Several weeks after a lawsuit filed in California claimed that thousands of
dogs became ill or died after eating Purina's Beneful kibble, two senators
are urging the Food & Drug Administration to open an investigation into th
Illinois Senator Dick Durbin, along with California Senator Dianne Feinstei
n, sent a letter [PDF] to the FDA calling for the agency to quickly investi
gate claims that Purina PetCare Company's Beneful brand dry dog food contai
The senators also called for immediate updates on the implementation of FDA
requirements that could prevent such harmful contamination from occurring
in pet foods.
In late February, it was revealed that a California man had filed a class a
ction-seeking lawsuit against Purina saying the company's dry dog food cont
ains substances that are known to be toxic to animals and can lead to inter
nal bleeding and other serious health issues for pets.
The man alleges that less than a month after beginning to exclusively feed
his dogs Beneful dry kibble, all three became ill and his 8-year-old Englis
h Bulldog eventually died.
According to the lawsuit, illnesses experienced by thousands of dogs across
the country were a result of toxins in Beneful such as, but not limited to
, Propylene glycol and Mycotoxins.
Propylene glycol, the lawsuit states, is an automotive antifreeze component
that is a known animal toxin. However, the substance is also an FDA-approv
ed food additive for humans.
As for Mycotoxins, the lawsuit states they are a group of toxins produced b
y fungus that occurs in grains.
Representatives for Purina have said that the lawsuit was "without merit" a
nd that the company would vigorously defend itself.
In their letter to the FDA, Durbin and Feinstein are asking for updates to
the agency's implementation of a 2007 law enacted to help prevent contamina
ted pet food from reaching animals.
Under the 2007 law, the FDA is required to ensure that pet food companies r
eport to the agency within 24 hours of determining they have an adulterated
product in their supply chain.
Additionally, the law requires the FDA to set ingredient and processing sta
ndards for pet food, strengthen labeling requirements, establish early warn
ing systems for contaminated products and mandate that companies report con
taminated food and make key records available during investigations.
"The components of the law that FDA has implemented are important to the pu
blic and veterinarians, namely the searchable online recall list posted on
the agency's website," the letter states. "We appreciate that FDA has imple
mented an online database to inform consumers of pet food recalls. However,
eight years later, most provisions of the pet food safety law have not bee
n implemented and protections Congress enacted are not in place."
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