Just six months after an epidemic of pet illnesses and deaths across the United States was blamed on contaminated Chinese proteins in pet food, the federal government has announced indictments against three companies, including two from China.
Named in the indictments released by the U.S. attorney’s office in Kansas City, Mo., were Xuzhou Anying Biologic Technology Development Co., Suzhou Textiles, Silk, Light Industrial Products, Arts and Crafts I/E Co. and ChemNutra Inc. of Las Vegas, according to a report from the Associated Press.
The tainted pet food was blamed for the deaths of dozens, perhaps hundreds, of house pets last year and an inflation in the fear American consumers felt toward products from China amidst a long series of reports about contaminated products ranging from sardines to toothbrushes.
The companies were named in two separate but related indictments, the report said.
One alleged Xuzhou Anying Biologic, headquartered in China’s Jiangsu Province, and Suzhou Textiles, of the city with the same name, introduced contaminated or adulterated food into interstate commerce as well as introducing “misbranded” food, for a total of 26 counts.
The report said ChemNutra, owned by Chinese national Sally Quing Miller and husband Stephen S. Miller, were accused of the same charges plus one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
The report said the indictments accuse Suzhou of incorrectly labeling more than 800 tons of wheat gluten that had been poisoned with melamine to avoid governmental inspections, and then failing to declare the material when it was hauled to the United States to be used in food.
The government alleges the product was delivered to ChemNutra at the port of entry in Kansas City, and resold to pet food makers who used it in their products.
Government authorities allege the melamine was dumped into the gluten so that it would meet a “required standard” for protein content.
“Millions of pet owners remember the anxiety of last year’s pet food recall. The indictments are the product of an investigation that began in the wake of that recall,” said a statement prepared by U.S. Attorney John Wood.
WND, which has been documenting reports of contaminated products from China, has confirmed Food and Drug Administration inspectors are finding increased cases with products that have been contaminated with carcinogens, bacteria or banned drugs.
Among the products turned away from U.S. borders were:
- salted bean curd cubes in brine with chili and sesame oil
- dried apple
- dried peach
- dried pear
- dried round bean curd
- dried mushroom
- frozen bay scallops
- frozen Pacific cod
- frozen seafood mix
- fermented bean curd
- frozen eel
- frozen red raspberry crumble
Frozen catfish was stopped because it was laced with banned antibiotics. Scallops and sardines were turned away because they were coated with putrefying bacteria.
Toothbrushes were rejected because they were improperly labeled. And the FDA found Chinese toothpaste contaminated with a chemical used in antifreeze – the same chemical that killed people in Panama in 2006 when it turned up in cough syrup.
In one case, the U.S. warned consumers not to buy or eat imported fish labeled as monkfish, which actually may be puffer fish, containing a potentially deadly toxin called tetrodotoxin. Many times inspectors simply call the products “filthy” when they can smell the rot and decay evident on arrival in America.
In the age of globalization, food imports in America are big business and getting bigger. In 2006, they represented $64 billion – a 33 percent increase over 2003. No country is increasing its food exports faster than China – about 20 percent in the last year alone.