Two companies were ordered by a federal court to pay more than $7 million in fines after they introduced adulterated and misbranded pet food ingredients into products that were sold across the United States.
The two companies were Wilbur-Ellis, a California LLC based in San Francisco, and Diversified Ingredients, Inc., a Missouri-based company that works with numerous pet food manufacturers and distributors.
In April 2018, Wilbur-Ellis pleaded guilty to a single misdemeanor count of introducing adulterated food into interstate commerce. The following July, Diversified Ingredients pleaded guilty to the same misdemeanor charge, along with a misdemeanor count of introducing misbranded food into interstate commerce.
Pet food ingredients (including turkey meal and chicken meal) that had been shipped from a Wilbur-Ellis facility in Rosser, Texas, were adulterated and misbranded. They actually used cheaper substitute ingredients, such as feed-grade chicken bone byproduct meal and feather meal. The company also omitted premium ingredients, such as turkey meal, from products it had identified as turkey meal. Although these adulterations did not pose any threats to the health or safety of animals, they did result in a deliberate misleading of the public.
The case was investigated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Criminal Investigations, the Federal Bureau of Investigations and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.
In many circumstances, these revelations about company wrongdoing only come to light because employees blow the whistle. If you are aware of wrongdoing within your company or agency, meet with a knowledgeable whistleblower attorney at Kardell Law Group to discuss your next steps.