Purina Beneful sick dog lawsuit lacked proof said judge

On February 4, 2015, a California man filed a class action lawsuit against Purina seeking more than US$5 million in damages.

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(weyo | BigStock.com)
(weyo | BigStock.com)

Nestle Purina PetCare will not face a class action lawsuit over allegations that the company’s Beneful dry food sickened dogs, reported Law 360. On November 10, a California federal judge ruled that the proposed lawsuit failed to prove the product was unsafe.

History of Beneful class action law suit

On February 4, 2015, a California man filed a class action lawsuit against Purina, reported Petfood Industry. The lawsuit alleged negligence, misrepresentation, product liability and unfair business practices. The plaintiff sought more than US$5 million in damages, plus costs and fees.

The plaintiff, Frank Lucido claimed that Purina’s Beneful dog food injured his three dogs. Lucido said two of his dogs suffered and one of his dogs died after ingesting Beneful beginning January 15, 2015.

However, the dog that passed away, Dozer, was later determined to have died from a heart tumor, according to Wendy Vlieks, director of corporate public relations for Purina. The dog's death was dropped from the allegations.

Lucido claimed Purina added propylene glycol to Beneful. Propylene glycol is used in non-toxic antifreeze, food, beverages, medicines, e-cigarettes and other consumer goods.

"It is important not to confuse propylene glycol with ethylene glycol, which is the toxic substance used in conventional antifreeze," said Vlieks.

The class action lawsuit against Purina claimed that the company had received more than 3,000 online complaints about their food making dogs sick throughout the past four years. In some cases, the dogs reportedly suffered internal bleeding, weight loss, dehydration and other symptoms.

Purina’s response to allegations

On their website, the company responded to the class action lawsuit against Purina. The company announced that they stand by their product, and said of the potential litigation:

“Unfortunately, class action suits are common these days. They are not indicative of a product issue. In fact, we've faced two such suits in the past with similar allegations. Both were found to be baseless and were subsequently dismissed by the courts.

“Adding to the confusion, social media outlets can be a source of false or incomplete information, as many other pet food brands have experienced themselves.”

Revamped Beneful recipe

In August 2016, Purina released a revamped recipe for their Beneful dry food. Meat now is the first ingredient in chicken and beef varieties. Added sugar has been removed from all recipes. 

According to the company, the Beneful’s recipes now include 22 grams or more of protein per cup. The dog food also includes vegetables and fruits, like spinach, peas, carrots and apples.

Purina Dodges Consumers' Beneful Dog Food Dispute - Law360

Nestle Purina PetCare Co. escaped litigation contending that its Beneful dry food killed dogs or made them seriously ill after a California federal judge held Thursday that a proposed class of pet owners didn’t prove that the product was unsafe, explaining that their allegations heavily relied on a veterinarian's inadmissible opinions.

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