Importer of Chinese ingredients issues gluten recall

by Staff
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LAS VEGAS — ChemNutra Inc., an importer of chemicals and ingredients for the food, pet food and nutritional ingredients industries, has issued a recall for all wheat gluten it has imported from Xuzhou Anying Biologic Technology Development Co. Ltd.

The recall represents the latest turn of events in the investigation of contaminated pet food associated with the deaths of at least 15 pets. ChemNutra said the gluten in question was not shipped to companies that manufacture food for consumption by humans.

Xuzhou is one of three Chinese vital wheat gluten suppliers ChemNutra uses.

ChemNutra said it learned on March 8 that its gluten from Xuzhou Anying had been identified by a pet food supplier as an ingredient "suspected as the potential cause of pet food problems." The company said it quarantined its entire wheat gluten inventory and helped the company with the investigation.

On March 30, the Food and Drug Administration said it had found melamine in samples of the wheat gluten ChemNutra had imported from Xuzhou Anying, based in Wangdien, China. The F.D.A. has blocked the importation of wheat gluten from Xuzhou Anying.

"The toxicity of melamine is not clear," ChemNutra said. "However, since melamine is not approved by the F.D.A. for pet food, it should absolutely not have been in wheat gluten. ChemNutra is extremely concerned about the purity of all of its products. The company is particularly troubled that the certificate of analysis provided by the above-named supplier did not report the presence of melamine."

Melamine is an industrial chemical with several uses, including the manufacture of plastic kitchenware.

ChemNutra said recalls were sent to all four of its direct customers April 2.

The gluten was shipped from China in 25 kg bags and distributed to customers in unopened bags.

The company said it shipped the gluten from its Kansas City warehouse to three pet food companies and one distributor that supplies wheat gluten to the pet food industry.

"ChemNutra did not ship to facilities that manufacture food for human consumption, and the distributor ChemNutra shipped to supplies wheat gluten only to pet food manufacturers," the company said.

The total amount of Xuzhou Anying wheat gluten shipped was 792 tonnes, or 1,746,000 lbs, ChemNutra said.

Based in Las Vegas, ChemNutra imports chemicals from China to the United States.

"We purchase our inventory from quality-assured manufacturers in China, with whom we have strong relationships over the past 12 years," ChemNutra said in promotional information on the company’s web site. "Our U.S. customers are manufacturers of food, pet food, and nutritional ingredients, who want high quality, the best service, and the most competitive prices."

The ingredients ChemNutra imports include amino acids, preservatives and antioxidants, nutritional minerals, proteins, flavor enhancers, and sweeteners.

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