Purina Slapped with Lawsuit for Dog Poisoning Death

Predictably, Purina representatives call the lawsuit “baseless,” and snivel that the company is “the subject of social media-driven misinformation.”

2.25.14 - Purina Slapped with Lawsuit1


Back in 2013, we brought you an article inquiring about the possibility of Purina’s Beneful dog food causing pet illness and death, based on thousands of online complaints.  They threatened us with legal action, even though we never officially said their products were bad, so we pulled the story.  But now they are being taken to court by a man who says Beneful made two of his dogs sick and killed a third.

Frank Lucido had three dogs of different ages and breeds.  While his home was being renovated, the dogs were living in three separate environments, and were started on Beneful diets in late December.

In early January, his four-year-old German shepherd began losing her fur and started to smell weird.  She became very ill, and a veterinary exam determined that she was suffering from internal hemorrhaging and a malfunctioning liver that were “consistent with poisoning.”

Five days later, his eight-year-old English bulldog was discovered dead in the yard, having suffered from the same internal bleeding and liver failure.

Lucido’s 11-year-old Lab also became ill and is undergoing testing.  The Lab and the German shepherd are currently in the care of a veterinarian.

“All three of them weren’t exposed to a singular condition,” Jeffrey B. Cereghino, Lucido’s attorney, told NBC News.  “The one constant they had was they were all eating the same dog food.”

Over 3,000 complaints have poured in about Purina’s products.  Though most of them seem to be about Beneful, many people have said their chicken jerky products have also been linked to death and illness.

“When there’s been a crescendo of complaints you have to pay attention,” Cereghino said.

Mycotoxins are produced by mold found in grains, which makes up a large part of Beneful.  Many of the consumer complaints list symptoms consistent with mycotoxin poisoning.  Cereghino says his team will be collecting data and have tests performed on Purina products.

“Cases like these are important because we do invest so much love and time in our pets and they are such a part of our family.”

Licodo’s lawsuit alleges that propylene glycol, a toxin and component of antifreeze, is used in Beneful.  (Fireball Cinnamon Whisky was recalled in Europe last year for containing too much propylene glycol.)  Purina claims that the kind used in their products is “an FDA-approved food additive that is also in human foods like salad dressing and cake mix.”

Predictably, Purina representatives call the lawsuit “baseless,” and snivel that the company is “the subject of social media-driven misinformation.”  But why would thousands of consumers say that their pets were sickened and killed by this specific brand if there was no basis in fact?

In another lawsuit that was settled just last May, Purina and Waggin’ Train LLC created a $6.5 million fund to compensate pet owners whose pets were sickened after eating Chinese-manufactured chicken jerky treats, which were recalled in 2013.  Yet company reps still offer canned responses maintaining Purina’s high standards and quality products.

The company’s tagline reads:  “Help keep your dog happy and healthy with a perfect balance of real, wholesome ingredients, quality nutrition and great taste found in Beneful® brand dry dog food.”

This has dog-lovers scratching their heads as they ponder how propylene glycol could possibly be considered healthy or wholesome?

According to one online complainant, Kat Deuster, “My friend just lost her service Lab from Beneful treats.  She died a painful death from LEAD POISONING!  The vet tested everything in the house and yard.  He found the treats to be contaminated.  Beneful ignored her calls and Walmart removed her from the store for trying to talk to people buying Beneful!  She lost her service dog.  Her SERVICE dog!”

The company has received an abundance of complaints, but continues to callously brush them aside.  Employees claim their products are nutritious and that the FDA has not found any problems.  But their citation for that claim leads directly to Purina’s website, not an unbiased third-party site that does independent testing and has no affiliation with the company.  Online commenters are advised to call the company’s customer service line, but callers have reported speaking to flustered reps that do not answer their questions with any more detail than what is provided online.

Here is one conversation between a dog owner and a Beneful representative:

Joseph Michael:  “I just want you to know that we feed our dog Beneful. After hearing this recent news, and seeing the horrible way you’ve reacted to the concerns of your customers in this forum, we are throwing your product away. I pray we’re doing it in time! We will not be purchasing any more food from your company or your parent company. Please re-think your response to this crisis, and voluntarily re-call your products before it’s too late.

