Jerky: A petition, a lawsuit, but no recall yet
Nearly 63,000 people have signed a petition asking Nestle Purina to recall chicken jerky treats manufactured in China — the subject of nearly 1,000 consumer complaints, an FDA investigation and a class action lawsuit.
But not a recall.
The most recent data shows that since November the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has logged over 900 reports of canine illnesses and deaths associated with chicken jerky treats made in China.
“I lost my best friend Sampson on Friday, January 13, 2012,” writes Terry Safranek, who started a petition for a recall of the treats on Change.org . “He died 9 days after ingesting the last food he ever ate: Waggin’ Train ‘Wholesome’ Chicken Jerky.”
While Sampson’s death is one of the cases still under investigation by the FDA, Safranek urges consumers to contact Nestle Purina and ask them to voluntarily recall the product.
Meanwhile, a Chicago area dog owner has filed a class action lawsuit against Nestle Purina, alleging that Waggin Train chicken jerky treats, made in China, were responsible for the death of his 9-year-old Pomeranian.
Dennis Adkins of Orland Park, Ill., filed the lawsuit in April 18 in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. He said his dog died of kidney failure two weeks after consuming the product.
The suit names as defendants Waggin’ Train LLC, the manufacturer of the product; Nestlé Purina Petcare Co., which is the corporation that owns the brand; and Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., the distributor.
The lawsuit states Nestlé Purina and Waggin’ Train have received more than 500 complaints about dogs becoming sick and dying after consuming the treats, yet continues to market their product as being “wholesome.”
It argues that Nestlé Purina and Waggin’ Train knew there was a substantial risk of death or harm associated with its dog treats and intentionally concealed known facts concerning the safety of the dog treats in order to increase or maintain sales.
A spokesperson for Nestlé Purina and Waggin’ Train had this response: “We believe the claims made in the lawsuit to be without merit and we intend to vigorously defend ourselves. We can say that Waggin’ Train products continue to be safe to feed as directed.”
Adkins is seeking an excess of $5 million for compensatory and punitive damages and costs of the suit.
The FDA has been investigating a potential connection between the illnesses reported and the treats since 2007, and has tested a number of samples for contaminants and toxins. However, according to the FDA, scientists have been unable to determine a definitive cause for the reported illnesses.
The FDA issued warnings to the public concerning chicken jerky treats in September 2007 and again in December 2008. The number of complaints declined during the latter part of 2009 and most of 2010, the agency reports, but they increased again recently, prompting the FDA to issue a cautionary update again in November 2011.
On the company’s web site, Waggin’ Train continues to maintain the integrity and quality of their chicken jerky treats, and says it has a comprehensive food safety program, with strict quality assurance teams dedicated to overseeing the various steps of the manufacturing process.
The FDA recommends that pet owners watch their dogs closely for signs of illness if they choose to feed chicken jerky treats. Reported symptoms include vomiting, lethargy and anorexia. The problems appear more likely to occur in small dogs that are fed the treats regularly.
(Photo: Terry Safranek and Sampson; from Change.org)
Posted by jwoestendiek May 28th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: chicago, chicken, china, chinese, class action, complaints, consumers, death, dennis adkins, died, dog food, dog treats, fda, federal court, food and drug adminstration, health, jerky, lawsuit, nestle, pomeranian, purina, recall, safety, sick, treats, waggin train, wal mart, walmart, warnings