WSJ With Traceability Lessons From Melamine Case

The Wall Street Journal reports that a stamped invoice for wheat gluten ordered by a U.S. company adds to evidence linking two Chinese corporations to a scandal over contaminated pet food. Copies of the documents are also posted online. "If one reviews these documents," says API expert Girish Malhotra, "there is no way for one to find out what is happening. Any exporter/importer can ship any product globally without anyone really understanding the ramifications of shipment." Note similarity to this and what happened with "glycerine" shipments to pharma companies. The invoice was apparently sent by a Chinese trading company, Suzhou Textiles, Silk, Light Industrial Products, Arts & Crafts Import Export Co., and names the manufacturer as Xuzhou Anying Biologic Technology Development Co. The wheat gluten was purchased by Las Vegas-based pet-food supplier ChemNutra Inc., which has posted a copy of the invoice, along with two other documents, on a Web site run by a public-relations firm working for ChemNutra. Both Suzhou Textiles, a chemical and textile exporter, and Xuzhou Anying have denied involvement in the tainted-pet-food scandal. How widespread such mislabeling might be is one of the questions the FDA is trying to answer, the Journal reports. "That's really one of the fundamental issues," a person familiar with the investigation said to Journal reporter, Nicholas Kaminska. "If it's not the right code, somebody doesn't get alerted to something they need to be alerted to," the person said, referring to the sorts of product codes inspectors rely on to determine whether they need to review a particular shipment. For those of you interested in accessing, here is the Certificate of origin.