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Two US Companies to Pay $7 Million for Pet Food Fraud

Two US companies will pay $7 million after admitting that they omitted poultry meal from pet foods or replaced it with feather and bone meals. 

Wilbur-Ellis Co., which makes ingredients used in the pet food industry, will pay about $4.5 million in restitution and $1 million in criminal forfeitures, according to an 11 October announcement from the Department of Justice. The company pleaded guilty in April to introducing adulterated food into interstate commerce. Texan company Wilbur-Ellis replaced chicken and turkey meal with cheaper substitutes, such as feather meal and feed-grade chicken bone by-product meal. They also omitted ingredients, including the turkey meal in a product labelled as turkey meal.

Diversified Ingredients Inc., a commodities broker in pet food industries, will pay $1.5 million in restitution and $75,000 in criminal forfeiture. That company's leaders pleaded guilty in July to introducing adulterated and misbranded foods. Mr Doyle, an attorney for Diversified Ingredients, said his clients learned about the fraud from the Wilbur-Ellis plant during a lawsuit filed in 2014, when Nestle Purina PetCare Co. had accused Blue Buffalo Co. Ltd. of making false claims about Blue Buffalo's pet food ingredients. He said Diversified Ingredients had no intent to defraud customers, and had relied on their customers to perform quality assurance testing, and Diversified Ingredients since has introduced more quality assurance activities including audits of suppliers.

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