Beneful:  “We appreciate you coming directly to us, Joseph. The truth is, we do care, and we’re deeply sorry to hear that you feel like we don’t. We can’t speculate on the reasons for every complaint posted online. We can assure you, however, that we review all information provided to us by consumers and their vets, and we can confidently state there are no product issues with Beneful. The FDA also has not identified any concerns with our products. Because we care, we’d like to hear from you so we can better address your concerns. We hope you’ll have a minute to call our team this morning at 800-877-7551 so we can talk.”

Joseph Michael:  “I did call, and I can tell your facility is in total melt-down mode. The individual I spoke to was very kind, and with a VERY shaking voice assured me repeatedly that the food is safe, but that there have been an increasing number of reports of issues with Beneful’s dry food, specifically. We feed our American Eskimo the dry AND the canned. I’m sorry, but ‘increasing numbers of reports’ isn’t very heartwarming, and even though ‘research’ hasn’t pinned it to the food… I am not a believer in coincidences. You’ve lost a customer.”

Some of the symptoms people report seeing in their dogs include, but are not limited to, lethargy, glazed eyes, excessive thirst, vomiting, diarrhea, rashes, seizures, tumors, internal bleeding, bloody urine and stool, and liver and renal failure.

Though there have been no conclusive tests performed by the FDA to determine the veracity of these claims, many doubt the integrity of the FDA, as well.  Tainted Chinese chicken jerky and other treats and foods have long been slipping under the FDA’s radar.  They claim the factories will not allow them to go there to test the products.  If this is true, why are these items even allowed to be imported?

Consumers are angry, and are not afraid to let Beneful know how they feel.  Here is another exchange between the company and an enraged dog-lover:

Yvonne Johnson:  “I have never even considered feeding Beneful because I know the ingredients are absolutely HORRIBLE. I am trying to inform others. Unfortunately, unknowing people automatically believe the cute commercials and buy into the lies. There is the response that the FDA hasn’t identified any problems etc… well all that one has to do is look at the *listed ingredients* and it’s NO WONDER why so many pets are getting sick with this concoction passed off as ‘balanced nutrition!’”

Beneful:  “Yvonne, we appreciate you sharing your comments here on our page. Our products are actually complete and balanced nutrition and 100% safe to feed. We formulate our products by studying the ingredients that pets need, and then look to nature for the best ingredients to deliver on them. We then study how ingredients work together, and use the best team players. We hope that you’ll both take a moment to visit our FAQs as well as here: http://puri.na/XMKUih for more info.”

Yvonne Johnson:   “BWAHAHAH!!! Beneful/Purina, you are off your rocker!  ‘We formulate our products by studying the ingredients that pets need.’ LOL! Because dogs need ground yellow corn, wheat, soybeans, sugar, artificial colors, propylene glycol etc etc etc. HAHAHAHA! ‘Then look to nature for the best ingredients to deliver on them.’ Yeah, because you find those artificial colors in nature. And there are much better sources of nutrition than your GMO grains and fillers. You can’t convince me Beneful. I know the FACTS! Your ‘food’ is a fake concoction mixed up in a lab. It is NOT natural in any way! There are way too many unhealthy, unnecessary ingredients. I don’t need to visit your FAQ or any of your other pages.”

How many more pets will have to suffer at the hands of indifferent and negligent companies and organizations that are not adamantly seeking answers and doing their best to keep harmful products off the shelves?  Perhaps this problem is partly due to the fact that Monsanto, who produces genetically modified foods known to cause a number of health problems, has strong ties to the FDA.  One of their main genetically modified “crops” is corn, a staple in most human and dog foods.   But the main problem customers are having with Beneful is their use of propylene glycol.

If corporations will not ensure the quality of their products, and if the government will not properly monitor them to make certain they are maintaining quality standards, it is up to the public to be vigilant about what we and our pets eat.

Nestle Purina has until April 2nd to respond to Lucido’s class action complaint.

104 thoughts on “Purina Slapped with Lawsuit for Dog Poisoning Death

  1. My dogs love this only food that doesn’t give them gas. They have been eating it for years and are happy and healthy. Vets second recommendation Purina one was first.

  2. My parents just lost their dog who is eating Beneful, it breaks my heart to think it was maybe the food that contributed

  3. I used to give my dogs this and they got very sick. Switched them to Royal Canin or Science diet thinking it was a bug. Gave them Purina thinking they were over it after a few weeks and they got sick again. Haven’t bought Purina in over a year. This stuff will kill your dog.

