Following an update earlier this week from the Food and Drug Administration that a jerky treat from China was linked to as many as 1,000 dog deaths, pet store giants Petco and Petsmart announced on Tuesday they will no longer be selling products from China.
Now this is a significant announcement. Only a few years ago, nearly 90 percent of dog treats sold in the U.S. were made in China. Petco says in recent years it has been making an effort to cut back on imported products but about 50 percent of jerky treats sold there now are still from China.
Along with the health complaints from customers, the trend of buying local goods as well as paying attention to quality ingredients in dog treats, toys and food, will give the retailer even more incentive to move right to U.S.-made products. Presumably, the low cost is what kept pet stores stocking the shelves with imported treats, but now there’s a wider audience that’s willing to pay more for products made at home.
Petco has pledged to remove all cat and dog products produced in China by the end of this year and Petsmart is shooting for a complete removal by March of 2015.
Petco’s chief executive says that they’ve been following along with the FDA’s warnings and customer complaints (around 5,000) since 2007, when complaints over the chicken jerky first started. He said that stores have been reducing the number of products imported from China since then. A Petsmart spokesperson reflected the sentiment, saying, “This is something we’ve been working toward for some time, and feel it’s the right thing to do for pets and our customers.”
If you’re a pet-owner, do you continue to buy products from pet stores and continue to hope the FDA doesn’t discover anything wrong with the U.S.-made products or do you use this as an opportunity to take control of what you’re feeding your dog and start making your own dog treats?