By Judi McLeod
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Even with no conclusive answers from the Food and Drug Association (FDA) on which particular poison is sickening what respectable veterinarian associations claim could be "thousands" of pets, ChemNutra, the U.S. company that imported the tainted wheat gluten from China seems to have disappeared off the radar screen.
All questions to ChemNutra are now being fielded by Stern and Company, a Las Vegas-based public relations firm.
Pet owners emailing Canada Free Press (CFP) complain that their questions are met with the same response: "What is the purpose of this query?"
PR flaks are paid to protect clients but the silence from ChemNutra CEO Stephen S. Miller and his wife Sally Qing Miller is deafening.
According to its website, ChemNutra qualifies as a "Woman and Minority-owned Company", meaning that it qualifies for government funding. In other words, Chem-Nutra is attempting to secure or has already landed government funding.
In a letter posted to the ChemNutra website on the weekend, company CEO Stephen S. Miller said ChemNutra had been victimized by its Chinese supplier, XuZhou Anying Biologic Technology Development Co. Ltd. and said he was "appalled" that Ontario-based Menu Foods took so long to recall the contaminated pet food.
Why haven't the Millers been called to testify at Senator Dick Durbin's Subcommittee on Agriculture, World Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies in Washington, D.C.?
Stephen Miller includes E.F. Hutton & Company and Smith Barney as former employers on the ChemNutra website.
Once the respected second largest brokerage firm in the United States, E.F. Hutton & Co. went down in flames.
"The brokerage house was the principal component of what grew into a conglomerate of companies owned by E.F. Hutton Group Inc., listed on the NYSE." (Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia). "Other subsidiaries of that Delaware-charted holding company were E.F. Hutton Trust Company (now "Smith Barney Corporate Trust Company" and owned by Citigroup), E.F. Hutton Life Insurance Company and E.F. Hutton Bank.
"In the 1980s, the conglomerate disintegrated due to corporate misconduct, mostly by the brokerage firm. The firm had knowingly engaged in money laundering for organized crime (the so-called "Pizza Connection" because money was sometimes delivered in pizza boxes.
"It was not until the president of the brokerage firm, Scott Pierce (the brother of Barbara Bush, wife of then-vice-president of the U.S.) entered his corporation's guilty plea to 2000 criminal counts of federal mail and wire fraud in 1985, that the Hutton conglomerate fell apart."
Could it be that former Hutton vice president, ChemNutra's Stephen S. Miller has FDA protection that originates from the highest office of the land?
In a frustrating and even frightening environment in now the five-week-old pet food scare, there are more questions than answers for worried North American consumers.
The mainstream media seems to have all but abandoned the poisoned pet food story and only www.consumeraffairs.com has been diligent in keeping consumers informed.
The angst for pet owners lives on.
On Tuesday, Menu Foods added yet another dog food product to its list of recalled tainted pet food.
The company said the item was added after it analyzed production records at its plant in Emporia, Kansas as part of the FDA's investigation of tainted wheat gluten.
The eight varieties had previously been withdrawn from the market and should already be off market shelves, according to Menu Foods.
The product added to the recall list was Natural Life Dog Food with a date on the bottom of the can of Nov/22/09 and UPC # 12344-07114.
Worried pet owners can get an updated list of the recalled Menu Foods products at www.menufoods.com/.
And if that weren't enough, yet another company reports it is worried about a tainted concentrate imported from another company in China.
Wilbur-Ellis CEO John Thacher said his company sold a tainted concentrate to five pet-food makers--but that most of it went to two firms. ( www.floridatoday.com). One of the primary companies Wilbur-Ellis sold to was Diamond Pet Foods, which packs some of the Natural Balance product--but doesn't use the concentrate in any Diamond-made foods, according to Diamond spokesman Jim Fallon. The other major customer was not revealed by Thacher.
So, who are the four other pet food makers?
FDA offered no comment Tuesday, but said Monday that Natural Balance had informed them of the issue. Yet Thacher says it told the FDA on Sunday that it had detected melamine in some rice protein concentrate imported from China about a week ago. According to Thacher, Wilbur-Ellis has ceased importing the ingredient from the Chinese firm, Binzhou Futian Biology Technology.
As one readers asks CFP, "When is the FDA going to start acting like it's responsible for protecting consumers…When is the FDA going to start reporting to consumers?"
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]