Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Toxicity in the Food Supply: Made in China

I'm considering changing the name of this blog from "The Pabulum" to "Exposing BS" because that seems to be where my passion resides these days. Today's entry is focused on a product called Waggin' Trail Jerky Treats, a product I've been feeding my 5-month-old English Pointer for over a month now, only to find out there is a large class action lawsuit pending against the manufacturer Nestle Purina as well as three large retailers: Wal-Mart, Target, and Costco. Hidden on the back of the package in small type, which apparently escaped my attention, reads "Product of China." The product is alledgedly responsible for thousands of canine deaths, causing kidney disease.
I would never have found out about any of this had a Facebook friend not posted a story about it on his page. After a Google search, I found dozens if not hundreds of stories about this issue. To date, nothing has been resolved. In fact, here is the latest update, according to the website

8/17/12: Pet treat investigation expands beyond chicken jerky FDA is now investigating duck and sweet potato jerkies as well. Article also has additional details about chicken jerky, including, "In a sampling of about 270 complaints the FDA recently posted online, more than 20 brands are identified. The most cited is Waggin’ Train, referenced in about 75 complaints. Second is Kingdom Pets [Costco's brand] with 25 mentions, followed by Milo’s Kitchen, named in 15."

The store I bought the product from, Tractor Supply, had no signs, warnings - nothing. So I called the store manager, enraged that the company is keeping the product on the shelves in light of such an uproar. I was told that, to paraphrase, the manufacturing plant where the treats in question were made were not sent to their store, that they pay careful attention to recalls and they take pride in making sure their products are safe. Yeah, I thought it was B.S. too. So I called the company headquarters' customer service department. The representative I spoke to looked up the product, and the only information he had was that in April, when the class action lawsuit was first brought on, that Tractor Supply put up signs in their stores (only until the end of April, mind you) that basically spewed some FDA warning about not using these treats in place of food, and to only give pets one or two treats a day.
Not good enough. I could have a puppy with early stage kidney disease, for which there is no cure for dogs I might add, and that's the best you can give me? I want these off the shelves now.
I don't know how many of you are dog lovers, but as a consumer of food in general, this should alarm you. Here there are thousands of people taking action against a Chinese manufacturer and U.S. big box stores (perhaps others as well) continue to provide to an unknowning customer base.
One big lesson from this: Become an avid and anal package (not just label) reader, and ask questions.
And by the way, I am currently awaiting contact from Tractor Supply's "risk assessment department." I'll keep you posted.

Reference: The Purina Waggin' Train Chicken Dog Treat Class Action Lawsuit case is Adkins v. Nestle Purina Petcare Co., Case No. 12-cv-2871, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois, Chicago.


  1. Dear Jacey Nodin:

    I am as outraged as you that this product is still on store shelves. However, I found out too late. My beautiful German Shepherd, Heidi, perished on May 28, 2012 as a result of eating two pieces of Waggin' Train Jerky Tenders.

    I launched a campaign to get these products off store shelves, coincidentally on the same date you wrote this article (September 5, 2012). Thank you for your efforts in spreading the message and warning the public about the dangers of jerky pet treats.

    You can read Heidi's story and join over 69,000 supporters here >>>

  2. Wal-Mart, Target, and Costco. Hidden on the http // back of the package in small type, which apparently escaped my attention, reads "Product of China.