So it looks like we now have not only the name of the company that provided the tainted wheat gluten to Menu Foods, Xuzhou Anying Biologic Technology Development Co. Ltd., but we are now also hearing from the importer of that wheat gluten, ChemNutra Inc., by way of a press release (included below).

So one would think we’re getting all the answers now, right? Wrong. It only becomes more muddled when Xuzhou Anying now says they did NOT manufacture the wheat gluten, but had actually bought it elsewhere! Read more here. This whole supplier, importer, broker, thing really has me questioning who the heck really knows what goes into our food and who do we assume will regulate that for us? The FDA? Not feeling the love OR the trust on that front.

Another alert poster to this blog, Joe from Friday Morning After (Thanks, Joe!), linked to an article on the thread “Who provided Menu Foods wheat gluten?“, which supports our fear about the tainted wheat gluten getting into our human food supply (or at least the plants which process our food), and not just in the pet food supply. It is now being confirmed in this article by Diedtra Henderson, with the Boston Globe.

ROCKVILLE, Maryland: The tainted wheat gluten that triggered a massive pet food recall also ended up in processing plants that prepare food consumed by people, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said…

Now did any of us REALLY think that there was NO possibility that this would happen? I think not.

 

However, there is this report from CBS news which conflicts the Boston Globe report. In this article Stephen Miller, CEO of ChemNutra Inc., says that none of the contaminated wheat gluten ended up in human food manufacturing plants. ChemNutra Inc. was the importer of the tainted wheat gluten from Xuzhou Anying Biologic Technology Development Co. Ltd., which was the company who provided the wheat gluten to Menu Foods.

Here is the press release from ChemNutra Inc. dated April 3, 2007:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 3, 2007

CHEMNUTRA ANNOUNCES NATIONWIDE WHEAT GLUTEN RECALL
Las Vegas, NV… April 3, 2007… ChemNutra Inc., of Las Vegas, Nevada, yesterday recalled all wheat gluten it had imported from one of its three Chinese wheat gluten suppliers – Xuzhou Anying Biologic Technology Development Co. Ltd.
The wheat gluten ChemNutra recalled was all shipped from China in 25 kg. paper bags, and distributed to customers in the same unopened bags. The bags were all labeled “Wheat Gluten Batch No.: _______ Net Weight: 25 kg Gross Weight: 25.1 kg Made in China”. The batch numbers included in the recall are 20061006, 20061027, 20061101, 20061108, 20061122, 20061126, 20061201, 20061202, 20061203, 20061204, 20061205, 20061206, 20061208, 20061221, 20070106, 20070111, 20070116, and 20070126.

Each ChemNutra shipment had the certificate of analysis information from the supplier, including batch number and the supplier’s content analysis and test results. ChemNutra shipped from its Kansas City warehouse to three pet food manufacturers and one distributor who supplies wheat gluten only to the pet food industry. ChemNutra’s shipments commenced November 9, 2006 and ended March 8, 2007. ChemNutra did not ship to facilities that manufacture food for human consumption, and the distributor ChemNutra shipped to supplies wheat gluten only to pet food manufacturers. The total quantity of Xuzhou Anying wheat gluten shipped was 792 metric tons.

ChemNutra learned on March 8 from one pet food manufacturer that the wheat gluten it had sold them – all from the Xuzhou Anying – was among ingredients suspected as a potential cause of pet food problems. ChemNutra immediately quarantined its entire wheat gluten inventory and assisted this customer’s investigation.

After that manufacturer issued a pet food recall, the FDA immediately commenced a thorough investigation of ChemNutra’s wheat gluten, including documentation analysis, inspection, and laboratory testing. ChemNutra cooperated fully with the FDA and immediately notified its other three wheat gluten customers about the FDA’s investigation. Those customers had all purchased smaller amounts of the Xuzhou Anying wheat gluten commencing in January, 2007.

On Friday, March 30, the FDA announced they had found melamine in samples of the wheat gluten ChemNutra had imported from Xuzhou Anying. The FDA did not inform ChemNutra of any other impurities in the Xuzhou Anying wheat gluten, nor of any impurities in the wheat gluten from ChemNutra’s other two Chinese suppliers.

The toxicity of melamine is not clear. However, since melamine is not approved by the FDA for pet food, it should absolutely not have been in wheat gluten. ChemNutra is extremely concerned about the purity of all of its products. The company is particularly troubled that the certificates of analysis provided by the above-named supplier did not report the presence of melamine.
ChemNutra wants to ensure its products are safe. Consequently, in addition to its ongoing cooperation with the FDA, ChemNutra will be conducting its own independent, analytical tests of wheat gluten from all of its suppliers.

Yesterday ChemNutra sent recall notices to all four of its direct customers. If any other company received bags of recalled wheat gluten from the lot numbers referenced above, please call ChemNutra at 702.818.5019.

Consumers who have questions about the pet food they should go to the FDA’s website at http://www.fda.gov/bbs/topics/NEWS/2007/NEW01590.html. This website lists all brands of petfood involved, with links to the manufacturer who should be contacted with questions.

4/6/07: Here’s an interesting article about China actually getting into the investigation process.

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