Jan. 30, 2013 at 8:02 PM ET
The Hartz Mountain Corp. is withdrawing some 20,000 packages of chicken jerky pet treats in the U.S. after the firm's own tests found trace amounts of antibiotic residue, the same problem that led to earlier recalls by top suppliers.
Hartz Chicken Chews and Hartz Oinkies Pig Skin Twists Wrapped with Chicken for dogs have been pulled voluntarily from retail shelves nationwide, according to the Secaucus, N.J., firm.
Company officials said they conducted independent laboratory tests after New York state agriculture officials found evidence of antibiotic residue in treats produced by Nestle Purina PetCare Corp. and Del Monte Corp. Nestle withdrew Waggin' Train and Canyon Creek Ranch brand dog treats and Del Monte pulled its Milo's Kitchen Chicken Jerky and Chicken Grillers home-style dog treats from shelves nationwide.
In addition, two more firms recalled their treats as well, including Publix stores, which recalled its private brand Chicken Tenders Dog Chew Treats and IMS Pet Industries Inc., which withdrew its Cadet Brand Chicken Jerky Treats sold in the U.S.
Hartz officials said they found evidence of antibiotic residue in about a third of the treats they tested, but removed all the products as a precaution. They were not contacted by the New York officials, but lab tests found the same unapproved drugs including sulfaclozine, tilmicosin, trimethoprim, enrofloxacin and sulfaquinoxaline.
Four of the antibiotics are approved in China, where most of the treats are made, and in other countries, but not in the U.S. A fifth is allowed in the U.S., but in virtually undetectable amounts in finished products.
There is no indication that the detection of antibiotic residue is related to an ongoing investigation into deaths and illnesses of dogs and cats linked to chicken jerky pet treats made in China, treat manufacturers and Food and Drug Administration officials agree. The trace antibiotic pose no health threat to pets or humans, FDA officials said.
The agency is continuing to investigate what may be behind reports of 500 deaths and more than 2,700 illnesses in dogs and cats who consumed chicken jerky pet treats made in China.