Thursday, February 7, 2008

UPDATE: 3 Companies Indicted in Pet Food Case

This story got about 30 seconds on the morning news today, with no details given about the companies. As a pet owner, I think it deserves a little more coverage from the media. I remember all too well the anxiety of the pet food recall last year. And as a friend, I know several people who lost their pets to tainted food. Knowing that those who made money off the total disregard for the lives of our loyal companions are bring brought to justice is some small comfort.

From the AP:
Two Chinese businesses and a U.S. company were indicted Wednesday in the tainted pet food incidents that killed potentially thousands of animals last year and raised worries about products made in China.

Xuzhou Anying Biologic Technology Development Co.; Suzhou Textiles, Silk, Light Industrial Products Arts and Crafts I/E Co.; and Las Vegas-based ChemNutra Inc. were charged in two separate but related indictments.

The U.S. attorney's office in Kansas City said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has received consumer reports suggesting 1,950 cats and 2,200 dogs died after eating food contaminated with the toxic chemical melamine.

The indictments allege that Suzhou Textiles, an export broker, mislabeled 800 metric tons of tainted wheat gluten manufactured by Xuzhou to avoid inspection in China. Suzhou then did not properly declare the contaminated product it shipped to the U.S. as a material to be used in food, the indictment says.

It also says the shipment was falsely declared to the Chinese government in a way that would avoid a mandatory inspection of the company's plants.

"The defendants intended to deceive the Chinese government in addition to consumers," Wood said.

According to the indictment, ChemNutra picked up the melamine-tainted product at a port of entry in Kansas City, then sold it to makers of various brands of pet foods. The indictment alleges that Xuzhou added the melamine to artificially boost the protein content of the gluten to meet the requirements specified in Suzhou's contract with ChemNutra.

Wood said adding the melamine, which would allow it to pass chemical inspections for protein content, was cheaper than actually adding protein to the gluten.
UPDATE: The more I thought about that sentence in red above, the more I wondered how far-reaching this ChemNutra company's sales might be. Menu Foods buys wheat gluten from ChemNutra. The following brands are just some of the ones sold by Menu Foods. (Who by the way is suing ChemNutra.)
  • America's Choice
  • Companion
  • Co-Op Gold
  • Drs Foster & Smith
  • Food Lion
  • Giant Companion
  • Hill Country Fare
  • Nutro
  • Sophistacat
  • Wegmans

1 comment:

Rhea said...

I'm also hoping these indictments are splashed all over the news tonight.