US Wheat Gluten Importer Identified

The importer, ChemNutra, claims only pet food makers got the wheat gluten. Their Web site only lists wheat gluten under animal feed, not food for people. AP story:

None of the contaminated wheat gluten that led to the U.S. recall of pet food went to manufacturers of food for humans, the ingredient’s importer said Tuesday.

The Chinese wheat gluten imported by ChemNutra Inc. all went to companies that make pet foods, Stephen Miller, chief executive officer of the Las Vegas company, told The Associated Press.

Miller declined to identify what companies ChemNutra supplied.

This does not match the Boston Globe’s news that the wheat gluten was sold to human food companies. We have a theory that makes sense in light of both news.

ChemNutra calls themselves the China-Source Experts: “ChemNutra imports quality ingredients from China to the U.S. for the feed, food and pharma industries. ChemNutra imports over 4,000 tons per year, and our customers include several Fortune 500 companies.” (Thanks for the reader tips)

In related news, we received a tip from Howl911 about a theory that links contamination of wheat gluten to the use of melamine-formaldehyde in the textile industry. (Read the theory after the jump.)

External Author’s Notes:

I’ve theorized the same–that an additive, probably melanine-formaldehyde, was added to the gluten to increase it’s crosslinking and hence it’s water absorption rate. Why would this be beneficial. Well, from a commercial standpoint, it means LESS wheat gluten would need to added in order to achieve the desired gelling effect (as in gravy manufacturing). Using melamine-formaldehyde as an additive represents a chemical method of modifying the gluten (increasing the protein-protein crosslinking to improve it’s gelling ability) in much the same way as with enzymatic mofication with TGase (transglutaminase). I’ve found several online references regarding using melamine-formaldehyde for not just wheat, but soy and other plant proteins as well. Also, melamine-formaldehyde is used specifically for crosslinking wheat gluten to improve the gluten’s resin-like performance in the textile/printing industry. The fact that the Chinese supplier also sold this to another Chinese supplier–a textiles company–is very telling.

Many are saying that the melamine is in itself not toxic, but rather a marker for whatever the true toxin is. I wonder if that toxin might be formaldehyde? I’ve got a number of scientific papers I’m scrutinizing for tying up loose ends to my theory, but I’m still wading thru them (although I’ve got a graduate degree in biochemistry, my chemistry is rusty…so I’m trying to be careful about drawing any false conclusions.)



by Robert Jay Russell, Ph.D., President, Coton de Tulear Club of America (

April 2nd, 2007.

As you know, I’ve been publishing many warnings about wheat gluten in dog

and human foods since this pet poisoning crises burst on the scene. I have

also been sharply critical of our government’s inaction, and their obvious

protection of guilty corporate parties. A story released by Elise Weise and

Julie Schmit yesterday (”Pet Foods Recall Spreads, and So Does Confusion,”

USA Today, 4/1/07) affirms much in my previous reports.

Weise and Schmit report that:

The FDA has not publicly identified the firm that supplied the contaminated

wheat gluten to the USA. But on Friday, the agency issued an import alert ”

found on its website” saying wheat gluten from the Xuzhou Anying Biologic

Technology Development Co. of Peixian, China, could be detained without

inspection until it produced results from “the firm’s investigation(s) into

the problem of melamine contamination” and documents showing that corrective

action had been taken.

Dr. Russell continues:

Let’s examine that shocking news:

(1) The FDA — an agency we the taxpayer pays for — will not tell us where

the wheat gluten poisoning the US food supply is coming from, and;

(2) The FDA will rely on the Chinese company that made and sold the poisoned

wheat gluten to tell us that it’s product is safe, and we can all eat it.

As it happens, I was grabbing information off the net about the Xuzhou

Anying Biologic Technology Development Co. of Peixian, China, about a week

ago and found that they export wheat gluten to both human food and pet food

makers. They do not, in their commodities sales literature, classify this

gluten — which they market as “Wheat Vital Protein” — as specifically for

pets only. Here is their product statement (it’s in broken English, to be

sure, but I appreciate their effort since my Chinese would be impossible):

