An amended class action complaint (Case No. C-15-0569 EMC) was filed late yesterday against Nestlé Purina PetCare Company on behalf of consumers who purchased Beneful brand dog food and had pets suffer from internal organ distress, injury, or failure and death. The complaint, brought in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, alleges that Purina failed to disclose that Beneful contains substances that are toxic to animals, including Industrial Grade Glycols (IGG), lead, arsenic and mycotoxins.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) categorizes Pharmaceutical Grade Propylene Glycol as Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) for ingestion; however, the FDA prohibits the use of IGG in food products due to concerns over contamination and impurities in the manufacturing process.
In addition, the Association for Truth In Pet Food conducted independent testing of Beneful Original dog food and found that it contained mycotoxins, toxins produced by fungus that occurs in grains, which are a principal ingredient in the dog food.
The amended complaint adds 26 more dog owners from across the country who allege Beneful caused their pet’s injuries and, in some cases, deaths. The class action now includes plaintiffs in California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and Washington.
The suit also alleges Purina has been contacting injured consumers soon after they post on social media about their dogs getting sick or the dangers of Beneful. Plaintiffs claim that Purina offers some consumers a settlement that requires them to sign an agreement prohibiting any conversations about the settlement or their experiences with Purina.
“Despite Purina’s aggressive defense of its product, the company is paying pet owners’ claims and demanding secrecy. ‘Why?’ is a question Purina should answer,” said Jeff Cereghino, one of the attorneys involved in the class action.
The products named in the complaint include Purina Beneful Healthy Weight, Purina Beneful Original, Purina Beneful Incredibites, Purina Beneful Healthy Growth For Puppies, Purina Beneful Healthy Smile, Purina Beneful Healthy Fiesta, Purina Beneful Healthy Radiance and Purina Beneful Playful Life.
Symptoms of those affected include stomach and related internal bleeding, liver malfunction or failure, vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, weight loss, seizures, bloating and kidney failure, sometimes resulting in death.
In addition, the suit accuses Purina of negligence, misrepresentation, product liability and unfair business practices. The original complaint, Lucido v. Nestlé Purina, was filed on February 5, 2015.