Thursday, May 3, 2007
Article in the Washington Post -- Crisis Over Pet Food Extracting Healthy Cost: Owners, Manufacturers, Suppliers All Feel Fallout, by Rick Weiss and Nancy Trejos. Here's an excerpt:
While the Food and Drug Administration pursues what is sure to be a long investigation into how pet food became contaminated with an ingredient for making plastics, and while Congress begins the months-long process of haggling over food-safety amendments, pet food companies, their suppliers and their customers do not have the luxury of waiting.
They have to cope with the crisis immediately, and for most, that is already proving expensive.
Stephen S. Miller, chief executive of ChemNutra of Las Vegas, was sued last week by a pet food company to which it had sold tainted Chinese wheat gluten. He now faces legal fees and the costs of extra on-site inspections he plans to impose on his Chinese suppliers.
Producers of brand-name pet foods, several of which were revealed by the recall to use the same ingredients that economy chow makers use, stand to lose once-loyal customers, many of whom are saying they would not return to their former brands.
And some pet owners like Mitzner, fed up with worrying about poisoning their animals, can expect to pay up to three times as much for organic or other specialty chows.
If there is one player that may benefit from the still-spreading disaster -- federal officials said yesterday that millions of chickens that ate the contaminated food were sold for human consumption -- it is the U.S. wheat gluten industry, which has been struggling for years to compete against cheaper Chinese imports.