Petco today announced it will stop carrying China-made dog and cat treats at its more than 1,300 store locations nationwide, including Unleashed by Petco stores and online at Petco.com, by the end of 2014. The move makes Petco the first national pet specialty retailer to take this step in support of the health and well-being of pets.
The announcement come on the heels of an announcement by the FDA last week that it has received a total of 4800 complaints of illnesses in pets that ate chicken, duck, or sweet potato jerky treats, most of which were made in China. They also received reports that over 1000 dogs that died after eating the jerky treats.
The reports involve more than 5,600 dogs, 24 cats, three people.
“We know some pet parents are wary of dog and cat treats made in China, especially chicken jerky products, and we’ve heard their concerns,” said Jim Myers, Petco CEO. “As a leader in the industry and the trusted partner for our pet parents, we’re eager to make this transition and to expand our assortment of safe and healthy treats, the majority of which are made right here in the U.S. Very simply, we feel this decision is in the best interest of the pets we all love and, ultimately, for our business.”
Since 2007, and as recently as just last week, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has periodically cautioned consumers about a potential link between reported illnesses in dogs and the consumption of jerky products made in China.
Thus far the FDA has been unable to identify a direct link between the reported illnesses and the China-made treats, and has not recommended a recall of jerky products.
The final stage of the transition will begin in September and is expected to be complete by the end of 2014, marking the end of a multi-year process in which Petco has been working with vendors and suppliers to offer more safe and healthy alternatives to treats made in China.
Petco should be congratulated for being the first major pet store chain in the US to stop selling pet treats made in China. Hopefully, Petco’s competitors will follow its lead and stop selling these pet treats as well.