Video: Wal-Mart pulls tainted dog treats

updated 8/22/2007 8:03:38 PM ET 2007-08-23T00:03:38

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Wednesday it was checking dog treats recently pulled from Wal-Mart’s shelves but had not yet detected any chemical or biological contamination in the Chinese-made products.

Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said the world’s largest retailer was aware of other companies selling the suspect products to pet owners.

Bentonville-based Wal-Mart said this week it had stopped selling Chicken Jerky Strips from Import-Pingyang Pet Product Co. and Chicken Jerky from Shanghai Bestro Trading in July, after customers said the products sickened their pets.

Wal-Mart said 17 tests showed trace levels of melamine, the same pesticide byproduct that led to a widespread pet food recall in March after an unknown number of dogs and cats died. More than 150 brands of pet food were recalled after U.S. inspectors said wheat gluten from China that was used to make the food was tainted with melamine.

More testing recommended
FDA spokeswoman Kimberly Rawlings said Wednesday the agency was “actively” investigating Wal-Mart’s products in light of the store’s pulling the items from its shelves.

“We have tested numerous samples of chicken jerky pet treats for possible contaminants including melamine,” she said in an e-mail to The Associated Press. “To date we have NOT detected any contaminants. We are continuing to test.”

She also said the FDA had reviewed Wal-Mart’s lab report that mentions 20 parts per million of melamine. “This level of melamine would not be expected to result in any animal illness,” Rawlings said.

Wal-Mart spokeswoman Deisha Galberth said that with such small amounts of melamine found, its laboratory recommended more testing.

Galberth said Wal-Mart was aware of other retailers selling the products, but she declined to name them. Rawlings could not be reached for further comment late Wednesday.

Wal-Mart said Tuesday that customers should be especially wary of jerky from Shanghai Bestro Trading with the UPC number 0087784900006 and item number 839751. The company said customers who bought one of the products could return it to the nearest store for a refund.

Wal-Mart pulled the products from shelves July 26 and placed a computerized block on all cash registers to prevent workers from selling the products. Galberth has said Wal-Mart didn’t make a public announcement at that time because it wanted to complete its testing first.

As recently as 2005, the FDA blocked some pet treat imports from Pingyang Pet Product Co. because of contamination with salmonella.

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