Couple pleads guilty to role in 2007 pet food recall

Couple pleads guilty to role in 2007 pet food recall

Jun 18, 2009
By staff
Kansas City -- The owners of a pet-food company implicated in the 2007 recall that is estimated to have killed about 4,000 pets pleaded guilty to some of the charges leveled against them.

Sally Qing Miller and her husband, Stephen S. Miller, of Las Vegas, were indicted, along with their company, Chemnutra Inc., in 2008 for their alleged role in the 2007 pet food recall.

Chemnutra buys food and food components from China, then imports and distributes those foods in the United States, according Matt J. Whitworth, acting U.S. attorney for the western district of Missouri.

The Millers imported more than 13 shipments, totaling 800 metric tons, of wheat gluten tainted with melamine between November 2006 and February 2007, Whitmore says. The tainted wheat gluten was then used to make various brands of pet food -- 150 brands of which were later recalled, but not before an estimated 1,950 cats and 2,200 dogs died from eating the tainted food.

The Millers and their company each pleaded guilty to one count of selling adulterated food and one count of selling misbranded food. They Millers are subject to up to two years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine of up to $200,000 and restitution, according to Whitmore.

Chemnutra as a company is subject to a $400,000 fine and restitution.

Sentencing hearings have not yet been scheduled.