Wheat gluten meal is also named wheat vital protein. The flour is used as

its raw material, and from which extracts a light brown natural Grain powder

through intensively processing. It is a good solubles protein, containing

fifteen amino acid essencial for human body. After all, it can yet be

regarded as a plant protein food looking good, smelling good and tasting



Protein: 75% min

Moistur: 8% max

Ash (lime) : 1% max

The rate of absorbing water: 160% min

The degree of thickness: 99% through 200um tough silk sieve

Taste smell: normal, with grain delicious

Outward ap: light yellow powder

The product description is innocuous, but additional referencing elsewhere

on the web has lead me to hypothesize that an as yet undisclosed Chinese

experimental gluten additive may have been added to this export gluten

product as early as last summer (July, 2006 or even earlier) and that this

additive, if I am correct, could have produced the diverse findings of

byproducts such as the plastic melamine (which the FDA says may have been

represented a whopping and very visible 6% of the total Chinese gluten

package!) and the compound aminopterin (which Cornell labs state

unequivocally is present in their samples today). At present, the etiology

of kidney disease caused by either of these two compounds is vaguely

understood at best, although both are known to be nephrotoxic under proper

conditions. If my hypothesis is correct, another compound altogether, which

is definitely causative of acute renal tubule failure and which is a newly

announced Chinese wheat gluten additive, is at fault and the previously

discovered compounds are secondary and contributory.

Further, if I am correct, other Chinese gluten producers may be using this

additive and supplying markets other than those already identified in the

pet poisoning debacle. Stay tuned.

As soon as I work out the biochemistry on this, I’ll write an article here

and contact Cornell. I think its a lead worth looking into. Hopefully

their collective, extremely intelligent heads will beat me to the punch on

this. But even if I am dead wrong about the causative molecule, these

observations stand today:

1. The human food supply subject to wheat gluten is suspect.

Bread, pizza dough, candy, crackers, pasta, cereal and so much more may

contain suspect Chinese wheat gluten;

2. The US pet food industry gets 80% of its wheat glutens from China. No pet

food, dry or wet or treats, can be considered in any way safe if it contains

wheat gluten. Period;

3. The date which toxic wheat gluten was first used in US food products

(human or pet) is NOT KNOWN. Only Menu foods has stated tangentially that it

“changed gluten suppliers

in November” and that the tainted Chinese gluten was used in its food from

that time onwards. None of the other companies who have been outed (Purina

and Delmonte to date) have stated when Chinese gluten first appeared in

their products.

4. There is a possibility that is not denied by the FDA that a great many of

America’s pets are now suffering progressive assymptomatic kidney disease.

There is also a possibility that many people are in that same boat, albeit

with an absolutely larger kidney festooned with geometrically more tubules,

they could remain assymptomatic for quite a bit longer than either Fido or


From the onset, I have urged everyone to avoid wheat and wheat gluten in

their pet’s diet. I would also suggest that this is an excellent time for

the bipeds in your household to start a wheat gluten-free dietary program. I

know that that is difficult, and that gluten, which was never good for us,

sure makes so many things taste good. But look at it this way: none of us

want to compete for donor kidneys down the road. And our poor pets don’t

even get kidney transplants, they just sicken and die painfully.


(c)2007 Dr. R. J. Russell & the CTCA

10 Responses to “US Wheat Gluten Importer Identified”

  1. 4lgdfriend says:
    ” I think it is highly possible we have not yet found all the contaminents.

    I was just now trying to decipher, using the FDA tutorial guide, the codes the FDA has in the #99- 26 Alert, which importers use to identify substances by code, there are three:

    product codes
    02F [ ] [ ] 08
    02E [ ] [ ] 06
    71M [ ] [ ] 01

    The numbers and letters stand for five things, Industry, Class, Subclass, Process Indication Code, and Product. So by looking at the first number, we see 02, 02, and 71, which is milled grains, milled grains, and Byproducts for Animal foods, respectively.

    So 2 of the codes are for food grade (human consumption) wheat gluten, E and F, but the third one is for Industry number 71, Byproducts, class M, which is not found in Byproducts Indusry 71. What is “M?” The FDA has also left blank spaces in the code numbers for these three batches of material it is searching for, there is supposed to be a series of 5 letters and numbers, and there is only 3, with 2 blank spaces left in the middle, which would help pinpoint more specifically.

    This is extremely suspicious behavior on the part of the FDA, based on what I have read in Susan Hu’s diary from yesterday on the FDA’s drop in product inspections. I believe they may know more about the wheat gluten’s whereabouts than they are currently admitting to publically. And now let me speculate that indeed this gluten MIGHT be in the human food chain, and the FDA does not want to set off a stampede of paniced consumers.”

  2. Steve says:

    Here’s the industries agenda. Damn The Customers.

    Sector Snap: Pet Food Makers Recover
    Tuesday April 3, 11:43 am ET

  3. Steve says:

    Oh and don’t forget the Ol’ New World Wheat Gluten Order Guys. Don’t these guys have anything better to do at their age then deciding what our future is going to be?

    2:38 a.m. April 3, 2007

    BEIJING – China’s rise as a global power is inevitable and could lead to conflict unless Beijing and Washington can cooperate to create a new global order, former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said on Tuesday.

