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"The Food and Drug Administration, it appears, could use a team of bloodhounds permanently stationed in China.
Nearly six years after the first reports of pet deaths linked to chicken, duck and sweet potato jerky treats, FDA officials say they still haven't tracked down the culprit.
Repeated tests at manufacturing plants in China, the source of the majority of the toxic treats, have yet to yield a definitive cause, according to the federal agency.
So FDA officials are appealing to pet owners and veterinarians to send them more information about pets who've fallen ill or died after eating jerky treats. Reports can be made at www.fda.gov.
The FDA, meanwhile, is proceeding with the creation of new regulations for pet food, part of a larger overhaul of the nation's food safety laws. The rules would require manufacturers to develop and follow plans for animal food safety.
The new regulations, if monitored closely, appear to be a step forward for consumers who - quite clearly - are left guessing about the safety of much of what they buy for their pets.
The push for regulation was spurred in part by the biggest recall of pet food in U.S. history six years ago, when it was learned that dog and cat food from a Chinese manufacturer contained melamine, a compound used in plastics. More than 4,000 cats and dogs were killed in America.
Since 2007, the FDA has received reports of illnesses involving 3,600 dogs and 10 cats and the deaths of 580 dogs related to the jerky treats, according to The Associated Press. Nearly all of the poisonous treats were manufactured in China. "