NEW YORK – Nestle Purina PetCare is taking Waggin' Train and Canyon Creek Ranch brand dog treats off the market because the products may contain trace amounts of a poultry antibiotic that isn't approved in the U.S.
The chicken jerky products, which are made in China, may contain minute amounts of antibiotic residue, Purina said Wednesday. The antibiotic has been approved by Chinese and European Union regulators, but not in the U.S.
The treats are safe to feed to pets, Purina said. Still, they are being taken off the market in the U.S. until further notice.
The recall doesn't cover other Purina products or Canyon Creek Ranch dog and cat foods.
The move by Purina, a U.S. division of Swiss consumer products giant Nestle that is based in St. Louis, comes as U.S. regulators look into reports of pet illnesses stemming from their snacks.
The Food and Drug Administration says reports of sick pets connected to jerky treats, particularly chicken jerky made in China, have been increasing for years. The agency said in September that it had been notified of 360 dogs that died after eating jerky treats over the last 18 months and is conducting a broad investigation. No definitive cause for the dogs' sicknesses has yet been identified.
Waggin' Train is mentioned often in the reports made to the FDA, and Canyon Creek is also named in a few reports. Purina said Wednesday that there is no indication the recall is linked to the problems the FDA is investigating.
Symptoms reported to the FDA include gastrointestinal problems like vomiting and diarrhea, as well as kidney problems, which can cause dogs to drink and urinate more than usual.
The FDA says that commercially produced pet foods contain all the nutrients that pets need, so treats are not necessary for nutrition, and commercial pet food "is very safe."