Charges in Melamine Pet Food Recall

ChemNutra Inc., a Las Vegas-based ingredients broker, pleaded guilty on June 16 to federal charges of distributing tainted wheat gluten that led to the mass pet food recalls of 2007. The charges stem from a February 2008 indictment that alleged ChemNutra imported more than 800 metric tons of melamine-contaminated wheat gluten from China between November 2006, and February 2007, then sold the product to various pet food manufacturers.

Melamine is not approved as an ingredient in human or animal food in the U.S. It is typically used to create products such as plastics, glue and fertilizer. In 2007, pet food manufacturers recalled more than 150 brands of pet food after animals that ate the tainted food began experiencing health problems. Thousands of cats and dogs reportedly died as a result.