The food industry looked set for a crackdown after two Chinese firms enhancing pet food additives to meet contractual obligations for protein content caused the deaths of 4,000 pets in the US.
Some of the contaminated products ended up in feed eaten by 6,000 hogs and 3.1 million chickens.
China at first denied any involvement in the contamination that led to the recall of some 100 brands of pet food. However, on May 8, it said it had tracked down the contamination to Binzhou Futian Biology Technology and Xuzhou Anying Biologic Technology Development. The companies added melamine, a chemical used in plastics and fertilizer, to wheat gluten and rice protein used in pet food.
According to the regulators, the companies had been illegally trying "to meet the contractual demand for the amount of protein in the products."
Beijing’s crackdown on dangerous practices in the food industry, announced the next day, was described by critics as a rhetorical response to the scandal.