Wilbur-Ellis Company and Diversified Ingredients, Inc., were convicted in federal court after pleading guilty of introducing adulterated and misbranded pet food ingredients into interstate commerce.
Both were ordered to pay more than $7 million in fines between them.
“The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recognizes the importance of preserving the integrity of the food supply for animals,” said Charles Grinstead, special agent in charge, FDA office of criminal investigations’ Kansas City Field office. “Substituting inferior ingredients in pet food is against the law, and the FDA, working with its federal and state partners, will take action as necessary to hold ingredient suppliers accountable for distributing such products.”
California-based Wilbur-Ellis was sentenced to three years’ probation and ordered to pay $4.55 million in restitution, criminal forfeiture in the form of a money judgment in the amount of $964,442, and a fine of $1,000.
Diversified Ingredients, Inc., a Missouri corporation, was sentenced to three years’ probation and ordered to pay $1.5 million in restitution, criminal forfeiture in the form of a money judgment in an amount of $75,000, and a fine of $2,000.
The court heard pet food ingredients shipped from a Wilbur-Ellis facility in Rosser, Texas—specifically, chicken meal and turkey meal—were adulterated and misbranded through the use of cheaper substitute ingredients, such as feather meal and feed-grade chicken bone by-product meal, and omitted premium ingredients, such as turkey meal, from products identified as turkey meal.
According to the FDA, the adulterated pet food ingredients did not pose a threat to the health or safety of any animal.