A posting on the ProMed website for September 22nd deals with the potential danger to U.S. pets from jerky treats exported to the USA from—guess where—China. Seems that we can’t make chicken products for our dogs in our country any longer, or more to the point, any cheaper. Local producers have been displaced by the purchasing prowess and distribution power of Wal-Mart to keep tails wagging. Apart from the dangers of melamine adulteration, as reported in a release from the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) on September 17th in advance of an October publication, the possibility of contamination with avian pathogens must be considered.

Leaving aside the possibility of Salmonella and Listeria in these products, how can our regulatory authorities even countenance the import of poultry meat products from a Nation where H5N1 highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) and other low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) strains are endemic? What assurance is there that the pet treats comprising duck and chicken meat do not harbor viable influenza or other viral pathogens? I would hate to read at some time in the future, the report of an epidemiologic investigation of some future extensive outbreak of HPAI, costing upward of $1 billion to eradicate an outbreak that was attributable to the injudicious and uncontrolled importation of products serving as a vehicle of infection.