Pet Owner Files Class Action Suit Against Purina after Dogs Become Sick

Pet Owner Files Class Action Suit Against Purina after Dogs Become Sick
Image: Pixabay
February 25, 2015

A dog food maker has once again found itself in the middle of a lawsuit alleging that its food is making pets ill.

California dog owner Frank Lucido filed a class action suit against Purina after his dogs became extremely sick after eating Beneful dog food. One of this three dogs has died, while two remain under veterinary care.

The complaint also alleges that the food made thousands of dogs sick, citing 3,000 online complaints.

"The dogs show consistent symptoms, including stomach and related internal bleeding, liver malfunction or failure, vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, weight loss, seizures, bloating, and kidney failure," the lawsuit alleges.

The suit claims that the ingredient propylene glycol and mycotoxins, which are toxins produced by fungus that occurs in grains, are the cause of the illnesses.

Propylene glycol is a Food and Drug Administration generally recognized as safe (GRAS) food additive, but is also an ingredient in antifreeze, which is highly toxic to animals.

Propylene glycol is used in more than 4,000 food and beverages, but has come under recent scrutiny, particularly after Norway, Sweden and Finland issued a recall for Fireball Whiskey, which contained higher amounts of the ingredient than the countries allow. The recalled bottles contained the American recipe, which contains higher levels of propylene glycol as allowed by the FDA.

Purina in a statement called the claims baseless and vowed to defend themselves in court.

"Like other pet foods, Beneful is occasionally the subject of social media-driven misinformation," said the company in a statement. "On-line postings often contain false, unsupported and misleading allegations that cause undue concern and confusion for our Beneful customers."

The company settled with pet owners in May 2014, agreeing to pay out $6.5 million in compensation to those who believe their pets were sickened after eating jerky treats made in China. The company never admitted fault and continues to claim its treats are safe.

The FDA's investigation into the exact cause of those illnesses is ongoing.

Pet owners aren't the only ones angry about the ingredients in their dogs' food. Last year Purina sued competitor Blue Buffalo for false advertising, stating that the company isn't honest about its ingredients.

For more information on ingredients found in dog food, visit the Dog Food Advisor website, an independent organization providing dog food ratings.