James Sinegal and Craig Jelinek: Why Does Costco Sell Purina’s Waggin’Train Deadly Chicken Jerky?

An Open Letter to Costco Top Executives James Sinegal and Craig Jelinek Asking Why Costco Sells Nestle Purina Chicken Jerky FDA Repeatedly Warns Can  Sicken and Kill Dogs

Dear Mr. Sinegal and Mr. Jelinek ,

Are you aware that Nestle Purina’s Waggin’ Train brand of imported chicken jerky that Costco continues to sell is made in China? Have you recently seen on TV, or read in the newspapers or on popular news sites, that over the past year (and prior years too) the FDA has repeatedly warned that countless dogs have been made sick by China made jerky, and many have died.

Skylar, a 5-year old Australian Shepherd killed by Nestle Purina's Waggin' Train Chicken Jerky bought and still sold at Costco

Just like my best friend and beloved companion, Skylar. A beautiful Australian Shepherd dog who died an agonizing death from kidney failure right around his fifth birthday. He was killed by Nestle Purina’s Waggin’ Train chicken jerky that I bought at Costco. The cause of his death was confirmed and documented by a creditable veterinarian and the remaining food provided to FDA inspectors.

May I ask you, Mr. Sinegal and Mr. Jelinek, would Costco sell toys that the Consumer Product Safety Commission warns may occasionally shock children, and sometimes electrocute them? Would you sell food to children that the FDA warned occasionally made then sick and sometimes killed them? So, why do you devalue the lives of our precious pets and sell treats that the FDA repeatedly warns may cause illness and sometimes death?

When I learned what killed my dog I immediately called your buyer. She was fully aware of the complaints about Nestle Purina’s Waggin’ Train chicken jerky. She said that the manufacturer assured her that the treats were fine and that was good enough for her. Did I accidentally call the Purina sales representative? Your buyer certainly cared more about Purina’s interests than that of the safety of the Costco customer.

Although not a single executive from Nestle Purina responded back to me when I tried to contact them, they did have their insurance adjuster call me. She gave me assurances that Purina wanted to assist me with the close to $2,000 in direct expenses brought on by Skylar’s death. It never was about the money. However, when I recently tried to contact their adjuster, she never responded back. I have since read online that Purina is not reimbursing anyone for the death of their dogs.

You must know that millions of Costco members depend on your integrity to never knowingly sell products that will harm them or their loved ones. Especially a product the FDA repeatedly warns sometimes causes sickness and death.

Do you think that at the very least Costco should post a POS warning, just like on cigarettes, that the FDA warns that chicken jerky made in China may cause sickness and death in your dog? Then people might know what symptoms to look for and know when to stop administering the poison.

Most important, Mr. Sinegal and Mr. Jelinek, do you care that Costco sold me and one of my neighbors — and countless other members — Purina Waggin’Train chicken jerky made in China that the FDA warns may sicken and kill our dogs? Attached is his picture. You have no idea of the irrevocable harm you did to him and to me. I am so heartbroken and lonely for him.

Let me ask you again, do you care?


Robert  Schumacher
Costco Gold Star Member since 1999

Nestlé Purina Refuses to Recall Waggin’ Train China Made Chicken Jerky In Spite of Repeated FDA Warnings

Nestlé Purina, manufacturer of Waggin’ Train dog treats, still refused to take their chicken jerky treats off the shelves. The company maintained that their product is safe despite reports to the FDA of over 500 dogs getting sick from chicken jerky treats brought in from China. This came a few weeks after Purina took all compensation offers to grief-stricken pet owners “off the table”.

In her popular blog site, PoisonedPets.com, regular consumer turned animal advocate Mollie Morrissette wrote an article why Purina can’t ensure their product’s safety until they test negative for the pet-killing contaminant, and why they won’t recall their products until the contaminant is identified and the issue resolved.

Here’s an excerpt from Ms. Morrissette’s well-written article.

Number one selling dog treat in US causing kidney failure, death

February 21st, 2012

Makers of Waggin’ Train dog treats Nestle Purina continue to deny today any problem with their treats despite hundreds of reports of complaints  to the FDA. They insist that their strict quality control of the chicken jerky manufactured in China prevents any problems with possible adulteration of their product. Further, Nestle-Purina states if the FDA can’t find the contaminant then they do not have to take the product off the market or take any responsibility for the illness and death of pets associated with their product.

