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Pet Food makers were ordered to keep all recalled foods until they settled $24 million in lawsuits but how those condemned foods were dumped will make you sick!


September 8, 2009

Nel Liquorman, Health & Nutrition Editor


The blue barrels of condemned dog food wound up back in pet food outlets!Hoping to save a few million, pet food makers asked the courts to allow them to only keep samples of the melamine tainted pet food but they were forced to keep all recalled foods, which were organized and warehoused into 24,000 pallets at a cost of $3.4 million dollars.


Lawsuits were settled in November 2008 at a cost of $24 million after which, there would have been transport, incineration and landfill costs. Disposal of the condemned pet food should have been monitored by the FDA. Consumers should have had absolute assurance that this deadly pet food could never make its way back into the pet food supply.  Neither safeguard happened.


There was a specific chain of command and two witnesses required for disposal of the contaminated beef sold to schools (jump to [1] or see below) but we found nothing to indicate the same FDA requirements for recalled pet food. What we did find was alarming quantities of "closeout" and "discounted pet foods" on the internet.


Diamond Dog Food’s attempts to recycle melamine contaminated pet food as chicken [2] and hog feed [3] failed when state and federal agencies discovered the deception. In addition, disposal for use as fertilizer hit a roadblock because melamine is not legal for fertilizer in the USA.


Hiring a broker/shipper could have helped pet food companies dump the food economically and this may have been where they ran off the track! With contaminated pet food in the hands of a broker/shipper, dog food companies would have immediately lost all control of disposal.


Seeing only dollar signs in 24,000 organized pallets of recalled pet food, an unscrupulous broker/shipper could have delivered the recalled goods to a salvage dealer or to his own warehouses. Therefore, contaminated pet food meant for legal disposal to a fertilizer manufacturer offshore, never left the USA. At least some of the food became instant pet food businesses and seems to have gone completely unnoticed.


The photos of blue barrels were submitted to the courts by the pet food makers, [4] (see below) look suspiciously like the barrels of dog food sold on a particular “free ad” website. Perhaps that was used to see if a recycling plan would work? It wouldn’t be a stretch of the imagination to believe that it was and it did.


Liquidators become suspect when they market branded and private label “pet food from stores such as Walmart & K-mart.” Photographs of dog food returns (right) from Walmart were included with the 2007 court documents. This is how liquidators can state "sold at Walmart and Kmart" in their ads.


liquidated dog foods made their way to small stores, internet pet suppliers, flea markets, individuals selling on EBay, and even to animal shelters looking for low-price goods in quantity. [6] A Florida liquidator appears to have the most plentiful supply of mixed pet food pallets to be shipped from PA, TX, and CA, with a 2 pallet minimum. They also indicate warehouses in Florida and Connecticut. With facilities in 5 states, a liquidator can warehouse thousands of pallets of pet food.


There have been individual sellers on Craigslist, Pennysavers, and even blogs. When we consider such enormous amounts of “overstock” and “salvage pet foods” offered on the internet, the whereabouts of the 24,000 pallets of condemned pet food is no longer a question.


Photos of smaller quantities of pet food in banana boxes are also sold by internet liquidators. [7] These photos were included with court documents in the melamine case as a way to show the court that organizing and warehousing was impossible and that there were problems with leaky goods, bugs, rodents, etc. The melamine case [8] (see below) was settled for $24 million in November 2008. The 24,000 pallets held for evidence was released after the settlement and the arduous task of disposal would have begun. Where did that pet food go? We saw 300 lbs. barrels of Nutro on the internet in April 2009.


If the worst scenario plays out, could there be a new round of lawsuits for the pet food manufacturers? It would be devastating to the pet food industry as well as to pet owners who encounter costly vet bills or pet deaths.


With such a huge amount of recalled pet food, it is unlikely that a reseller would attempt to change the date stamps or UPC codes on that much food. If all the salvage pet food on the market is from the recall it should be traceable, except in the case of barrels. Betting on that, and because FDA regulations and investigations appeared inadequate, I called in some big guns, or at least gave them a chance to come to the rescue.


Information was faxed to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, Florida Senator Bill Nelson, Florida Governor Charlie Crist, and Managing Editor Paul Task of the St. Petersburg Times, informing them of this growing pet food problem.


Since the seller with the largest supply of salvage pet food is in Florida, I felt a need to involve Florida leaders. This is an urgent matter that needs quick action. We hope they are using their powers to force an investigation by the USDA and the FBI before it is too late and the pet food industry is in ruins. will continue to keep readers informed by getting the facts out to 1.3 million pet owners.


[1] USDA Beef Recall and CA government mandated disposal protocol, Feb. 2008

[2] June CNN - according to Federal Officials, people have eaten millions of chickens fed recalled pet food

[3] Contaminated/recalled pet food went to “Hog farms in California, North Carolina, Utah, New York, Kansas and Oklahoma received contaminated pet food.” – source

[4] Court Case 1:07-cv-02867-NLH-AMD Document 103-21 Filed 12/11/2007 Warehouse Photos #1 & #2

[5] Court Case 1:07-cv-02867-NLH-AMD Document 103-22 Filed 12/11/2007 Walmart Returns Photo #3

[6] Google “pet food liquidators” for dozens of domestic and international pet food and supply resellers.

[7] Court Case 1:07-cv-02867-NLH-AMD Document 103-20 Filed 12/11/2007 Photo #4

[8] The FDA was aware of melamine in baby formula in September 2008, yet we imported tons of holiday treats containing melamine.

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