Costco keeps selling treats from China despite dog death


B00Mer
#1
Costco keeps selling treats from China despite dog death

Yorkshire terrier suffered and died from renal failure; other illnesses, deaths reported

Costco is under fire from dog lovers for continuing to sell pet jerky treats from China, despite being warned by an owner whose veterinarian believes treats purchased there killed her Yorkshire terrier puppy.

“I am so angry, and I can’t believe Rosie is gone because of this,” said Alda Wirsche of Calgary. “The treats are still on the shelf. No one is listening. They’re not listening.”

Rosie was turning one year old and healthy, according to her vet, until Wirsche bought a large bag of Vitalife Duck Tenders at Costco and gave them to the pup every day for three weeks in March.

“The third week she was lethargic. She started throwing up, peeing a lot and just not herself,” said Wirsche, who took her to the Bow Bottom Veterinary Hospital.

“Her kidneys were shot. They were absolutely destroyed,” said veterinarian Julie Schell, who said she tried everything possible to save the tiny, 1.65 kilogram dog, but her condition was too severe.

“She died in my arms — and I will never forget her. I definitely don’t want any of my other patients to suffer like that and to die, when it could be totally prevented.”

1,000 deaths reported in U.S.

The dog died of renal failure, a common ailment among the 5,600 dogs — including 1,000 that died — whose cases have been reported to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration since 2007.

In most, eating duck, chicken or sweet potato jerky from China, sold under numerous brand names, was the suspected cause.

Since 2011, 86 cases, including seven deaths, have also been reported to the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association from vets and the Canadian public.

Despite exhaustive testing by the FDA, it is still a mystery what is in the treats or their production that could be causing illnesses. The Centers for Disease Control is now doing a study, hoping to pinpoint the problem.

“It’s like a smouldering fire out there,” said Warren Skippon, national issues and animal welfare manager for the CVMA.

“Because there is a link there and we don’t know what is causing it, to us it would be more prudent for retailers to stop selling these products.”

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Schell, the veterinarian, said the dramatic kidney failure Rosie suffered from was the type caused by poisoning. Because the dog was so small, she said, her kidneys became overloaded much quicker than a larger dog’s would.

bc-140606-calgary-costco-food-5
This seal on the Vitalife Duck Tenders says they are 'Quality checked in Canada certified laboratories.' The testing is done in China. (CBC)

“Of the dogs that are getting sick and are dying, most of them are very small dogs,” said Schell, who had tested Rosie's kidney function three weeks earlier and found it within normal range.

Schell said she consulted other vets on this case and ruled out explanations for Rosie's death other than eating the jerky treats. They were imported into Canada by Normerica Inc, based in Ontario.

“The proof is in the science. We are now seeing more and more cases like that,” she said.

The pathologist consulted on Rosie’s case said the cause of death can’t be confirmed, but agreed it should be flagged as suspected poisoning from the duck jerky.

Normerica president Colin Gleason sent a statement to Go Public challenging the vet’s conclusions.

“We have reviewed reports provided by the veterinarian … and cannot understand how the connection was made between Rosie’s death and VitaLife treats,” said Gleason.

Schell said she stands by her position.

Labelling questioned

The vet and dog owner also think Vitalife’s packages are misleading, because the smaller bags of Duck Tenders don’t give any indication they are made in China.

The bags have a seal on the front with a maple leaf, stating they are "Quality checked in Canada certified laboratories."

Gleason told Go Public the product is tested in China for several contaminants, before being imported. The government of Canada doesn't certify pet food labs in China.

“I did see the seal on the front — it says Canada quality,” said Wirsche. “What does that mean? If that’s Canada quality, then we are in trouble.”

Vitalife sells several other products made in Canada and Thailand, but the company’s website says its Duck Tenders, Sweet Potato and Duck Twists and Sweet Potato Ridge Cuts are products of China.

Vitalife Duck Tenders are among several types of dog jerky treats imported into Canada from China, sold by various companies, under different brand names.