  4. We switched right away too after reading about this. My husband called the company yesterday and they were 100% sure that their food is safe for dog, I dont want my dog to get sick so we decided not to feed her the Beneful anymore. My dog is really picky with her food and this one and Bil Jac are the food she really likes. We’re trying the Authority food now and I am hopping she’ll like it.

  5. I fed my last dog Beneful for a long time. He died of Cancer. Found out it was bad food right before he started going down hill. Changed his food but of course it was too late.

  6. I switched to Acana, which is made right here in AB about 5 yrs ago. My co workers wanted some when I took the ingredient list to work (I didn’t say what the ingredients were for). It’s all human grade ingredients. I find they eat way less but still feel full & get all the nutrients they need plus extras for joint health & healthy skin. They also produce less waste. I ran out 1 day & just grabbed a small bag of Iams from the grocery store & my lab had suck a bad reaction (stomach pain & severe distress) all night that I threw out all the food & drove to get my regular stuff. My other 2 dogs acted starved even though I gave them extra. Beneful gave them the poops. I’ll never buy grocery store/cheap food again. It’s just not worth it to me.

  7. We are slowly getting Luke off all Purina food. Afraid if I go too fast it will upset his stomach. Just a small amount with his new food Natural Balance. He seems to like it. He was eating Alpo, not Beneful

  8. I pay $50 for Blue Baffalo and although it’s expensive, it’s well worth it. However, I’m not looking forward for the day a company like Purina will buy them out and lower the standards.

  9. All my dogs have eaten this dog food for years with no problem. But sadly enough I will throw it out just too play it safe. Could this be a ploy who knows. I hope this isn’t just a get rich scheme. Could it be possible somebody stuck something in the yard to make the dogs sick or something. Just a sad world..

  10. That’s why I don’t buy any of this commercial crap!!! My dog gets human grade meat and veg cooked fresh every night!

  11. Lost my pug a few years ago. He had eaten beneful for 2+ yrs. He developed “food allergies” went on special diet but the vomiting never completely went away. Suddenly he lost a lot of weight and couldn’t eat or drink without throwing up. He got so weak I carried him because he couldn’t walk but a few steps. He was put to sleep. The vet said he was sure it was cancer. He also expressed his anger toward big pet food companies poisoning cats and dogs. Guess he had an idea of what caused it.

  12. Do they know what ingredients may be the culprit ? I know it’s not Beneful, but I have cats & have fed them Purina ONE for years & they have seemed to be healthy from it .?!

  13. I have fed Beneful exclusively for 7 years to 5 dogs and never had any problems.My dogs ate 24 pounds every week,no exception or substitute.

  14. My cat got sick and I’m pretty sure it was off of the Purina cat food. I think they have an issue with their food right now. I haven’t given him Any Purina cat food at all this year because of it and he is doing fine.

  15. Is anyone that has done their homework on dog food surprised by this?
    Don’t buy Purina or lots of other “major” company brand foods.

  16. I feed 4Health grain free. Since we started that, no more ear infections! The chicken & grain were causing problems.

  17. Sorry I have to comment again. Are people that lazy that they would not investigate what they are giving their loved ones? There is lots of information out there on good & safe products you just have to do the looking. If it is cost you are worried about the real fact is better quality = less quantity.

  18. I noticed in Target today all the Beneful products are on sale very cheap. Hmmm maybe they need to take them off the shelf. Guess that will be next.

  19. We used to give this to our dogs, they love it but we notice episodes of vomiting until we switch to higher quality brand. We settled with Blue Buffalo grain free, it’s more expensive but it’s worth it…

  20. Lesson from this, don’t buy anything with by products. I know buying the good food can be expensive but it’s so worth it when it’s for our animals who we treat like family!

  21. My dog has eaten this food for the past 8 years and is completely healthy, she loves this food and has never been sick from it. I wonder if certain breeds have a difference tolerance for certain dog foods? I also wonder if the food was contaminated somehow during manufacturing?

  22. I work at a pet store and it’s super hard to switch people over to a good quality food. Price point is always the issue. Fromm, Canidae and complete are good companies with inexpensive basic food. Many of them have frequent buyer programs (buy 10 get one free). Dogs are here on earth for a sort time, good food equals good health.

  23. not the first time I have heard this type of report. Best to stick with the non Commercial test results about dog food.

  24. Nestlé does it again. This company is notorious for poisoning the poor and voiceless. For generations they have used substandard ingredients and been responsible for countless deaths of children in third world countries. I’m not at all surprised that they have turned their attention to animals. I wonder who their CEO is, Satan??

