U.S. Marshals seized millions of dollars worth of ingredients on May 7 2009 from American Mercantile Corporation, based in Memphis Tennessee. During an inspection of the company in March, FDA investigators discovered evidence of extensive rodent and insect infestation throughout the company’s warehouse, which the company failed to correct.
American Mercantile stores and processes food ingredients, which are sold or used in the dietary supplements, food, tea and pet food manufacturing industries.
American Mercantile apparently also has links to pet and equine foods. According to a story on herbs4horses.com, American Mercantile is a parent company of Herbs for Horses, an herbal product company for the equine and pet market. American Mercantile’s ability to source ingredients for equine and pet foods is what attracted Don Silver, Manager of Equine Science to sell his company to American Mercantile in 2006.
No one at Ingredients Corporation of America or Herbs for Horses was available for comment at the time of publication, but the ownership affiliation between these two companies and American Mercantile gives rise to the question about whether contaminated ingredients are in finished foods and pet products.
Based upon past recalls involving the contaminant melamine and the recent contaminated peanut product recall, we know that some ingredients are spread throughout the human and pet food market in a large scale manner. While we don’t know yet how widespread the use of these seized ingredients may be, I think it’s probably worth following the story to see what develops.