SAN DIEGO - Petco says it will stop selling dog and cat treats made in China by the end of this year due to ongoing fears that the imported treats are making pets sick.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration hasn't been able to identify why pets are getting ill. Since it launched an investigation late last year, the FDA said it received more than 4,800 complaints of pet illnesses and 1,000 dog deaths after eating Chinese-made chicken, duck or sweet potato jerky treats.
However, the FDA has been unable to prove a direct link.
The San Diego-based pet specialty giant, which operates 1,300 stores, says shoppers are asking it to stop selling the treats. The pet food retailer is switching them out for treats made in the U.S., New Zealand, Australia and South America.
In a statement, Petco CEO Jim Myers said the company has been decreasing its China-made products while expanding its “American-made offerings for several years now.”
“We know the FDA hasn’t yet identified a direct cause for the reported illnesses, but we decided the uncertainty of the situation outweighs the lack of actual proof.”
The switch will also apply to the Unleashed by Petco stores, as well as online at Petco.com.
“We know some pet parents are wary of dog and cat treats made in China, especially Chicken Jerky products, and we’ve heard their concerns,” said Jim Myers, Petco CEO, in a statement Tuesday. “As a leader in the industry and the trusted partner for our pet parents, we’re eager to make this transition and to expand our assortment of safe and healthy treats, the majority of which are made right here in the U.S. Very simply, we feel this decision is in the best interest of the pets we all love and, ultimately, for our business.”