So begins the frenzy

I see today the first report indicating that the legal quagmire around the pet food recall has begun.

Menu Foods, who supplied the poisoned food to so many companies, has filed suit against the Las Vegas company that imported it from China, ChemNutra Inc.

ChemNutra is of course saying it’s not their fault. They’re just innocent victims too: it’s those bad people at XuZhou Anying Biologic Technology Development that did it. And, anyway, ChemNutra was duped, duped I tell you, since “[the company] had been recommended to us by a long-time reliable source in China, and presented what appeared to be legitimate proof that its product was safe”.

Of course, since this is a company in China, don’t expect any sort of legal redress from them. ChemNutra is the last one in the finger pointing chain in a country with a mature liability and litigation system so they’ll be the ones left holding the bag. Menu foods is surely suing in anticipation of an onslaught of suits from companies like Iams and others whom they supplied and have had to recall food.

Meanwhile, if this wasn’t an urgent enough situation already the fact that this may touch the human food chain is kicking this up into high gear.

My prediction: this will be bigger than Katrina when it’s all over. This is a very slow moving earthquake and we’re still in the early stages of it. This will have a huge impact on food trade with China (as in, hurt it if not kill it), cause a gigantic shift in the pet food industry, likely lead to the creation of some central entity to deal with these situations in the future, cause a change in tort law to enable pet owners to sue for more than the value of a pet as a possession.

Personally, I won’t shed a tear if all the companies involved in this go under. I paid (very) good money for Eukanuba food for years. And now I find that they knowingly are getting supplies from China and from a company with “Biologic Technology Development” in the name? What the hell was I paying for then? Someone please answer me that? My own suspicion is that Iams will be the biggest loser in this. People (like me) that bought their food were paying extra for what was perceived to be the value of quality. We’ve found that quality isn’t there, it wasn’t there. We can afford to go elsewhere to find that value. I think a lot of us will if we haven’t already. There’s been nothing from Iams/Eukanuba that amounts to an acknowledgement of that problem and tries to “get right”. At least Royal Canin came out and said they won’t let anything from China into their products again.

Like I said, this is just getting started. Were it not for the fact that people are losing their loved ones and no one in any position of authority gives a damn this would be fun to watch. As it is, though, the longer this goes on, the deeper the anger becomes. And there will surely be a reckoning.