The concerns from veterinarians and the FDA are about all chicken, duck and sweet potato jerky treats from China, not just those sold under the Vitalife label.

Several other Vitalife products are made in Canada and Thailand and are not among the products of concern.

Go Public asked Gleason why the bags don’t indicate where they are made, but he didn’t answer. He also didn’t explain why the company sources any products in China, given the concerns.

Gleason said Normerica hired local Chinese staff to oversee quality assurance from the company's China office. In addition, he said, the product testing is done in an independent Chinese lab.

“Myself and all the employees at Vitalife who are pet parents feed Vitalife treats to their pets on a daily basis,” he said.

The Duck Tenders bag reads, “Vitalife all natural dog treats are designed to contain no artificial colours, flavours, preservatives, byproducts or fillers.”

Costco informed

Rosie’s owner Wirsche reported the dog’s death and suspected cause to Costco, but said it did nothing.

“They are intentionally still selling it,” said Wirsche. She said that when she saw the treats on display at the Calgary Costco, she looked around for any customers buying it, planning to warn them.

The retailer sent Wirsche an email, saying Costco is sorry Rosie died, but because the treats are tested, it sees no problem.

“There’s no way Costco can test for something when they don’t know why the dogs are dying from these treats. Even the FDA doesn’t know why they are dying,” said Wirsche. “Costco obviously doesn’t care.”

Go Public found Vitalife and other jerky treats made in China also at Superstore and Wal-Mart. PetSmart is still selling the products too, but said it will remove all Chinese-made treats in 2015.

Smaller retailers like Tisol in Vancouver have already done that.

“We know that our customers trust us with their pet's health and well-being, and we take that responsibility very seriously,” said Tisol.

Not 1st case

Costco’s response to Rosie’s death was upsetting news to Vancouver dog owner Lynn Ross. Her Labradoodle developed pancreatitis after eating a different brand of Chinese-made jerky treats, also bought at Costco.

“He has been on medication ever since,” said Ross.

Costco has since pulled that brand of treats, while Nestlé has settled with affected U.S. dog owners for $6.5 million. Ross can’t understand why Costco would continue to risk problems.

“I nearly killed my dog by giving him these treats. It’s terrible,” said Ross. “You shouldn’t have to wait for the outcome of something to stop selling these treats. It’s crazy to me.”

Another dog owner from Ontario, whose bulldog died from kidney failure after months of eating Vitalife Duck and Sweet Potato Twists, believes all retailers should pull them, now.

“There are no words to describe the horrific shock of being told your dog’s kidneys are failing and then asked by the vet what treats she was given,” said Shelby’s owner Bill Woods of Napanee.

“It shattered my heart into a million pieces knowing I could never take her home again.”

Woods said his local Metro grocery store pulled the Vitalife treats briefly after Shelby died, but they’re back now.

“Unfortunately, it appears that profit trumps our pets’ lives.”

Pet food is not regulated by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. The CVMA has lobbied the federal government to stop the import of all pet jerky treats from China, with no success.

“Without them being a regulated commodity, they say they can’t do that until there is a proven link, which is frustrating,” said Skippon of the CVMA.

The veterinary association believes Costco and other retailers are leaving themselves vulnerable to lawsuits.

“There are risks to animal health, there are risks to public health, and there could be legal risks to selling this product,” said Skippon.

Go Public asked Costco several times for a response, but didn’t hear back.

source: Costco keeps selling treats from China despite dog death - Calgary - CBC News
 
Twila
+1
#2
I'm very careful about the things I give my dogs. I don't buy food,toys or treats for them that are made in China.

China is growing far too fast for it's gov't to keep up with.
 
mentalfloss
#3
One dog died and the owner believes it was these treats.

Overreaction of the century maybe?

The article mentions 1,000 other deaths in the U.S. but that is still a pitifully small number of deaths for that size of a country and there doesn't appear to be any evidence of what proportion of those deaths are linked to this product.
 
Twila
#4
Quote: Originally Posted by mentalflossView Post

One dog died and the owner believes it was these treats.

