FDA PET JERKY TREAT FACTS FDA has been actively investigating consumer complaints about jerky pet treats causing illness in dogs and in some cats. As of Sept. 24, 2013, over 3,600 dogs and 10 cats have reportedly become ill from eating jerky pet treats. The treats are sold as jerky tenders or strips and are made with chicken, duck, sweet potato, dried fruit, and in combinations of these ingredients.Product samples have been tested for contaminants known to cause the symptoms and illnesses reported in pets including Salmonella, metals, pesticides, and antibiotics, and were screened for other chemicals and poisonous compounds. Nutritional composition analyses have been conducted including fatty acids, crude fiber, glycerol, protein, ash and moisture, and other excess nutrients. The purpose of nutritional composition testing is to verify the presence of ingredients listed on the label. To date, none of the tests have revealed the cause of the illnesses. Treats Are a TreatPet treats are not a necessary part of a fully balanced diet, so eliminating them will not harm pets. All the nutrients your pet needs can be found in commercially produced pet food.What to Look Out ForWatch your pet closely. Signs that may occur within hours to days of feeding the products are decreased appetite, decreased activity, vomiting, diarrhea (sometimes with blood or mucus), increased water consumption and/or increased urination. Severe cases are diagnosed with pancreatitis, gastrointestinal bleeding, and kidney failure or the resemblance of a rare kidney related illness called Fanconi syndrome. Although FDA has reports of more than 580 deaths, many pets have recovered.Testing SamplesFDA is testing samples of jerky pet treats. FDA is working with the Veterinary Laboratory Investigation Response Network (Vet-LIRN) to test samples of jerky pet treats. FDA laboratories and the other animal health diagnostic laboratories in the Vet-LIRN™ network obtain samples of treats directly from the source for testing. In some instances, after obtaining medical histories of pets that have been seen by a veterinarian, FDA may plan and organize testing of treats collected from consumers based on the case profiles. FDA recommends that pet owners whose pet becomes sick after eating jerky pet treats should hold on to any unused portion of the product in its original container for at least 60 days, in case FDA calls to request samples for testing. Owners should place the container inside a sealable plastic bag, if possible. Contacts You can help FDA’s investigation by reporting your complaints through the Safety Reporting Portal (www.safetyreporting.hhs.gov) or your local FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator (www.fda.gov/Safety/ReportaProblem/ConsumerComplaintCoordinators/default.htm). You can also contact the pet food/treats company (see packaging for contact information) and alert them about your pet’s illness.If you require the use of a Relay Service, please call the Federal Relay Services toll-free from a TTY device (1-800-877-8339). For More InformationFDA Center for Veterinary Medicine:www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/default.htm Report pet food complaints:www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/SafetyHealth/ReportaProblem/ucm182403.htm Questions & Answers about jerky treats:www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/SafetyHealth/ProductSafetyInformation/ucm295445.htm Created: October 2013 FDA warns about feeding your pet a raw-food diet In a new study, compared to other types of pet food tested, raw pet food was more likely to be contaminated with disease-causing bacteria, the FDA said The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is cautioning pet owners about feeding their animals raw diets, warning that those who do may have a higher risk of getting infected with Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes. In a new study, compared to other types of pet food tested, raw pet food was more likely to be contaminated with disease-causing bacteria, the agency said. The new warning was issued after a two-year study, in which the FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) screened more than 1,000 samples of pet food for bacteria that can cause foodborne illnesses. In the study, CVM sampled 196 commercially available raw dog and cat food. The center bought a variety of raw pet food online from different manufacturers and had the products shipped directly to six laboratories for analysis, according to the FDA. The raw pet-food products were usually frozen in tubelike packages and made from ground meat or sausage. Of the samples analyzed, 15 were positive for salmonella and 32 were positive for listeria. The study "identified a potential health risk for the pets eating the raw food, and for the owners handling the product," said Dr. Renate Reimschuessel, a researcher at CVM's Office of Research and one of the study's principal investigators. The FDA said the best way to prevent infection is to not feed your pet a raw diet; however, the agency is aware that some people prefer this type of food and offers some tips to prevent salmonella and listeria: . Thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water (for at least 20 seconds) after handling raw pet food, and after touching surfaces or objects that have come in contact with the raw food. Potential contaminated surfaces include countertops and the inside of refrigerators and microwaves. Potential contaminated objects include kitchen utensils, feeding bowls and cutting boards. . Thoroughly clean and disinfect all surfaces and objects that come in contact with raw pet food. You can also run items through the dishwasher after each use to clean and disinfect them. . Freeze raw meat and poultry products until you are ready to use them, and thaw them in your refrigerator or microwave, not on your countertop or in your sink. . Carefully handle raw and frozen meat and poultry products. Don't rinse raw meat, poultry, fish and seafood. Bacteria in the raw juices can splash and spread to other food and surfaces. . Keep raw food separate from other food. . Immediately cover and refrigerate what your pet doesn't eat or throw the leftovers out safely. . If you're using raw ingredients to make your own cooked pet food, be sure to cook all food to a proper internal temperature as measured by a food thermometer. Thorough cooking kills harmful foodborne bacteria. . Don't kiss your pet around its mouth, and don't let your pet lick your face. This is especially important after your pet has just finished eating raw food. . Thoroughly wash your hands after touching or being licked by your pet. If your pet gives you a "kiss," be sure to also wash your face.