Contract dog food maker Wilbur-Ellis, and supplier Diversified Ingredients, have plead guilty to criminal charges of putting chicken feathers, turkey feathers, and bone in dog food labeled as "premium". Wilbur-Ellis and Diversified will pay a combined fine of $7 million.
Wilbur-Ellis is a repeat dog food fraudster that is routinely hired by companies that make pretty labels and which tell fancy stories, pbut which have no direct suppliers, manufacturing, bagging, or storage facilities, laboratories, or kennels. Instead, these companies simply "lick and stick" a label on a bag of dog food that a third party, often several states away, has said was manufactured to their recipe.
Ryan Yamka, founder of Luna Science and Nutrition, and a former senior vice president at Blue Buffalo, another repeat dog food fraudster, said that many small and medium-size companies rely on "co-manufacturers" because they can’t “spend $50 million for a plant."
The feathers and bone fraud has been going on for years.
Wilbur-Ellis ranked 155th on Forbes' 2017 ranking of America's largest private companies, generating about $3 billion in revenue in 2016. In short, this fine is unlikely to change the company's business practices.
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