Latest Recalls
Home » Pet Food News » Natural Balance sues H.J. Heinz Co.
Natural Balance sues H.J. Heinz Co.

Natural Balance sues H.J. Heinz Co.

The lawsuit claims “Heinz knew that processed sheep lungs it sold to a pet food company were adulterated with rubber that could choke dogs”. Strange…though Natural Balance is suing its supplier, no Natural Balance recall was ever initiated from this risk.

From CourthouseNews.com

Heinz knew that processed sheep lungs it sold to a pet food company were adulterated with rubber that could choke dogs, a shareholder of Natural Balance Pet Foods claims in court.

Frank Magliato sued H.J. Heinz Co. and Heinz Watties of Hastings, New Zealand, “in his capacity as stockholder representative for the former shareholders of Natural Balance Pet Foods,” in Superior Court.

In his lawsuit, Magliato claims the multinational food company was aware that rubber rings designed to seal the esophagus of slaughtered sheep had become stuck in internal organs after sheep were slaughtered and their lungs processed.

Heinz also knew that the rubber rings were hazardous to animals but did not give Natural Balance Pet Foods or its customers a heads-up, Magliato says.

Natural Balance used the sheep lung products to make pet food at its Los Angeles facility until May 2012, when it realized the products contained rubber.

Natural Balance “could not continue to use the Heinz defendants’ adulterated product, or distribute or sell any product that contained the Heinz defendants’ adulterated product because if the rubber rings were swallowed by any pet they would pose a hazard to pets, thereby rendering the resulting products hazardous and unsafe. Potential dangers from selling and distributing products containing the Heinz defendants’ adulterated product, include chocking, intestinal blockage, and death,” the 10-page lawsuit states.

The words “could not continue to use the adulterated product” cause concern. How long did Natural Balance sell pet food with potential rubber rings in it? Did any pets die? Did Natural Balance learn of the problem through the death of a pet?

The Natural Balance lawsuit claims Heinz didn’t give Natural Balance a “heads up” about the potential hazard. Where was the ‘heads up’ to consumers from Natural Balance?

To my knowledge, Natural Balance never issued a recall of pet food due to being potentially adulterated with rubber rings; this should have occurred in mid 2012 when Natural Balance learned of the problem. While I agree that Natural Balance should hold a supplier accountable for an adulterated product, where is the accountability to the consumer? Why didn’t Natural Balance recall the pet foods at the very moment they realized there was a potential problem?

The lawsuit did not clarify if this was canned or dry foods. Questions were sent to Natural Balance asking for more information about this lawsuit and why a recall was never issued. Should I receive a response, it will be posted.

 

Update to original post

“The following is a response on behalf of Natural Balance. Please don’t hesitate to let me know if you have any questions.

Quality and safety are Natural Balance’s top priorities. The company never sold the products from this timeframe (2012) containing the adulterated Heinz sheep lungs.  Natural Balance’s standard quality control process is very robust, and the company discovered the rubber during inspection. As a result, Natural Balance discarded the product before it had a chance to go to market, and also ceased using Heinz as a supplier.

Best,

Chrissy Trampedach
Director, Communications
BIG HEART PET BRANDS”

 

My response to Big Heart…

Hi Chrissy,

Thanks for your response. But I guess the wording taken from the lawsuit is what still has me concerned.  Quoting…

Natural Balance “could not continue to use the Heinz defendants’ adulterated product, or distribute or sell any product that contained the Heinz defendants’ adulterated product because if the rubber rings were swallowed by any pet they would pose a hazard to pets, thereby rendering the resulting products hazardous and unsafe.

I guess my questions are if NB didn’t use the adulterated product, then why are they suing Heinz? And why did the lawsuit state “continue to use” and “distribute or sell”? Just doesn’t make sense this would be included in the lawsuit – and that there would be a lawsuit, if NB stopped the ingredient early on. Can you explain?

Susan

 

And their response…

Hi Susan,

Thanks for the follow up. Potentially confusing legalese aside, at the heart of it, this lawsuit is simply about recovering some of the costs associated with a significant amount of unsalable product. The most important thing for consumers to know is that the adulterated product was never sold.

Thanks,

Chrissy

 

And one more response from me…

Ok – and I’m going to take you at your word on this. But I still have an issue with the legalese as you put it. If lawyers are implying product was used just to win a lawsuit – and it wasn’t (this seems to be the situation) – that’s not fair.

Susan

 

 

Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,

Susan Thixton
Pet Food Safety Advocate
Author Buyer Beware, Co-Author Dinner PAWsible
TruthaboutPetFood.com
Association for Truth in Pet Food

What’s in Your Pet’s Food?
Is your dog or cat eating risk ingredients?  Chinese imports?  Petsumer Report tells the ‘rest of the story’ on over 2500 cat foods, dog foods,  and pet treats.  30 Day Satisfaction Guarantee. www.PetsumerReport.com

 

Listimagesmall

 

2014 List
Susan’s List of trusted pet foods.  Click Here

 

 

Have you read Buyer Beware?  Click Here

Cooking for pets made easy, Dinner PAWsible

Find Healthy Pet Foods in Your Area Click Here

 

13 comments

  1. A surprise? Really? Natural Balance was recently bought out by ex-fruit giant, Del Monte Foods.

    I feel certain the first thing Del Monte did was find the lowest bidder for their ingredients so as to increase the margin. Wonder if ‘Dick’ is still involved or has prostituted his values also and sold his name and now has nothing to do with quality.

    • From what I recall, DVPatten never really owned the company… Just served as a figurehead/marketing strategy… And probably a major shareholder as a result. He’s still pictured, front and centerish on their website, so the assumption that he knows animal nutrition still seems lucrative (and perhaps is why he left the acting gig forever-a-gogo) ;)

    • That is exactly when I stopped using NB, when it sold out to Dole. But I fed it during this time period and this seriously pisses me off. I know feed honest kitchen.

      • Tracey Schaefer

        I just started feeding my dogs Embark/
        Weruva Cirque De La Mar Recipe Canned Dog Food. Just finding this out today about Natural Balance I feel sick to my stomach knowing that I fed this food to my dogs :(

  2. Just FYI. Natural Balance wasn’t bought my Del Monte until mid 2013. So the company was still owned by Dick Van Patten. There have only been 3 recalls that I know of and they were back in 2007. And if I am not mistaken this was recalls that involved other pet food companies as well.

    • And NB had recalls in 2012 – part of the Diamond Pet Food recall (Salmonella).

      • Thank you Susan! I didn’t see that one listed. A reminder to myself to dig a little deeper!

      • You are correct about the 2012 recall as a result of the South Carolina Diamond plant contamination issue. We pulled bags off store shelves, but my experience was that none of the NB food on the shelves in the Atlanta area was affected.

  3. There was no NB recall because the food never made it to any stores. Best testing of any pet food on the market. Check out buy with confidence on their website.

  4. Another law suit that will make life interesting for the pet food industry. When it is done, I think that the big players will have created a whole new set of small companies that will take on the big players.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*


+ 6 = twelve

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>