Wilbur-Ellis Recalls Rice Protein Concentrate

Wilbur-Ellis said Thursday it was voluntarily recalling all lots of a rice protein concentrate its feed division had shipped to pet-food manufacturers.

Wilbur-Ellis said the recall was because of a risk that rice protein concentrate may have been contaminated by melamine, a chemical used to make plastics and fertilizers that can lead to illness or fatalities if consumed.

The announcement is the latest in a widening recall of dog and cat food products across the United States since mid-March. More than 100 brands of pet food have been recalled after reports of cases of pets developing kidney failure.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has received more than 14,000 reports of pet illnesses so far. Officials have confirmed just 16 deaths but believe the actual number could be higher.

Wilbur-Ellis' said it obtained rice protein from a single source in China and shipped it to five U.S. pet-food manufacturers, in Utah, New York, Kansas and two in Missouri.

The company said it had told the FDA Sunday that a single bag in a recent shipment of rice protein concentrate from its Chinese supplier, Binzhou Futian Biology Technology Co. Ltd., had tested positive for melamine.

Wilbur-Ellis said it separated that bag and quarantined the entire shipment for further testing and no further deliveries of rice protein concentrate had been made since.

The company also said a pet food distributor issued a voluntary recall of its pet food Monday, believing the source of contamination to be rice protein concentrate supplied by it.

Wilbur-Ellis said it is urging all pet food manufacturers using rice protein concentrate supplied by it to recall any pet food that may be on supermarket shelves.