A lawsuit in California has been filed against Purina accusing the company of using toxic ingredients in its Beneful dry kibble dog food.
The suit was filed by Frank Lucido. He claims that his three dogs got sick after consuming Beneful dry kibble dog food, with one dying. He, along with his attorney, claims that thousands of other dogs have suffered the same fate.
Lucido filed the suit after he began feeding his three dogs — an 11-year-old Labrador, 8-year-old English bulldog and a 4-year-old German shepherd — only Beneful (starting in December of last year). Due to home renovations the trio were kept in different houses and separated from each other during this period, the lawsuit claims.
All three became ill in January, with the English bulldog passing away. After performing an autopsy, animal specialists discovered lesions on the liver along with internal bleeding in the dog’s stomach. These same symptoms were also found in the Labrador and German shepherd with the vet stating these findings were “consistent with poisoning,” according to the complaint.
Because all three were separated from each other and living in different locations, Lucido believes the factor causing these health issues is indeed Beneful.
The complaint states that more than 3,000 other consumers have similar stories after their dogs consumed Beneful, with some dogs becoming ill and others dying. (On the website Consumer Affairs, the dog food had received 709 one-star reviews from a total of 822.) Consistent symptoms included stomach internal bleeding, breakdown or failure of the liver, vomiting, diarrhea and weight loss.
The lawsuit contends that there are possible toxic ingredients in the Beneful food including propylene glycol and mycotoxin.
Propylene glycol can be toxic to animals and is used in antifreeze. In a statement on their website, Purina states that the kind they use is “an FDA-approved food additive that is also in human foods like salad dressing and cake mix.” Interestingly, the FDA has banned the substance from being used in cat food.
Mycotoxins are substances produced by fungi or mold found in grains (corn in the first ingredient in Beneful). In the complaint, consumers reported symptoms that are in-line with mycotoxin poisoning. Purina counters, stating they screen the grains for this substance. On a side note, the Association for Truth in Pet Food found the level of mycotoxins in Beneful to be high risk for dogs.
Here are a few tweets from owners:
The amount of disrespect and hate I now harbor toward @Purina is immense. How could you kill and endanger so many innocent animals?
— Darian Jean (@Cooka101) February 25, 2015
@Beneful Your product made my dog sick. It also appears I am one of MANY claims as well. Throwing it in the garbage where it belongs.
— Mark McGuire (@Paramedic_Mark) February 25, 2015
Purina has responded to these allegations by providing us this statement: “there are no quality issues with Beneful.” The company called the lawsuit baseless and said it planned to “vigorously defend ourselves and our brand.”
Purina further stated, “Like other pet foods, Beneful is occasionally the subject of social media-driven misinformation. On-line postings often contain false, unsupported and misleading allegations that cause undue concern and confusion for our Beneful customers.”
The lawsuit is asking Purina to pay unspecified actual, statutory and punitive damages and restitution for Lucido and others involved in the class action lawsuit.