  4. Jonathan says:

    Watch Lou Dobbs he is doing something on the tainted pet food CF. Looks like Anderson Cooper is also doing a piece. Glad he reads our emails!!

  5. spocko says:

    I just read the IHT article based on the full AP article. It’s very disturbing.

    For in the early article Xuzhou Anying, said that they sold it to others, specifically Suzhou Textile Import & Export Co. I tracked them down and found out they are now called Suzhou Hengrun Import & Export Corp., Ltd. So is the FDA tracking down THEIR shipments to the US?

    ChemNutra said it has recalled 873 tons (792 metric tons) of wheat gluten that it shipped to three pet food makers and a single distributor who in turn supplies the pet food industry. The company said the recall applied only to wheat gluten from Xuzhou Anying, one of its three Chinese suppliers of the ingredient.

    The importer shipped the product in 25-kilogram paper bags between Nov. 9 and March 8, when it learned the ingredient was suspected as the cause of the pet food problems. ChemNutra said it then quarantined its wheat gluten inventory

    And ChemNutra said that they sold it to a distributor and three pet food companies. Who is the Distributor? Who did THEY sell it to?

  6. ChemNutra Press Release says:

    The Blaine Group, Inc.
    A Total Communications Agency
    8665 Wilshire Blvd., Suite #301, Beverly Hills, CA 90211
    310/360-1499 · 310/360-1498 FAX · E-mail:
    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 3, 2007
    The Blaine Group
    310.360.1499 FAX: 1498
    Las Vegas, NV… April 3, 2007… ChemNutra Inc., of Las Vegas, Nevada, yesterday
    recalled all wheat gluten it had imported from one of its three Chinese wheat gluten
    suppliers – Xuzhou Anying Biologic Technology Development Co. Ltd.
    The wheat gluten ChemNutra recalled was all shipped from China in 25 kg. paper bags,
    and distributed to customers in the same unopened bags. The bags were all labeled
    “Wheat Gluten Batch No.: _______ Net Weight: 25 kg Gross Weight: 25.1 kg Made
    in China”. The batch numbers included in the recall are 20061006, 20061027, 20061101,
    20061108, 20061122, 20061126, 20061201, 20061202, 20061203, 20061204, 20061205,
    20061206, 20061208, 20061221, 20070106, 20070111, 20070116, and 20070126. Each
    ChemNutra shipment had the certificate of analysis information from the supplier,
    including batch number and the supplier’s content analysis and test results. ChemNutra
    shipped from its Kansas City warehouse to three pet food manufacturers and one
    distributor who supplies wheat gluten only to the pet food industry. ChemNutra’s
    shipments commenced November 9, 2006 and ended March 8, 2007. ChemNutra did not
    ship to facilities that manufacture food for human consumption, and the distributor
    ChemNutra shipped to supplies wheat gluten only to pet food manufacturers. The total
    quantity of Xuzhou Anying wheat gluten shipped was 792 metric tons.
    ChemNutra learned on March 8 from one pet food manufacturer that the wheat gluten it
    had sold them – all from the Xuzhou Anying - was among ingredients suspected as a
    potential cause of pet food problems. ChemNutra immediately quarantined its entire
    wheat gluten inventory and assisted this customer’s investigation.
    After that manufacturer issued a pet food recall, the FDA immediately commenced a
    thorough investigation of ChemNutra’s wheat gluten, including documentation analysis,
    inspection, and laboratory testing. ChemNutra cooperated fully with the FDA and
    immediately notified its other three wheat gluten customers about the FDA’s
    investigation. Those customers had all purchased smaller amounts of the Xuzhou Anying
    wheat gluten commencing in January, 2007.
    On Friday, March 30, the FDA announced they had found melamine in samples of the
    wheat gluten ChemNutra had imported from Xuzhou Anying. The FDA did not inform
    ChemNutra of any other impurities in the Xuzhou Anying wheat gluten, nor of any
    impurities in the wheat gluten from ChemNutra’s other two Chinese suppliers.
    The toxicity of melamine is not clear. However, since melamine is not approved by the
    FDA for pet food, it should absolutely not have been in wheat gluten. ChemNutra is
    extremely concerned about the purity of all of its products. The company is particularly
    troubled that the certificates of analysis provided by the above-named supplier did not
    report the presence of melamine.
    ChemNutra wants to ensure its products are safe. Consequently, in addition to its
    ongoing cooperation with the FDA, ChemNutra will be conducting its own independent,
    analytical tests of wheat gluten from all of its suppliers.
    Yesterday ChemNutra sent recall notices to all four of its direct customers. If any other
    company received bags of recalled wheat gluten from the lot numbers referenced above,
    please call ChemNutra at 702.818.5019.
    Consumers who have questions about the pet food they should go to the FDA’s website
    at This website lists all brands
    of petfood involved, with links to the manufacturer who should be contacted with

