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May 25, 2019

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Pet food company indicted (UPDATED)

Two Chinese businesses and a Las Vegas-based company were indicted today in tainted pet food incidents that killed more than 4,000 animals last year and raised worried in the United States about products made in China.

ChemNutra Inc. of Las Vegas along with Xuzhou Anying Biologic Technology Development Co., and Suzhou Textiles, Silk, Light Industrial Products, Arts and Crafts I/E Co., were charged under two separate but related indictments, said Jim Wood, U.S. Attorney in Kansas City, Mo.

The indictment says that although the United States has no coordinated way to track pet deaths, the Food and Drug Administration estimates that 1,950 cats and 2,200 dogs died from eating contaminated pet food in 2007.

ChemNutra and company owners Sally Qing Miller, 31, a Chinese national, and her husband, Stephen S. Miller, 55, were charged with 13 counts for introducing adulterated food into interstate commerce and 13 counts of introducing misbranded food into interstate commerce. In addition, they were charged with one count of wire fraud, the indictment says.

Sally Qing Miller earned an engineering degree in food chemistry from Hangzhou University in China and had 10 years work experience in China as a purchasing manager for U.S. Companies.

Between Nov. 6, 2006 and Feb. 21, 2007, Suzhous Textiles mislabeled 882 tons of wheat gluten tainted with melamine, a toxic chemical, to avoid inspection in China, the indictment says.

ChemNutra distributed the product, the indictment alleges.

"ChemNutra and Steve and Sally Miller deny in the strongest of terms the allegations by the Department of Justice and look forward to the opportunity to prove their innocence at trial," a prepared statement released by a company spokesman says.

"Neither Mr. nor Mrs. Miller had any intent to defraud or any knowledge of wrongdoing," the statement continues.

"Importantly, the Department of Justice, although not stated in its news release, made no allegation that either Mr. or Mrs. Miller had an knowledge of the presence of melamine or any other erroneous substance in the products ChemNutra imported that would cause injury or death to animals."

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