Overreaction of the century maybe?

The story portays it as one pet. This problem has gone on for a couple of years. It's just that there are few regulations when it comes to pet food and the cost for a post mortem is prohibitive for many pet owners.

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/nati...icle-1.1796189
 
IdRatherBeSkiing
+1
#5
Quote: Originally Posted by TwilaView Post

The story portays it as one pet. This problem has gone on for a couple of years. It's just that there are few regulations when it comes to pet food and the cost for a post mortem is prohibitive for many pet owners.

1,000 dogs dead, three humans sick after eating jerky pet treats: report* - NY Daily News

I think it goes back to buyer beware.
 
Twila
#6
Quote: Originally Posted by IdRatherBeSkiingView Post

I think it goes back to buyer beware.

It does. I think people get fooled into thinking that it's ok to rely on marketing and advertisements to provide you with accurate information.
 
B00Mer
+2
#7  Top Rated Post
Quote: Originally Posted by mentalflossView Post

One dog died and the owner believes it was these treats.

Overreaction of the century maybe?

The article mentions 1,000 other deaths in the U.S. but that is still a pitifully small number of deaths for that size of a country and there doesn't appear to be any evidence of what proportion of those deaths are linked to this product.

Excuse me?? I used Hartz Flee and Tick on my Cat and he died.. your point??

Boycott Hartz : Hartz Flea & Tick Toxic to Cats

This site is 100 years only but will never be taken down, until I am in the ground.
 
Retired_Can_Soldier
-1
#8
I thought the dog might have been crushed by a 45 gallon drum of dog treats.
 
Sal
+2
#9
it's unethical to put poison on the shelf, how are we supposed to know what is safe or not with regard to pet food, hell it's hard enough to know what is safe for us...I buy my cat food from the vet...I have always bought it there...she's family... less than a dollar a day...it will save a lot of money in vet bills down the road...

cheap food for them is the same as cheap food for us... = health issues
 
B00Mer
+2
#10
Quote: Originally Posted by SalView Post

it's unethical to put poison on the shelf...

meh, grocery stores do it all the time.. Monsanto
 
petros
#11
Aren't you hauling GMO Doritos these days?
 
B00Mer
#12
Quote: Originally Posted by petrosView Post

Aren't you hauling GMO Doritos these days?

Nope just Monsanto feed out of Arizona going to Mississippi.. but I ain't eat'in the sh*t.

Some poor cow, sheep or animals that some dude in Mississippi is eat'in.. which explains allot about that state and it's residents.
 
JLM
+1
#13
I quit them years ago, I found they were good if you wanted to buy 1/2 Ton of Halloween candy or 75 lbs. of pepper.

Quote: Originally Posted by SalView Post

it's unethical to put poison on the shelf, how are we supposed to know what is safe or not with regard to pet food, hell it's hard enough to know what is safe for us...I buy my cat food from the vet...I have always bought it there...she's family... less than a dollar a day...it will save a lot of money in vet bills down the road...

cheap food for them is the same as cheap food for us... = health issues


Yep, but what's the other option to eating? Nothing is more poisonous than granulated sugar!
 
Twila
#14
Quote: Originally Posted by JLMView Post

I quit them years ago, I found they were good if you wanted to buy 1/2 Ton of Halloween candy or 75 lbs. of pepper.

JLM, sometimes you just need 75lb of pepper. lol. We're a family of 4, and we do find costco to be a better deal for some things. However, I wonder how much more we waste because of the quantities...
 
JLM
#15
Quote: Originally Posted by TwilaView Post

JLM, sometimes you just need 75lb of pepper. lol. We're a family of 4, and we do find costco to be a better deal for some things. However, I wonder how much more we waste because of the quantities...


I've pretty always lived several miles from the closest Costco, so from that aspect alone the savings are minimal or doubtful. I've found for grocery shopping if you watch the flyers for 3 or 4 grocery stores you can do almost as well as Costco. Meat used to be quite expensive at Costco, albeit, it was good meat.
 

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