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Beneful Lawsuit Dropped After Lawyers Admit They Can’t Prove It

In Canada this week a judge dropped a proposed class action lawsuit claiming Beneful of killing dogs. The judge granted the dismissal after the Plaintiff’s lawyers said they would be “unable to prove that ingesting Beneful was the cause of the injury or death of the Plaintiff’s pets or that there was a common source causing the injury or death of the pet.” The Ontario Superior Court granted the dismissal when Gendron’s lawyers said they could not back up the suit’s claims:

“Based on the investigations undertaken by our firm, we have concluded that … will be unable to prove that ingesting Beneful was the cause of the injury or death of the Plaintiff’s pets or that there was a common source causing the injury or death of the pet of any putative class member who contacted our firm, and we have concluded that a class action would not ultimately succeed,” reads the court document.” The Plaintiff therefore does not wish to pursue the case, and has instructed our firm to seek a consent dismissal of the action, without costs.”

A similar lawsuit is pending in U.S. courts, using the same hopeless argument. The suit was initially proposed because of U.S. proceedings that began in February 2015. In the U.S. case, Frank Lucido filed a lawsuit in a California federal court alleging Purina’s Beneful brand dog food “contains substances that are toxic to animals and that have resulted in the serious illness and death of thousands of dogs.”

Both cases are based on claims that propylene glycol, an ingredient the FDA has labelled GRAS (generally regarded as safe) for human and animals (except cats), was the cause of the dog’s illnesses and deaths. Propylene glycol is an innocuous ingredient that is used in millions of products for humans and animals for decades, other than the problem cat’s have with propylene glycol; it is perfectly safe.

Both lawsuits also claim that mycotoxins (mold) were responsible for pet deaths, however, according to Nestle-Purina, the level of mycotoxins detected was below the levels set by FDA. Testing for mycotoxins is notoriously difficult, and unless the Plaintiff’s lawyers have a top toxicologist testing the Plaintiff’s dog food samples, mycotoxins can easily be missed.

Hopefully, the Plaintiff’s in the U.S. have more that propylene glycol and mycotoxins to prove their case, otherwise, like the case in Canada, they will have a difficult – if not impossible – time proving their case. At this juncture, the most the Plaintiff’s in the U.S. can hope for is a settlement.

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Mollie Morrissette

Mollie Morrissette, the author of Poisoned Pets, is an animal food safety expert and consumer advisor. Help support her work by making a donation today.

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