There are two glaring problems with Nestle-Purina’s argument;  one, if the FDA doesn’t know what the contaminant is yet – how does Nestle-Purina know?  The contaminant can only be identified by first determining what the contaminant is before they can test for it. If the FDA and the University toxicology laboratories that work with the FDA have been unable to discover what the contaminant is since the problem was first recognized in 2007, how is Nestle-Purina able to? If Nestle-Purina knows something the FDA doesn’t know, then it is their duty to inform the FDA. Nestle-Purina cannot unequivocally assure the product’s safety until they can first show that the product has tested negative for the (as yet unknown) contaminant.

Second, based on the first argument it would be prudent for Nestle-Purina to issue a precautionary recall of their product until such time the contaminant is discovered.  True, Nestle-Purina is not by law required to do so, but as a manufacturer who is genuinely concerned for the health and safety of the pets consuming their product, it is their ethical and moral duty to do so.  Further, if the Wal-Mart, the largest retailer on the globe, would take a proactive stance out of an abundance of caution and remove the product until such time the manufacturer can prove the product is indeed safe, surely other retailers would follow suit.”

Click to read more

Ms. Morrissette suggested that Purina and their retailers should “do the right thing” – to immediately pull the pet treats off the shelves pending investigation of their products, if they have indeed caused renal failure and death in dogs.

Ms. Morrissette ends the post with a fitting call to action.

“A consumers basic right, legally and morally, is to expect that products brought to the marketplace are safe. Without that assurance, consumer trust and the economics of an entire society are compromised. Indeed, if one takes a long view of the consequences of eroded consumer confidence – any first year student of economics will tell you that without it, the future stability and financial success of corporate America is on very shaky ground.  That reason alone should inspire Nestle-Purina to do the right thing, if, after all, it affects their bottom line. And that, is what they would call a good thing.”

If your pets show any sign of suspicious illnesses, you can report to the FDA Pet Food Complaint website.

Nestle Purina Sells Waggin’Train Dog Treats Made In China In Spite Of FDA Repeated Warnings

China Made Waggin'Train Chicken Jerky

Purina's Chicken Jerky says that "Waggin'Train is an American owned company," but it's products are made in China. No indication is given about the FDA warnings.

Nestlé Purina continues to sell chicken jerky manufactured in China though its subsidiary Waggin’Train, LLC, even though the FDA has repeatedly cautioned consumers of a potential association between the development of severe illness and even death in dogs from the consumption of these Chinese made dog “treats.”

FDA Repeats Warning

In a November 2011 update to it’s 2007 warning, “The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) continues to caution consumers of a potential association between the development of illness in dogs and the consumption of chicken jerky products also described as chicken tenders, strips or treats. FDA continues to receive complaints of dogs experiencing illness that their owners or veterinarians associate with consumption of chicken jerky products. The chicken jerky products are imported to the U.S. from China. FDA issued a cautionary warning to consumers in September 2007.”

“FDA is advising consumers who choose to feed their dogs chicken jerky products to watch their dogs closely for any or all of the following signs which may occur within hours to days of feeding the product: decreased appetite, although some may continue to consume the treats to the exclusion of other foods; decreased activity; vomiting; diarrhea, sometimes with blood; and increased water consumption and/or increased urination. If the dog shows any of these signs, stop feeding the chicken jerky product. Owners should consult their veterinarian if signs are severe or persist for more than 24 hours. Blood tests may indicate kidney failure (increased urea nitrogen and creatinine). Urine tests may indicate Fanconi syndrome (increased glucose). Although most dogs appear to recover, some reports to the FDA have involved dogs that have died.”

Click here to read the entire FDA warning

Contact the FDA If Your Dog Gets Ill From Chicken Jerky

The FDA continues to actively investigate the problem. Veterinarians and consumers alike should report cases of animal illness associated with pet foods to the FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator in their state.

Click here for a list of FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinators

If your dog has gotten ill or died from chicken jerky made in China, immediately notify the FDA.