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Don't Mess with My Pet

Chinese drugmakers were using "gutter oil" in place of soybean oil to make 7-aminocephalosporinic acid, or 7-ACA, which is used to manufacture antibiotics.

By MIKE AUERBACH, Editor, Pharmaceutical Processing

China. That huge potential market for pharmaceuticals is growing economically by leaps and bounds. Most international pharmaceutical companies want their own slice of that market β€” a market that is growing more affluent, spending more and unfortunately seeing an increase in diseases associated with their new found affluence.

Pharma companies within China are seeing these new opportunities as well, and are quickly expanding their operations to not only meet the need within their own country, but also with an eye to export their products worldwide.

With this rapid expansion have come numerous quality missteps. The most infamous of these was the heparin scandal of a few years ago when the blood thinner was tainted with an unauthorized additive that triggered severe allergic reactions in patients β€” some of them fatal.

Recently, it was revealed that several Chinese drugmakers were using "gutter oil" to make their antibiotics. Gutter oil is discarded cooking oil taken from restaurants and even street drains near these restaurants and used in place of soybean oil to make 7-aminocephalosporinic acid, or 7-ACA, which is used to manufacture antibiotics.

One of the newest quality issues to surface concerns chicken β€œjerky” pet treats made in China. According to the FDA, it has received approximately 2,200 reports of pet illnesses that may be related to consumption of the jerky treats.

Chloe, my 10-pound Cockapoo (pictured here in need of a grooming), loves the chicken jerky treats β€” but they have been completely removed from her diet.

The American Pet Product Association says that, in 2012, approximately $20.46 billion will be spent on pet food in the United States. At the same time, imports of dog and cat food from China, in millions of pounds per year, have gone from almost nothing in 2000 to almost 86 million pounds in 2011. The relationship is clear β€” the more pet food and treats we import from China β€” the more our pets are becoming ill.

So China, we all know you want to play in the world markets β€” but please β€” don't mess with my pet.

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