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Dogswell Withdraws Jerky Treats

Today we received notice that Dogswell "voluntarily" withdrew select jerky treat from the market. This is rather ironic because just a couple days ago we visited the Dogswell's booth at Superzoo, a huge pet trade show in Las Vegas, and asked them about their new marketing campaign "Live Free." When asked what that means, a salesperson told us that not only does it refer to their ingredients (i.e. the chickens are supposedly raised cage-free, even though they source the meat from China!), but also that their products are free of corn, soy and fillers, etc. Plus, it means dogs can live free of harmful, unnatural ingredients! Oh my. Obviously this "voluntary" (a misnomer if there ever was one) withdrawal belies that assertion. Note this is the same "antibiotic residue" problem that happened with the Chinese jerky that we reported on here.

 

This notice is from the Dogswell site.

Dear Fellow Pet Parent:

At Dogswell, our number one priority is the safety of our products and the health of our canine and feline customers. We strive to make and sell only the highest quality treats and food with added vitamins that provide great taste and functional benefits such as improved hip health, skin and coat health, and other benefits.

During routine testing of our products, the New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets (NYSDAM) discovered that a sample of our Dogswell Happy Hips Chicken Breast Jerky contained trace amounts of an antibiotic residue that has not been approved for use in the United States. It is important to note that this antibiotic is accepted for use in other countries (including the European Union), and there is no evidence that products containing trace amounts of this antibiotic pose a health risk for pets or humans. Since we were notified by the NYSDAM the week of July 22nd, we have made the decision to voluntarily withdraw Chicken Breast and Duck Breast jerky under the Breathies, Happy Heart, Happy Hips, Mellow Mut, Shape Up, Veggie Life, Vitality, and Vitakitty brands that are labeled with a “Best Before” date of January 28th, 2015 or any earlier date. The vast majority of these products were distributed before March 1st of this year. No other products are affected.

Since January, we have been using state-of-the-art testing procedures to ensure that our chicken and duck products do not contain these or other unapproved antibiotics. All chicken and duck breast jerky products with a “Best Before” date of January 29, 2015 and later have been fully tested for and do not contain these antibiotics.

It is important that you know that all Dogswell and Catswell products remaining on the market are safe to feed as directed.

We have issued a press release to make our consumers like you aware of the situation. We also identified the stores that received the product, and contacted them to destroy any affected products in their possession (if any).

We are doing everything we can to resolve this situation quickly and ensure that our consumers like you can feel confident feeding Dogswell and Catswell products to their companions, as we do here.

To learn more about the affected product, we invite you to read our “frequently asked questions” below. If you would like to speak with someone live, you can call us at 1-888-559-8833 or email us at info@dogswell.com. If we are unable to get to your call or it is after hours, please leave us a message and we will get back to you as quickly as possible.

We thank you, our valued customers, for your understanding, and we hope to be able to regain your trust.

Yours,
Brad Armistead

Frequently Asked Questions
What products are being withdrawn by Dogswell and Catswell?
Dogswell and Catswell are voluntarily withdrawing Dogswell and Catswell brand jerky treats made with chicken or duck with a ”Best Before” date of January 28th, 2015 or any earlier date.

Why are Dogswell and Catswell withdrawing these treats?
We were recently notified by the New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets (NYSDAM) that a batch of our Happy Hips Chicken Jerky treats contained trace amounts of an antibiotic residue that has not been approved for use in the United States. Therefore, the company decided to withdraw any chicken or duck jerky treats that have not been tested for this antibiotic.

Have there been any reports of pets getting sick from eating treats that contain this antibiotic?
There is no evidence that products containing trace amounts of this antibiotic pose a health risk for pets.

How can I tell if I have a product that is affected by the withdrawal?
First, you should check the name of the front of the package. If it says anything other than Chicken Breast or Duck Breast, it is not a part of this withdrawal.

If your package does say Chicken Breast or Duck Breast, you should turn the package over. In the bottom right hand corner of the package printed in black ink on the seam, you should find the words “Best Before”. After “Best Before” is a series of eight numbers, such as:

07262015 or 07/26/2015

This number would be translated to the date July 26, 2015 (07 for July, 26 for the day of the month, and 2015 for the year). The products affected by this withdrawal are for “Best Before” dates of January 28th, 2015 or any earlier date (which would read as 01282015 or 01/28/2015). Any product with a “Best Before” date after that time has been tested for unapproved antibiotics and has been cleared.

If you find that you have a product that is affected, please call us for a full refund at 1-888-559-8833.

If you are having trouble determining if you have the product that was affected, or if you would like to speak with us directly about a full refund, please contact us directly at 1-888-559-8833 or email us at info@dogswell.com.

I just went to the store and saw your products there. Why is there so much Dogswell product on the shelf there if it has been withdrawn?
As of January, we have been using state-of-the-art testing on each batch of chicken and duck jerky to ensure that they do not contain these unapproved antibiotics. All of the products that you see on the shelf have passed testing and were approved to be sold.

Call us directly if you have any concerns or questions about DOGSWELL® products. We're here until 5:00 PM PST Mon-Fri  888-559-8833.

What does DOGSWELL do to make sure its products are safe?
Our manufacturing facilities are designed to prevent cross-contamination and all of our products are manufactured under strict sanitary conditions. We closely monitor these facilities, and also regularly visit them to ensure the quality and safety of our products. Our co-packing plants operate under HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points), a system for managing food safety. Also, U.S. - based Third Party Food Safety Auditors make announced and unannounced visits to the audit all food safety and quality systems in which our facilities have always received high scores.

Where are your products manufactured?
Most DOGSWELL products are manufactured in the US. Some of our treats are manufactured in China, but we hold these facilities to the same stringent quality standards we maintain at our US facilities. DOGSWELL sources its ingredients based upon where we find top quality ingredients and a high quality supplier whose facilities and practices meet our safety testing standards.

Why are the jerky treats made in China?
China is a country where dark meat is more popular due to its inherent fat and flavor. DOGSWELL believes it is less wasteful to obtain our white meat in China where it is abundant, rather than sourcing it domestically, where white meat is less available and held at a premium. Not only do we care about your pet's health by sourcing only the healthiest meat available, we also practice sustainability by reducing as much waste as possible.

How do you test your products?
Every batch of DOGSWELL product is tested for melamine, bacteria and other contaminants.  All of our ingredients are carefully chosen and we conduct regular testing in U.S. facilities using APPA-approved methodology. Quality assurance is critically important and has been part of our standard operating procedure, and an integral part of our company, since day one. Please see below for a link to our test results.

How do you prevent salmonella from contaminating your jerky products?
The DOGSWELL® facility is specifically designed to prevent any cross contamination. Salmonella is one of the easiest contaminants to prevent. Salmonella is killed after 23 seconds at 160 degrees. We ensure that that all of our poultry jerky products are cooked at 160 degrees for ten hours. While some manufacturers choose a quicker “flash cooking process” to irradiate their products, DOGSWELL® has chosen the slow-cooking method to provide a clean, safe treat.

What is the Cage-Free Difference?
Cage-free chickens are kept in barns where they can roam, scratch and perch as they please. Our chickens eat a natural diet, have plenty of room to roam, and live and grow free of stress.

To view our Quality Assurance Brochure, please click here

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Claudia Kawczynska is The Bark's co-founder and editor in chief. thebark.com
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