(USA Today) Petco will stop selling all dog and cat treats made in China by the end of this year.
The decision came after years of nationwide complaints to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that a jerky treat from China was possibly making pets sick.
The decision affects all of its 1,300 stores and sales on 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.
Five years ago, 90% of the pet industry's jerky treats were made in China, said Lisa Stark, spokeswoman for Petco, in an interview with USA TODAY Network.
"We've been working over several years to transition to more USA-made," Stark said.
Currently, about 50% of the jerky treats sold by Petco is from China, and by the end of the year, no China-made jerky treats will be sold by the retailer, Stark said.
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.
Since 2007, the FDA has received about 4,800 reports of pet illnesses possibly related to the consumption of jerky treats, many made in China. Among the reports were 1,000 dog deaths, according to the FDA.
Most of the complaints involved chicken jerky, but others included duck, sweet potato and chicken or duck jerky wrapped around dried fruits, according to the FDA.
FDA advises pet owners to watch their pets closely for any change in appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, increased water consumption or increased urination. In severe cases, pets could experience kidney failure or gastrointestinal bleeding.
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