  25. My maltipoo Calvin died early at 8 of internal hemmoraging and suspected liver cancer. I had always thought maybe it was his food (beneful). Now I feel my suspicions are justified. I learnt late into feeding him that food just how unhealthy low end dog food is. I’m so sad, I wish I had known better and got a few more years with my Calvin.

  26. I tried this with my Pomeranian and when I gave it to her years ago she started getting some sort of dry skin rash I stopped it and it went away… Dogs are just like us not everything agrees with them

  27. I wish they would put them out of business ..I would never feed any of those brands to my dog! It’s all over the news about several of them and people still buy this crap! Don’t they read! Keep informed, research about what they give thier dogs..geez! Just google! Or ask your vet!

  28. I grew up in denver. And when the purina factory was making dog food. It was the worst smell I’ve ever smelled. I knew then i would never ever feed my dogs purina.

  29. My 12 yr old dog has eaten Purina One Vibrant formula for YEARS and he’s alive and kicking. I think it’s just the Beneful brand.

  30. My 10yr old dog has been eating Beneful Healthy Weight for many years now and thank goodness is healthy!

  31. Not every driver who drove cars with faulty air bags was killed either, but knowing it can happen and still doing it is an entirely different matter altogether. There were also molds and other pollutants found in the above dog food mentioned.

  32. I stopped this brand today!!!! My dog is vomiting all the time. My grand dog has massive hair loss and itching badly. Read up on this and their symptoms jive with the law suit!!!! First china and their treats and now this!! I may need to go back to cooking for them again but you can’t even trust chicken anymore either!

  33. Is it just this product or is it all Purina products? Do we know what ingredients cause the poisoning so I know what to look out for

  34. i saw that video and it made me puke. i would do anything to take the pain and misery away from those (dogs) who don’t deserve it.

  35. Please research a bit before posting things. I’ve used Purina for as many years as I’ve had animals (at least 50 years). I won’t stop using Purina on the above information. I checked with SNOPES and this is what they had to say. http://www.snopes.com/critters/crusader/beneful.asp – I will continue using Purina and trust their products. I will, however, NEVER PURCHASE ANYTHING MADE IN CHINA FOR MY DOGS.

  36. Kelly Harden change Burger’s food. I could start buying him bags and bringing them with me when I come.

  37. Our dachshunds have been eating Playfull Life Beneful for 5 years and neither one of them have shown ANY of the symptoms claimed. They are both very healthy active dogs. Not sure this is a dog food issue.

  38. About 20 years ago, I switched to one of the few “all natural” brands of dog food that were available back then. Dillan, my mixed-breed Lab/Dalmatian, lived to the ripe old age of 15!
    All you have to do now, is walk into a Petco or PetSmart to find a plethora of all natural dog foods from which to choose. Sure, they’re a bit more expensive, but you’ll save more in vet bills!
    If you love your dog, why would you not want to feed him/her in a healthy manner?

  39. I have 3 cats with liver issues. Diamond cat food is what they have in common. Bad batch. But I don’t have original bag so company won’t do a thing.

  40. We get our food from our vet…prescription so it costs more and we have to do all the paperwork for the prescription but it’s worth it…you do t feed animals poison… Purina should be ashamed

  41. We get our food from our vet…prescription so it costs more and we have to do all the paperwork for the prescription but it’s worth it…you do t feed animals poison… Purina should be ashamed

  42. Purina had a horrible reputation before, & adding Nestlé to the name just made them unbearably terrible. It wouldn’t surprise me at all to find that their food kills dogs

  43. Purina had a horrible reputation before, & adding Nestlé to the name just made them unbearably terrible. It wouldn’t surprise me at all to find that their food kills dogs

  44. I promote Rachael Ray’s dog food all natural. Have been feeding my puppies it for years. ..Never a problem!!!

  45. If you love your pets as much as I love mine you would make sure they only get the best and you cant buy good dog food at the groceries.

  46. RAW is the only thing any pet should eat…it is what they would eat in the wild. There have been so many recalls and deaths from kibble and crap food it’s not even funny.

  47. I have 3 dogs (14, 8, & 7) that have had Beneful their entire life. We put a bit of broth on top to moisten but they do not eat shit food. None of them have ever had any medical issues. There has to be more to the story with the pups who’ve become sick.

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