Man’s Best Friends are Dog-Tired of Made-in-China Products

By Elizabeth Brotherton-Bunch
Jun 16 2014 |

Here at the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM), we’re as sick as a dog … of hearing about dangerous pet treats from China poisoning our canine companions.

That’s why we’re glad to see that Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Rep. Christopher Smith (R-N.J.) will oversee a congressional hearing Tuesday to examine the safety of imported pet treats and processed chicken from China.

As our canine friends explain below, there are a lot of goods imported from China that are unsafe. In fact, one report found that many Chinese suppliers knowingly put cheap, unsafe ingredients into the products they sell.  

But let’s start with pet treats. Sadly, at least 1,000 dogs have died after eating treats produced in China. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has received more than 4,800 complaints from loving pet owners who say their furry friends have gotten sick from jerky treats from China.

Citing consumer concerns, leading pet store chains Petco and PetSmart have said they plan to pull any treats made in China from their shelves. Meanwhile, the FDA “is investigating whether there is a direct link between the pet illnesses and the China-made treats but has not yet made that determination.”

Meanwhile, chickens raised in the United States may soon be sent to China to be processed, then sent back to the U.S. to be sold. That has some people worried, especially since researchers are exploring whether Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea — a dangerous virus that affects pigs and first reported in the United States in 2013 — came to the U.S. via China.

There are now serious concerns as to whether China’s food safety regulations are effective — and whether U.S. government regulations of imported food from China are effective. In addition, there are questions as to whether food labels adequately allow American consumers to see if its foods “or its constituent components” come from China.

But it’s not just food safety we should worry about — China-made infrastructure also is unsafe. Case in point: Officials in California awarded a contract to a China-based company to build key parts of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge to save money. But that company ignored quality requirements, which impacted the safety of the bridge. That caused the project to fall behind schedule and cost hundreds of millions of dollars (and the shoddy construction will cost taxpayers for years to come).

Then there are toxic toys produced in China. Prominent toy makers in the past have had to recall their China-made products because of toys coated in lead paint. But it hasn't  stopped. In 2013, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York even charged five firms for illegally importing hazardous toys to the United States.

Even toothpaste isn’t safe. Back in 2007, the FDA warned consumers to stop using any toothpaste made in China because it could contain the poisonous chemical diethylene glycol, an ingredient used in antifreeze!

Even the military— you know, which oversees our national defense — has purchased made-in-China goods to help build fighter jets. As Reuters reported, the “Pentagon repeatedly waived laws banning Chinese-built components on U.S. weapons in order to keep the $392 billion Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 fighter program on track in 2012 and 2013, even as U.S. officials were voicing concern about China's espionage and military buildup.”

We applaud Sen. Brown and Rep. Smith for examining the important issue of both people and pet food made in China, and hope action is taken to protect U.S. consumers from danger.

And we add that if we can’t trust China to produce safe pet treats, why are we also trusting them to build our bridges, create toys our kids play with and supply our military?