Menu Foods CEO Paul K. Henderson announced a quarterly loss of 30 million dollars with an additional 42 million in unplanned expenses directly related to the pet food recall during the Menu Foods Annual General Meeting held June 29, 2007.
During the last four months, Menu Foods has recalled more than 60 million containers of wet pet foods in direct connection with the M.A.R.C. (Melamine and Related Compounds) Recall. The pet food recall was a direct result of several reports of family pets being sickened after eating moist pet foods, including those produced by Menu Foods.
For the first time in 35 years, Menu Foods had been forced to scale back production and implement temporary lay-offs due to the pet food recall.
Melamine, the substance suspected of infecting cats and dogs who ate Menu Foods pet foods, is not usually used in the production of pet foods, and therefore was not a substance usually included in pet food regulatory testing.
Melamine is a coal-based substance used in the production of plastics. How Melamine found its way into the production of wheat gluten to be used pet food production is unclear. It has been suspected that Melamine was added to give artificial results during protein testing of raw materials used in pet food production. When tested, Melamine gives off a high level of nitrogen, which is an indicator of high levels of protein.
In 2006 when wheat gluten was in short supply, Menu Foods turned to ChemNutra of Las Vegas to supply them with the plant nutrient for pet food production. ChemNutra acquired the wheat gluten from a supplier in Xuzhou, China.
Menu Foods discontinued the use of Chinese wheat gluten on March 7, 2007 as a safety precaution during ongoing testing to determine the exact cause of the widespread illness among family pets. Supplies from new wheat gluten suppliers have been tested and found to be free from Melamine.
During the meeting Henderson discussed The Washington Post’svisit to China to follow-up on the wheat gluten contamination. Factory visits by the newspaper discovered empty factories, dismantled machines and an absence of workers.
The contaminated wheat gluten from China also found its way into the pork feeding system, fish farming and poultry, resulting in huge quarantines and the eventual slaughter of contaminated livestock.
Menu Foods is looking forward to a brighter year-end as production is underway with new wheat gluten suppliers and more stringent supply testing by government agencies.
Paul K. Henderson, President & CEO Menu Foods, “Menu Foods Annual General Meeting”, Presentation / Press Release as posted at http://www.menufoods.com/RECALL/