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Case Study December 13, 2018

Pet food plague: Pet food manufacturer accidentally poisons pets with contaminated ingredients

A leading pet food manufacturer in North America with facilities throughout the US and Canada, manufactures multiple lines of cat and dog food under their own brand, and also contracts to manufacture similar pet food products for external brands under white-label. The company’s revenues in the last financial year were USD 95,000,000.

To produce their pet food, the manufacturer imports some of their ingredients from various suppliers worldwide, including wheat gluten, which is a common ingredient in pet food. The ingredients come with certificates of conformance and the company completes random batch testing once the ingredients arrives at their warehouse. Despite a rigorous quality testing procedure, in January 2018, a large batch of contaminated wheat gluten went undetected due to human error.

Consequently, the batch was incorporated into a number of different product lines, under two external brands as well as the company’s own label. The manufacturer was first made aware of the potential contamination after several customers took to social media to complain of their pets falling seriously ill.

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The companies and circumstances in this case study are fictional, but the scenarios are realistic and reasonable based on our experience.