How It All Began
In March 2007 the pet food industry was chugging along, conducting business as usual, until without warning pets became severely ill and started to die.
Within a few weeks the number of reported pet deaths, most from kidney failure, began to steadily increase.
Before this nightmare was over thousands of pets would lose their life while thousands more would require costly medical treatment to keep them alive.
The exact death toll would remain cloudy, but some estimates would reach into the thousands.
The fallout would include criminal prosecution of ChemNutra, Inc., and a large consolidated class action lawsuit would be brought on by pet owners.
So exactly how did this happen, and who was responsible?
In a minute I will explain the details, but first, it’s important to give a little context on the commercial pet food industry as a whole.
The Largest Pet Food Recall In History
To illustrate how the supply chain of most commercial pet food brands works, from ingredient to kibble, I will use Brand X as an example.
In this example, Brand X is a product line of Y Inc.
Y Inc. outsources ingredient supply to Z Corp.
Z Corp imports ingredients from very cheap suppliers, many that reside in China.
Y Inc. receives large batches of ingredients, manufactures the pet food and then distributes to Brand X.
In 2007, Menu Foods Limited outsourced supply of some of their ingredients to ChemNutra Inc.
ChemNutra Inc. imported large quantities of wheat gluten that was later determined to be contaminated with melamine.
The contaminated ingredients ended up in over 90 brands of cat and dog food Menu Foods Limited controlled.
And this was just the beginning, as the rabbit hole got deeper when other contaminates were found from a second Chinese supplier.
2007 Pet Food Recall Deaths
Sadly this recall would go on to affect North America, Canada, Europe and South Africa.
By April 11, 2007, one self-reporting database reported up to 3600 pet deaths, and the number would continue to climb.
Less than 30 days after the fist wave of recalls started a second wave began.
On April 15, 2007, as the death toll began to rise, Wilbur-Ellis notified the FDA that a bag of melamine was found to be mixed in with its batch of rice protein, which was imported from a different Chinese supplier.
Two days later Natural Balance Pet Foods issued a recall of 2 products containing rice protein that was found to be tainted with melamine.
Wilbur-Ellis was named as the company which supplied the rice protein, and in addition also supplied 5 other pet food manufacturers with the tainted rice protein.
Before the dust would settle, over 5000 pet food products would be recalled due to toxic ingredients imported from 2 separate Chinese suppliers.
What’s The Lesson To Be Learned
At the risk of stating the obvious…
Stay away from commercial pet food IF giving your pets the best, safest nutrition is your priority.2007 pet food recall
Commercial pet food, in my opinion, is like feeding your kids processed junk food every day and expecting them to grow up to be healthy and disease free.
At the very least 2007 should have taught us that the pet food industry is a multi Billion dollar a year giant that will use the cheapest ingredients possible to keep profit margins high.
It also reveals the glaring truth, which is in stark contrast to the well crafted, highly effective marketing message most pet food brands use in their advertising campaigns.
Personally, I will never again trust ANY large commercial pet food company with the safety of my pet.
In fact, all you have to do is to visit the FDA website to see recalls are still happening on a regular basis.
I made the decision in 2010 to find a better product, and by 2011 found the absolute polar opposite in terms of a pet food company.
Knowing my pet is eating a food that is above reproach, in terms of quality, safety, and nutritional density is without a doubt comforting, to say the least!
Time To Pay The Piper?
In 2010 ChemNutra Inc. was ordered to pay 35,000 in fines after Sally and Steve Miller plead guilty to two misdemeanor violations of the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.
The breakdown was 25,000 for the company and 5k a piece for Sally and Steve Miller.
The prosecutors had already dismissed a felony charge and 24 other misdemeanor charges.
So a mere slap on the wrist was the final outcome!
Now that’s what I call justice….NOT!
With respect to the class action lawsuit…
Over 100 class action lawsuits were combined into 1 with over 560 million in submitted claims.
After more than 3 years, 80 lawyers and an appeals process…
Wait for it…
A 24 million dollar settlement was reached, of which only 12.4 million was actually paid out to over 20,000 claims.
8 million went to the lawyers while 3.6 million went to claims administration and public notices.
In my opinion, pets are priceless, to begin with, but the slap on the wrist of ChemNutra Inc., and the subsequent class action settlement that followed is just silly!
The 2007 pet food crisis began with Menu Foods pet food recall due to melamine in pet food and turned into a multi-continent contamination that killed thousands of beloved companion animals.
It ended with a slap on the wrist and not much else.
The whole thing is a tragedy!
Hopefully, this was able to help in some small way shed some light on the need to really stay educated on what is, and what is not a premium brand.
Don’t fall for catchy slogans and tricked out packaging.
Be determined to find out who manufactures the food, and where the ingredients are coming from.
Together we can ensure that these serial abusers and their cheap ingredients don’t hurt our pets any longer.
By simply educating yourself you can choose to vote with your dollars.
There is no greater way to hit the big boys than to hit them in their wallets….
Did you get value from this? If so I would greatly appreciate it if you would comment below and share!
P.S. Are you interested in learning about one of the safest, freshest, and recall free pet foods you can get your hands on? If so send me an email with the heading Pet Food Info and I’ll send you out more info ASAP!
“I can teach you how to enhance the lives of your pets while helping you build a business around your passion for pets!”
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