An indication of the potential scope and source of the contamination of pet food in the Summer of 2007 has come to light by indictments issued February 6, 2008, by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Kansas City against two Chinese businesses and one U.S. company. The indictments name Xuzhou Anying Biologic Technology Development Company, Suzhou Textiles, Silk, Light Industrial Products Arts and Crafts I/E Company, and Las Vegas-based ChemNutra Inc.
The indictments charge multiple misdemeanor counts of introduction of adulterated or misbranded food into interstate commerce and felony counts of conspiracy to commit fraud. The indictments allege that Suzhou Textiles, an export broker, mislabeled 800 metric tons of melamine-tainted wheat gluten manufactured by Xuzhou and then did not properly declare the contaminated product as a material to be used in food. The alleged reason for the mislabeling and false declaration was to avoid mandatory inspection by the Chinese government. The indictments also allege that ChemNutra picked up the melamine-tainted product at a port of entry in Kansas City then sold it to pet food manufacturers. The indictments allege that Xuzhou added the melamine to artificially boost the protein content of the gluten to the requirements specified in Suzhou's contract with ChemNutra.
To the extent that the allegations of the indictments are established, implications concerning insurance for losses arising from the contaminated pet food may arise, such as determinations that the contamination was intentional. Subrogation claims may also arise.