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Chemnutra, Wheat Gluten, Wal-Mart
Mystery clouds poison pet food animal deaths even as it jumps continental U.S.
By Judi McLeod
Sunday, April 15, 2007
The pet food poison scare has just jumped from North America to the Caribbean Islands.
Associated Press is reporting today that two dogs in Puerto Rico died of kidney failure after eating dog biscuits that were among the 100-plus brands of pet foods and treats contaminated with an industrial chemical, according to a veterinarians' group.
The same Ol'Roy dog biscuits recalled from North American shelves last week, killed the two Puerto Rican dogs.
Amigo is the name of the supermarket chain where the poisoned dog biscuits were purchased. The chain is owned by a Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (nyse:WMT-news-people), according to Victor Collazo, chief of Puerto Rico's Veterinary Medical Association.
Bentonville is where Wal-Mart's head office is located.
The two miniature schnauzers that died of kidney failure were the first in the U.S. Caribbean territory to die from the North American recalled contaminated pet food outbreak.
The same China-to-North America exported wheat gluten, which America's Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says, is contaminated with melamine, used to make plastics, fertilizers and flame retardants, was confirmed in Puerto Rican testing.
The current poisoned pet food scare is like the bloodstain that cannot be washed away. While two separate groups of scientists differ between rat poison and melamine as the contaminant in Chinese wheat gluten, some media reports indicate that the contaminated pet food is still on some shelves.
On the same day the Puerto Rican dog deaths were confirmed, the Las Vegas-based ChemNutra--supplier of the contaminated ingredient in the tainted pet food--posted a pubic letter on its website.
Along with condolences to owners of pets who died or have fallen ill, ChemNutra CEO Stephen S. Miller claims his company has been victimized by its own supplier.
"The possibility that any animal fell ill or died because of an ingredient we may have supplied to Menu Foods saddens us and also angers us because it means that ChemNutra has victimized (sic) as well, by our own supplier. In fact, news reports and congressional testimony provide increasing evidence of this possibility." (www.ChemNutra.com, April 14, 2007).
In the open letter, Miller points the finger of blame at Toronto area-based Menu Foods: "We are appalled and distressed that Menu Foods took so long to recall its products, although it clearly suspected there was a problem for weeks prior to the first recall. And it wasn't until eight days before they issued their first recall that Menu Foods told us that wheat gluten was one of many ingredients it was investigating."
"Moreover, here at ChemNutra, we are concerned that we may have been the victim of deliberate and mercenary contamination for the purpose of making the wheat gluten we purchased appear to have a higher protein content than it did, because melamine causes a false high result on protein tests. We had no idea that melamine was an issue until being notified by the FDA on March 29. In fact, we had never heard of melamine before. It's simply not a chemical even on the radar screen for food ingredient suppliers."
But it is ChemNutra's stated promise not to conduct business again with the supplier of the wheat gluten where ChemNutra becomes suspect: "We assure you that we will never again do business with the supplier of the suspect wheat gluten, XuZhou Anying Biologic Technology Development Co. Ltd. XuZhou Anying had been recommended to us by a long-time reliable source in China, and presented what appeared to be legitimate proof that its product was safe. We hope that U.S. and Chinese government investigations of XuZhou Anying reveal what actually occurred."
XuZhou Anying is the proverbial hop, skip and a jump away from ChemNutra's Chinese headquarters at a run down warehouse in rural China.
As an Ottawa-based pet owner and CFP reader points out, yesterday's ChemNutra open letter differs from its own website description. "ChemNutra's "Who We Are" link proclaims "We purchase our inventory from over 200 quality-assured manufacturers in China, with whom we have strong relationships over the past 12 years." And yet, this Letter from the Chairman states "XuZhou Anying had been recommended to us by a long-time reliable source in China, and presented what appeared to be legitimate proof that its product was safe." Sounds like ChemNutra turned a blind eye to its own company's stated practices."
ChemNutra's "Who We Are" section is worthy of note. In the now month-long contaminated pet food scare, no picture of Stephen S. Miller seems to exist anywhere on the Internet. Stephen S. Miller, the mystery man, goes beyond his low profile. Reporters in Las Vegas found that ChemNutra's Las Vegas office, at Durango and Charleston Streets is "very small" "without even a sign on the door". (Las Vegas Review Journal).
Miller's wife, Sally Qing Miller, listed as ChemNutra President, just happens to have "over 12 years of experience in China as QA Manager and Purchasing Manager working for various multinational companies who imported and exported chemicals worldwide", indeed "over $100 million of nutraceutival chemicals worldwide".
FDA scientists have indicated that they have been unable to find contaminants in human food imported from China.
The story of the poisoned pet food scare takes on chilling tones when, as the Washington Times points out, "It is considered that the list of Chinese food exports rejected at American ports reads like a chef's nightmare: pesticide-laden pea pods, drug-laced catfish, filthy plums and crawfish contaminated with salmonella.
The Washington Times was prophetic when it wrote on Friday, "Yet, it took a much more obscure item, contaminated wheat gluten, to focus U.S. public attention on a very real and frightening fact: China's chronic food safety woes are now an international concern."
"This really shows the risks of food-purity problems combining with international trade," said Michiel Keyzer, director of the Center for World Food studies at Amsterdam's Vrije Universiteit.
China's Health Ministry reported almost 34,000 food-related illnesses in 2005, with spoiled food accounting for the largest number, followed by poisonous plants or animals and use of agricultural chemicals."
For some reason, (hopefully to guard against public panic), the FDA leaves the number of dead pets from the contaminated pet food outbreak at 16, even though veterinarian groups indicate a number closer to 30,000 sickened pets and perhaps even higher.
Are unknown agents using unregulated pet food as a testing ground before entering the human food chain?
Is this the beginning of an experiment whose end result is the depopulation openly advocated by some of the key figures on the international elitist scene?
Canada Free Press founding editor Most recent by Judi McLeod is an award-winning journalist with 30 years experience in the print media. Her work has appeared on Newsmax.com, Drudge Report, Foxnews.com, Glenn Beck. Judi can be reached at: [email protected]
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