China’s Product Safety Recalls (Melamine in pet food)
On March 2007, it came to FDA’s attention that certain pet foods were causing sickness that eventually killed cats and dogs. The FDA found traces of contaminants in vegetable proteins that had been imported into the US from China. Some of the poisonous pet food was used in the making of animal and fish feed. While the food was hazardous to pets, the government scientist determined that human beings were safe even if they handled the affected animals. However, the FDA said that all pet food and fish feed, as well as vegetable proteins, should be destroyed to avoid further contamination.
Why Precisely Where the Pet Foods Recalled?
The primary reason for the recall of the pet food imported from China was due to the presence of Melamine. Melamine is an industrial chemical and has not been approved by the FDA to be used as an ingredient in animal and human food in the US.
Scientists from Cornell University also found traces of melamine in the kidneys and urine of the dead cats. Further tests revealed that the vegetable proteins imported from China were falsely labeled as Wheat Gluten and Rice Protein Concentrate.
Is There Any Research Showing that Melamine is Harmful to Cats and Dogs?
While there is relatively scarce published literature on melamine exposure in cats and dogs, it is known that melamine can cause harm to dogs and cats. A study published in 1945 indicates that when 125 milligrams of melamine was introduced to dogs it had a diuretic effect on the animals.
A separate test conducted in cats showed that melamine caused renal failure. If melamine was combined with cyanuric acid, the cats displayed signs of intratubular crystals. Based on these findings, the FDA concluded that the pet food from China was unfit for use in cats and dogs and had to be recalled.
Pet Owners Awarded $12.4 Million in Melamine Lawsuit
In 2011, pet owners whose animals were affected by the melamine recall were awarded $12.4 million meant to compensate them for losses incurred. The case involved 20,229 claims from the United States and Canada.
An American company, ChemNutra Inc also faced criminal prosecution for importing the contaminated pet food from China. The company later pleaded guilty for distributing tainted food and distributing misbranded food. In addition, 100 class action lawsuits were initiated against the company. The cases were consolidated, and a $24 million payment was agreed.