests.

And here’s something more than a little scary; public records show that chicken jerky strips made by Pingyang Product Co. have been placed by the FDA on an automatic hold since May 6, 2005. That means the FDA may detain the shipment and release it only when the company has hired a private lab that certifies the product is safe. About 40 companies from around the world face similar restrictions.

The FDA includes a number of chicken jerky treats on a list of products subject to “detention with physical examination” because of concerns about microbiological contamination, according to import alert No. 72-03.

Here are some of the jerky manufacturers identified in that document:

Pingyang Pet Leather Manufacture Factory
Dongmen Rd., Nanyan Town
Zhejiang Province, Pingyang, China

Pingyang Pet Product Co.
Xiazhai Rd., Xiaojiang
Pingyang, Zhejiang
Wenzhou Zhejiang (Province), China

Pingyang Pet Toys Industrial Co.
Siqian Shuitou Town, Pingyang County
Wenghou, Zhejiang, China

This link, provided by USA TODAY’s Bruce Rosenstein, lists some of the companies whose products have been refused entry at the border. (USA Today)

Well, looks like China is at it again! When is Walmart going to learn? When is the FDA going to learn? How many of our pets have to die? And what about all the other Chinese imports, how safe are they? I thought there was supposed to be some kind of a ‘crack down’ on this stuff!!

USA Today,, Houston Chronicle

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