  7. sue says:

    That’s my question too, who is the other independent supplier ChemNutra sold to and where did it go from there?? I looked up the American Feed Industry Association Purchasing and Ingredient Suppliers and yep, ChemNutra is listed as a member. If you want a laugh, click on the “safe feed” program at the AFIA site and read how they are oh so committed to feed safety and customer confidence…of particular interest to me also as a cat owner is that ChemNutra also imports Chinese taurine and that is one added ingredient that is absolutely vital in EVERY cat food to prevent feline cardiomyopathy from an insufficiency of it… Sue

  8. Lee says:

    quantity= 792 metric tons?? Seems like a lot?

    ChemNutra learned on March 8 from one pet food manufacturer that the wheat gluten it had sold them – all from the Xuzhou Anying - was among ingredients suspected as a potential cause of pet food problems.

    ChemNutra immediately quarantined entire wheat gluten inventory … BUT IF ANYONE ELSE GOT IT LET US KNOW?
    After that manufacturer issued a pet food recall, the FDA immediately commenced a thorough investigation of ChemNutra’s wheat gluten, including documentation analysis, inspection, and laboratory testing. IMMEDIATELY?
    ChemNutra cooperated fully with the FDA and immediately notified its other three wheat gluten customers about the FDA’s investigation.
    Those customers had all purchased smaller amounts of the Xuzhou Anying
    wheat gluten commencing in January, 2007.

  9. Karen says:

    Why so late? Because profits motivate people (how much can they absorb in losses vs. how much they make per sale).

  10. Joy says:

    Who here believes that scientists at Cornell University and the New York State Food Laboratory mistook Melamine for Rat Poison? I don’t.

    I do believe that Melamine was found, I just don’t believe it’s killing pets.

    So I‘ve been wondering, in what ways would traces of Melamine end up in canned pet food? Obviously there are several - but check this out…

    I was reading (link below) a publication titled “Influence of Heat and Cure Preservatives on Residues of Sulfamethazine, Chloramphenicol, and Cyromazine in Muscle Tissue.”

    In this, they administered Melamine residues to cattle and then subjected the muscle tissue to the cooking process required for canning.

    In part, the document reads. “In canned product, melamine was present at 1 ppm for the dosed and nondosed tissue. The melamine contamination may be due to the melamine-formaldehyde resin in the can lining.

    Melamine residues in can linings? Canned pet food “poisoned” with Melamine?

    So, I looked for more information and learned that the canning industry regularly uses Melamine (or Melamine/Formaldehyde, aka MF Melamine) as a coating on the interior surface of cans. Apparently the cans are coated to prevent corrosion of the can and metal contamination of the food in the can.

    So, I started looking for companies that manufacture MF Melamine (there are many)and I learned that the world’s biggest Melamine manufacturer is DSM.

    You remember DSM right? They are the company that made a big announcement last week swearing that its product could not possibly be linked to the pet food poisoning; they said “Melamine manufactured by DSM is not used directly or indirectly in any application that could be linked to these claims.”


    I read more carefully through their website and discovered that DSM is also a manufacturer of Can Coating Resins, one of which is MF Melamine (Brand name Uramex MF). Here’s a link to that sales site.

    Interestingly, DSM Nutritional Products, a Division of DSM/Melamine, is a member of the Pet Food Institute (PFI is a lobbying group representing pet food makers). DSM is listed on that site as a member/supplier.

    Also, one of the companies I found using this MF Melamine can-coating is a company called Crown Holdings (aka Crown Cork & Seal Company and renamed “Global Closure Systems” in April, 2006) which manufactures cans for the food canning industry. According to their website, their clients include pet food manufacturers Heinz, Mars, Nestle and MENU FOODS.

    again, hmmmm….

    There is a lot more info available about the canning industry and Melamine can-coating resins. None of it seems too sinister to me. After all, our soup and beer cans are lined with it, right?

    Perhaps traces of Melamine would show up in most all canned products, at least to some degree. And perhaps traces of it would be excreted by animals or people who have recently ingested that canned product. I don’t know what levels were found or whether those levels would be deadly….but…

    It makes me wonder, is Melamine just a normal by-product of the canning industry but a chemical name unfamiliar enough to most Americans to make us believe it could kill our dogs and cats?

    I guess a chemical used to make “plastic kitchenware” and “fertilizer for your garden“ is a lot less sinister than a Rat Poison that was once used for abortions and has been banned in the United States since the 1950‘s.

    Any thoughts?

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