Woohoo! As many of you know, I have recovered from my acute kidney failure caused by the tainted cat food so I was especially excited to hear today that the Kansas City office of the Department of Justice has obtained indictments against Xuzhou Anying Biologic Technology Development Co., Suzhou Textiles, Silk, Light Industrial Products, Arts and Crafts I/E Co., and Las Vegas-based ChemNutra Inc.
Xuzhou Anying Biologic and Suzhou Textiles were charged with 13 counts of introduction of adulterated food into interstate commerce and 13 counts of introduction of misbranded food into interstate commerce.
ChemNutra, along with owners Sally Quing Miller and her husband, Stephen S. Miller, face 13 counts of introduction of adulterated food into interstate commerce, 13 counts of introduction of misbranded food into interstate commerce and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
The indictments allege that Suzhou Textiles mislabeled 800 metric tons of wheat gluten tainted with the toxic chemical melamine to avoid inspection in China. The melamine was added to make the gluten meet the required standard for protein content specified in the contract between Suzhou and ChemNutra. Suzhou did not properly declare the contaminated product it shipped to the U.S. as a material to be used in food, the indictment says. The indictment also alleges that shipment was falsely declared to the Chinese government to avoid a mandatory inspection of the company's plants.
The indictments allege ChemNutra acquired the melamine-tainted product at a port of entry in Kansas City, then sold it to makers of various brands of pet foods (including Menu Foods).
I looked for the press release, but it's not on the DoJ's website yet. ChemNutra has already issued a statement:
Statement by ChemNutra on DoJ Indictment Wednesday February 6, 8:17 pm ET
LAS VEGAS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--ChemNutra and Steve and Sally Miller deny in the strongest of terms the allegations by the Department of Justice and look forward to the opportunity to prove their innocence at trial. Neither Mr. nor Mrs. Miller had any intent to defraud or any knowledge of wrongdoing.
Importantly, the Department of Justice, although not stated in its news release, made no allegation that either Mr. or Mrs. Miller had any knowledge of the presence of melamine or any other erroneous substance in the products ChemNutra imported that would cause injury or death to animals.
The misdemeanor charges contained in the indictment are strict liability offenses, meaning that they attach by virtue of importing a product that is contaminated, regardless of whether one knows of the contamination.
The one felony count alleges Mr. and Mrs. Miller sought to defraud their customers by intentionally failing to disclose to their customers that some of the wheat gluten being exported from China was labeled by the Chinese manufacturer with a different tariff code than the one required for U.S. entry and otherwise applicable to wheat gluten.
That alleged incorrect code, the government alleges, allowed the product to circumvent quality testing by Chinese authorities. Although Mr. and Mrs. Miller strongly deny any intent to defraud or knowledge of wrongdoing, the government does not allege that Mr. and Mrs. Miller knew of the presence of melamine or any other substance that would cause death or injury to animals.
The Millers unequivocally support the government pursuing those with knowledge of the dangerous contaminants; however, they are deeply bothered by the government’s failure to make these important distinctions in its press release related to their indictment.
Contact:Stern and Company
Steve Stern, 702-240-9533
I noted that they never said anything about how sorry they are for all the families that have suffered the loss of a beloved companion due to their actions. I would also note that Menu Foods has not responded to the claim that we submitted for my vet bills caused by the tainted foods. They haven't even acknowledged receipt, despite the fact that we know and can prove that they received the claim (thank you United States Post Office for restricted delivery/return receipt requested mail).
So here's a big THANK YOU to the DoJ for the hard work that you have put in getting these indictments. Thank you for your dedication and perserverance. Good luck as you take this matter into the next phase. These people who were indicted may never see the inside of a jail cell, but at least someone is trying to hold them accountable for the harm they have caused.