Thursday, April 12, 2007

Criminal Capitalism: Pet Food Scandal

Ah the joys of capitalism, which is to get away with making a profit at any cost, as long as you don't get caught. In the era of globalization this is what happens....

Xuzhou is the home of Xuzhou Anying Biologic Technology Development, a small agricultural products trader that U.S. regulators say was the source of the wheat gluten, distributed to major pet food suppliers in North America, that was at some point adulterated with a toxic chemical that sickened or killed the animals.

Of particular concern are indications that Xuzhou Anying, whose main office consists of two rooms and an adjoining warehouse here, may have purchased melamine, the chemical linked to the animal deaths. The company has distanced itself from the pet food contamination and recall, saying it neither manufactures nor exports wheat gluten, but only acts as a middleman trading agricultural goods and chemicals.

Now, regulators with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration are examining the possibility that melamine was intentionally mixed into the wheat gluten in China as a way to bolster the apparent protein content and to meet pet food requirements, according to a person briefed on the investigation.

Stephen Sundlof, director of the Center for Veterinary Medicine at the agency, said at a news conference last week that the agency had found unusually high concentrations of melamine in some batches of wheat gluten, as much as 6.6 percent. The agency said the concentrations were high enough to have led to kidney failure in some pets.

ChemNutra, a Las Vegas company, said it had purchased the wheat gluten from Xuzhou Anying and then shipped it to pet food makers in the United States and Canada. ChemNutra said Xuzhou Anying had provided chemical analysis indicating that there were no impurities or contamination in the product.

ChemNutra also says it was led to believe that Xuzhou Anying operated its own manufacturing facilities.

In recent months, Xuzhou Anying appears to have posted several requests on online trading sites seeking to purchase large quantities of melamine.

In one March 29 posting on a trading site operated by, a Chinese Web site, people who said they were with Xuzhou Anying wrote, "Our company buys large quantities of melamine scrap all year around." There were also postings on several other online trading sites, like

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