I’m glad the FDA has gotten serious about people knowingly importing and selling tainted food from China. They have indicted two Chinese nationals living in the US and an executive of an American company. It would be nice if they did this for foods that threaten human beings, but for the next 347 days I guess I’ll have to settle for crimes against pets.
Several companies are involved, including Suzhou Textiles, Silk, Light Industrial Products, Arts and Crafts I/E Co. LTD. (SSC), a Chinese export broker that exports products from China to the United States; and ChemNutra, Inc., a Las Vegas, Nevada corporation that buys food and food components from China to sell to U.S. companies in the food industry:
The indictments allege that more than 800 tons of purported wheat gluten, totaling nearly $850,000, was imported into the United States between Nov. 6, 2006, and Feb. 21, 2007. According to the indictments, SSC falsely declared to the Chinese government that those shipments were not subject to mandatory inspection by the Chinese government prior to export.
Melamine can be used to create products such as plastics, cleaning products, glues, inks, and fertilizers. Under certain conditions, melamine mixed with wheat gluten can make the product appear to have a higher protein level than is actually present. Melamine has no approved use as an ingredient in human or animal food in the United States. Wheat gluten is a natural protein derived from wheat or wheat flour, which is extracted to yield a powder with high protein content. Pet food manufacturers often use wheat gluten as a thickener or binding agent in the manufacture of certain types of pet food.
ChemNutra contracted with SSC, a Chinese registered export broker, to purchase food grade wheat gluten, according to the indictment. SSC then entered into a separate contract with XAC to supply the wheat gluten it needed to fulfill its contract with ChemNutra.
The indictments allege that the products purported to be wheat gluten were misbranded because the labels incorrectly represented that the purported wheat gluten had a minimum protein level of 75%. (US FDA Press Release)
We covered this earlier (see here, here). We’re not knocking the FDA for getting after people who callously put pets at risk for their own greed. We have always had dogs, which are like members of our family, so we understand the outrage. But it would be nice if we could also get up the same outrage for putting people at risk.
Maybe that’s asking too much.