Posted April 1, 2015
A pet owner hopes to start a class action lawsuit over kibble that he says killed or sickened thousands of dogs, including three of his own.
The kibble producer says the lawsuit is baseless, and the pet food is safe.
Frank Lucido of Discovery Bay, California, which is east of San Francisco, accuses Nestle Purina Pet Care of selling food tainted with toxic materials in its Beneful line. His complaint filed Feb. 5 in the U.S. District Court for Northern California states that his 8-year-old English Bulldog died, and his 4-year-old German Shepherd Dog and 11-year-old Labrador Retriever were sickened, after eating Beneful products.
He said in the court documents that the Bulldog and German Shepherd Dog had internal bleeding, and the three dogs had a mix of other disorders such as liver malfunction, lethargy, and hair loss. And he claims to have found more than 3,000 other complaints made online over the past four years about dogs that became ill or died after eating Beneful.
Lucido filed the accusations as a proposed class action lawsuit. Nestle Purina had received an extended deadline of April 2 to file a response in court.
Company officials released a public statement that the lawsuit is baseless, as were two similar lawsuits that have been dismissed. They further stated that their priority is the health and well-being of the millions of dogs that eat the “high-quality, nutritious food” produced for the Beneful line, and people can be confident in feeding Beneful products to their dogs.
The accusation claims that the Beneful line of kibble is toxic because it contains propylene glycol and mycotoxins, and it may contain other substances toxic to dogs.
The company said in the public statement that propylene glycol is approved as a food additive in foods for humans and animals, with the exception of cats. While Lucido’s filings indicate the substance is used in automotive antifreeze, the company responded that the substance is used in nontoxic versions, and it differs from ethylene glycol.
Nestle Purina’s statement also indicates the company tests for aflatoxins in its ingredients and acquires and keeps them under strict standards.
The AVMA has published a statement that AVMA officials know about the lawsuit but have no additional information, and any veterinarian or pet owner who thinks a food or treat is related to an illness should report the illness to the manufacturer and the Food and Drug Administration. The latter accepts reports here.