The FOIA Request that Shur-Green Farms Made to the FDA

Shur-Green Farms is the only business named in the original disclosure of the lasalocid feed contamination incident in Michigan, and several documents have already been released describing their involvement.  For example, there is the FDA Notice of Shur-Green Farms Voluntary Recall of Soyoil/Lacadoil from 10/23/2014, as well as the FDA 483 report to Shur Green on 11/19/2014, and the response of Shur-Green to the FDA on 12/17/2014.  Also public is a warning letter from the FDA to Shur-Green Farms dated 4/24/2015, and Shur-Green's response on 6/8/2015.

Interestingly, the December 17, 2014 response of Shur-Green Farms to the FDA 483 Report includes not only a response to FDA observations, but also a FOIA request.  As a result, this document lays out a part of the sequence of events of this contamination incident, and names additional parties that may be involved.  Here is a blow by blow of what the FDA said on 11/19/2014 and how Shur-Green Farms responded on 12/17/2014:

FDA to SHUR-GREEN FARMS OBSERVATION 1:  You marketed, sold, and shipped Lascadoil waste, an industrial by-product intended for use as a bio-fuel ingredient, as an ingredient for use in animal feed mixtures. On 09/05/2014, you sent an email to your broker confirming Lascadoil could be used in animal feed.

SHUR-GREEN FARMS RESPONSE TO FDA OBSERVATION 1:  We disagree with your investigator's observation #1; it is incorrect and taken out of context. This conclusion was apparently drawn by an email on September 5th to W.W.S, and no reference given to follow up emails and no follow up sale was made to W.W.S.

FDA to SHUR-GREEN FARMS OBSERVATION 2:  You were notified of animal feed contamination related to the Lascadoil you were dealing and continued to distribute to feed manufacturers. On 09/04/2014 you were notified by your supplier of an ongoing FDA investigation due to Lascadoil contaminated feed and instructed by your supplier to incinerate the Lascadoil. On 9/10/2014 and 9/16/2014 you sold Lascadoil to a firm that manufactures animal feed.

SHUR-GREEN FARMS RESPONSE TO FDA OBSERVATION 2:  We disagree with your investigator's observation #2; we were notified by phone on September 19th, 2014 from a Heritage representative that there was an issue of contamination. This was the first time we were notified. We ceased immediately selling any oil at that time.  

Additionally, we explained to your investigator additional information regarding the sale of Lascadoil as Bio-Fuel as opposed to animal feed. We were informed that based on this, your investigator was going to return to follow up with more questions. Ultimately, he never returned and after attempts to contact him for follow up appointment, we were told his investigation was complete.

SHUR-GREEN CLOSES WITH A FOIA REQUEST:  Please consider this our official request under the Freedom of Information Act for all 483's pending this investigation under FEI3011082279.  The request is including but not limited to the following companies. Heritage Environmental and Heritage Interactive and associated companies, GA Wintzer and Son Company, Glycerin Traders LLC, W.W.S. Trading Inc, Superior Feed Ingredients, Sietsema Turkey Farm, Zoetis, and any other companies affected. (bold added)

Some of these companies have previously been implicated in the lasalocid contamination incident.  In particular, a report from Zoetis to the SEC named Zoetis, Shur-Green Farms, and Superior Feed Ingredients, and in a previous post it was argued that these businesses fit nicely into the flowchart that the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) previously provided to describe the investigation. At that time, however, only some of the six boxes in the first part of the flowchart could be even provisionally linked to specific businesses.  This new information from the Shur-Green FOIA request appears to fill in these gaps, and suggests that Gray Box #2 with the words "Interactive Services" may refer to "Heritage Interactive Services" as identified by Shur-Green Farms.  Similarly, Gray Box #5 with the words "Traders LLC" could refer to "Glycerin Traders, LLC".  Consistent with this, a FDA 483 Report on Glycerin Traders dated 12/23/2014  asserts that Glycerin Traders LLC of LaPorte Indiana brokered transactions of Lascadoil on or about 02/06/2014, and again on or about 07/31/2014.  

Slide 11 from the   presentation by MDARD at the January 21, 2015 meeting of the Michigan Commission of Agriculture and Rural Development  , with numbers in left column added by me.  Click image for larger version.

Slide 11 from the presentation by MDARD at the January 21, 2015 meeting of the Michigan Commission of Agriculture and Rural Development, with numbers in left column added by me.  Click image for larger version.

Altogether then, it appears that the business entities represented by MDARD in the first section of their schematic could correspond to the following companies:

#1 - Orange Box - Zoetis, Inc.

#2 - Gray Box - Heritage Interactive (according to Shur-Green Farms, this could also include Heritage Environmental and other associated companies.)

#3 - Blue Box - Shur-Green Farms, LLC (perhaps also known as Kremer Family Farms, which resides at the same address as Shur-Green Farms in Ansonia, Ohio.)

#4 - Blue Box - Restaurant Recycling Services, LLC

#5 - Gray Box - Glycerin Traders, LLC

#6 - Gray Box - Superior Feed Ingredients, LLC

Of course the Shur-Green Farms FOIA request also implicates GA Wintzer and Son Company, and W.W.S. Trading Inc.  It isn't obvious where these fit on the MDARD schematic, which could mean that they don't fit, or that we just haven't yet figured out where.  

There is still a long ways to go in understanding exactly what happened in the lasalocid feed contamination incident, but the Zoetis report to the SEC and this 483 Response Letter and FOIA request from Shur Green Farms have begun the important work of establishing which companies were involved in the early stages of this event, when contaminated oil was brokered and moved from its place of manufacture to grease distributers in Michigan and other midwest states.