A federal judge has sentenced the owners of Chemnutra to three years probation for distributing a melamine-tainted ingredient that triggered a massive pet food recall in 2007 and caused the deaths and illnesses of thousands of dog and cats nationwide.
In addition to the probation the judge in Nevada ordered Sally Qing Miller (43), a Chinese national, and her husband, Stephen S. Miller (57), to each pay a $5,000 fine and Miller's company, Chemnutra, Inc., to pay a $25,000 fine.
The result of this sentencing
ends a long legal case that centred on the involvement of the Millers and Chemnutra with importing and distributing the melamine-tainted wheat gluten used in the recalled pet food.
Chemnutra is a Nevada-based company that buys food products in China and imports them into the United States.
The company then sells those products to pet food makers and other manufacturers in the food industry.
Sally Miller is Chemnutra's controlling owner and president, while Stephen Miller is an owner and the company's chief executive officer.
From November of 2006 through February 2007, Chemnutra and Millers imported more than 800 tonnes of melamine-tainted wheat gluten from China in at least 13 separate shipments, according to a federal indictment.
Chemnutra received the melamine-tainted wheat gluten at a port of entry in Kansas City, Missouri, the indictment said. The company then sold and shipped the tainted wheat gluten to customers across the United States, who used the tainted product to make various brands of pet food.
During the federal court hearing the judge decided not to impose further restitution because of the $24 million settlement reached in a civil suit filed in the wake of the pet food recall.
The melamine-tainted wheat gluten forced pet food makers to recall more than 150 brands of dog and cat food during 2007. It was the largest pet food recall in US history.
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