Toxic chemical leak in Ohio triggers safety concern

Toxic chemical leak in Ohio triggers safety concern among Chinese pet owners over American food brands like Orijen, Acana by Zhang Han Feb 14 2023

This photo taken with a drone shows portions of a Norfolk and Southern freight train that derailed on Feb. 3 night in East Palestine, Ohio are still on fire at mid-day Feb. 4, 2023.

Chinese pet owners have expressed concerns over pet food safety of American brands, following the serious Ohio chemical leak, as many of their frequently consume brands, such as Orijen and Acana, are headquartered in the neighboring state of Kentucky.

Another brand among those of highest concern is Blue Buffalo, whose headquarters is located in Indiana, west to Ohio.

A “map of American pet food brands” has been reposted frequently on China’s Twitter-like Weibo, with more brands like RAWZ, Fromm, Instinct, Stella&Chewy’s and Nutro marked in accordance with their headquarters’ locations on a US map.

As the contamination could take weeks or potentially months to affect the locally sourced ingredients and the manufacturing process, some Chinese pet owners have already begun to stockpile supplies.

A Beijing-based cat owner, who went by the name Fanfan, told the Global Times on Wednesday that she just ordered three 5.4-kilogram bags of dry food in case the contamination would impact food safety in the future.

“I have read all sorts of media reports, some said it’s ‘Chernobyl 2.0’ while others claimed local environment is within normal scope…But I don’t want to take the risk,” Fanfan said.

Fanfan is accustomed to feeding her cat Orijen, but she has decided to do some research on European brands. Some also started to consider domestic Chinese brands.

The Global Times tried to contact Orijen and Acana, but they failed to respond as of time of press.

According to a report released by e-commerce giant Tmall early in January 2023, China’s consumption of imported pet food increased by 25 percent annually from 2016-21.

The pet economy volume in 2022 was estimated to top 494 billion yuan ($67.4 billion) and more than half of that was pet food.

Of more than 300 foreign companies that are permitted to export pet food to China, 80 are from the US, customs data shows.

The aftermath of an Ohio train derailment incident on February 3, which resulted in toxic chemicals being released into the environment, has left the local community reeling.

Fifty of the 150 cars veered off the tracks after the derailment with Vinyl chloride slowly released into the air from five of those cars before crews ignited the leak to extinguish the highly flammable, toxic chemicals “in a controlled environment.”

Local residents were first ordered to leave, but allowed to return on February 8 after authorities claimed real-time air and water monitoring did not find any contaminant levels above screening limits.

However, community fears and concerns have not been dispelled. Many residents living near the affected area took to social media to report unusual and concerning symptoms presenting in the wake of the incident.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: