Pet Food News

Two Pet Related Lawsuits

One lawsuit is against Mars Petcare, another against Nestle Purina.  The Mars Petcare lawsuit is concerning employees of the pet food plant – but mentions some significant concerns related to pet food.  The Nestle Purina lawsuit will continue despite Purina trying to dismiss it.

News of a lawsuit against pet food giant Mars Petcare has been shared with us from several of you very diligent consumers out there.  Here’s what is being said from two different Joplin, MO news sources…

A lawsuit was filed against Mars Petcare in August 2012.  Court documents claim railcars bringing raw ingredients (“grain, bonemeal, and other organic materials”) into the plant “were not properly cleared of the dangerous fumigants containing Phosphine (PH3) gas before turning those railcars over to Mars.  Those dangerous gases were allowed to accumulate and disburse into the Mars plant at unsafe levels.” 

The Joplin Globe news states “Lawless (spokesperson for Mars Petcare) said a plaintiff also has alleged that petfood products manufactured at the plant contain phosphine.” – a Joplin, MO news station provided the following news clip regarding the lawsuit…

Concerning statements from this video …
“Unsafe working conditions exposed them, pets, and sometimes the general public to danger.”

“We know there was stuff coming in that was fumigated that was not listed and being fumigated that went straight into making pet food.”

“The former employee said the company offered severance pay before closing earlier this year, a condition of that severance was not pursuing further legal action.”

The Mars Petcare response provided to KOAM TV has some concerns too…the Mars Petcare response mentions aflatoxin.  The video’s did not mention aflatoxin – only phosphine gas concerns.  The Mars Petcare statement claims their products were aflatoxin free (“we have had no reports that any of our products have been found to contain aflatoxin”) – but it does make you wonder what information was provided to KOAM TV regarding aflatoxins at this pet food plant (causing Mars Petcare to respond).

This Mars Petcare plant closed in June 2013.

The EPA provides the following information explaining “fumination” with phosphine…
“What is Fumigation?
Fumigation is the act of introducing a pesticide into an enclosed space in such a manner that it disperses quickly and acts in a gaseous state on the target organism. Pesticides formulated as fumigants have physical characteristics which cause them to occupy all air spaces within an enclosed area and to penetrate commodities within these areas. Aluminum and magnesium phosphide fumigants are generally used in space and commodity fumigation, when they are applied to properly sealed structures, containers, or rodent burrows.”

And the EPA states:  “Aluminum and magnesium phosphide are in Toxicity Category I, the highest (most toxic) of four categories, for acute effects via the inhalation route.”

And here’s a video explaining the use of phosphine…

When there is more news learned of this lawsuit, it will be posted.


Jerky Treat Lawsuit Continues
A post on Bloomberg Business Week tells us that Nestle Purina tried to dismiss a lawsuit against the company regarding Waggin’ Train jerky treats – and Purina lost that effort.  The lawsuit will continue.

The Bloomberg story states:  “U.S. District Judge Robert Gettleman in Chicago today refused to toss out the case, saying the plaintiffs provided sufficient facts to make a plausible claim the treats were defective. The judge threw out some claims because they were preempted by product liability statutes of the plaintiffs’ home states.”

Thank goodness this Judge believed that the deaths and illnesses of thousands of pets linked to Chinese imported jerky treats “were defective”.

At the last conversation with FDA (approximately two months ago), Dr. Dan McChessney told Mollie Morrissette and myself the FDA was (finally) investigating the evidence we provided them (in January 2013) linking the pet illnesses and deaths to the illegal sulfa drugs found in the Chinese jerky treats.  We await their decision.  To read more about the link discovered of the illegal sulfa drugs to kidney disease suffered by so many dogs – Click Here and Here.


Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,

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

What’s in Your Pet’s Food?
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October 4, 2013

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22 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “Two Pet Related Lawsuits”

  1. Ann says:

    Is there a list of those states in which the claims were dismissed due to the states’ product liability statutes?

  2. Hope says:

    In this spirit I wanted to let you know Susan that I left a comment on the end of a press release 2 days ago from Whole Foods market about their announcement of adding a line up of 24 new pet products with their brand. The comment was respectful but I recommended (with elaboration for clarity) that anyone find out from Whole Foods who is making their food for them as their private label, where the ingredients were coming from being used in the new pet foods and why they were having foods made for them given some of the great brands already in the marketplace. I suggested to colleagues that they also leave responses to their press release. No one could find my comment. I went back and discovered that good old Whole Foods removed my comment. Why? Can’t think of any other reason than they don’t want people to think or know. Things are getting really bad when all that is cared about is the goal of profit. Folks should know this about Whole Foods, don’t you think?

    • Susan Thixton says:

      I sent their media contact an email yesterday asking numerous questions (including country of origin, quality of ingredients, who the co-packer is and if Whole Foods would sign the Pledge). I’m waiting for their response. Of course it will be posted if they do.

    • April says:

      Good point, Hope. I called the 1-800- phone line to Trader Joe’s. While I like shopping at their store, I needed to know WHO makes their cat food. I have had my dog and three cats die from cancer because I bought my cat food at the major chain grocery stores. Kal Kan, Whiskas, Nestle’ PuTrina,
      The person representing Trader Joe’s refused to disclose who/where their cat food was made and I explained to that person that I refused to buy the stuff on the chain grocery store shelves and I wanted to know that I was NOT going to get that stuff anyway in a can marked “Trader Joe’s”. They STILL refused to say so I don’t buy Trader Joe’s brand because I don’t really know what’s in there.

  3. Peter says:

    And the over-arching theme is that consumers should be questioning WHY railcars bringing ingredients into pet food manufacturing plants are fumigated in the first place. Isn’t that “prima facie” evidence that there is a problem with the ingredients themselves? Remember that Mars Petcare Inc. holds a patent (US 7,575,771 B2)for processing “offal” into pet food. The dictionary definition of offal is “garbage/refuse/rubbish.”

    • vegan says:

      Grains are prone to infestation by insects and according to what I’ve read online, this does not reflect on the quality of the grains. What I’ve read indicates that phosphine gas is safe when used properly and does not leave residues. It’s used on human products too. (It’s easy to look up.)

      Also, as a general note, it seems that phosphine gas is somewhat effective in eradicating the mold that produces aflatoxins. Here’s a link to one article from PubMed: This is likely why there’s mention of aflatoxins.

      Why where the rail cars were opened inside the plant and before the safe point?

      My heart breaks for those who were affected, both people and pets.

      How dare Mars attempt to bury this industrial event!

      • Peter says:

        The grains used in pet food manufacture are generally part of “least cost mix” protocols and are ordinarily of poor quality, (if they were usable for any higher profit purpose, they would not be used for pet food). As such, they are the grains that sit longest in the silo… and in that moist environment, are susceptible to formation of molds. They are, therefore, “prone to infestation by insects” (storage mites) that feed on those molds. The mites are not eating grain… they are eating mold from old, contaminated grain. It does indeed “reflect on the quality of the grains.” When under attack (being eaten by mites) the molds produce aflatoxins (poisonous to dogs, BTW). To combat these issues, manufacturers treat grains with anti-fungal chemicals and insecticides (which your dog consumes along with the foods made from the grains, along with the corpses and excrement of the mites, who spend their entire life cycle and die in the silo). Grains that are “fumigated” (treated with a gas-form insecticide are expected to be contaminated, and aside from residue (it makes no sense to assume there is none), the consumer would still be purchasing food made with treated mold and insects killed by the fumigation. It all adds up to junk food, doesn’t it?

        • vegan says:

          Mold generally grows on grains while they are still in the field. Molds happen most when crops are stressed, as from drought conditions. Drought is the biggest cause of mold on corn.

          Gases of all kinds ultimately dissipate without leaving residue. If research is done, you too can learn these facts.

          • Absolutely not true. With AP, for example, aluminum would be the trace residue. Also, if the AP was added directly to the product without off-gassing it is possible that it remained in the food in an active state – only to off-gas at a later point in the animal’s stomach. I have done the research, so I can say that it IS a possibility, although unlikely. That possibility alone should cause anyone pause.

        • Good points as always Peter. The residue likely left behind is aluminum. An excess of aluminum would point to contamination. As the AP was used improperly, the product went into the pet food without off-gassing. Whether phosphine gas is likely to show up in testing remains an unknown. Answers given suggest it would not be likely. However, I suggest that people look into the case in Texas where AP poisoned horses a few years back after AP was improperly used in horse feed. Regardless, the fact that Mars PetCare (allegedly) circumvented the law by putting workers at risk suggests an obvious disregard for the value of human life. If that is true, that would lead me to assume their concern for the life of pets would be negligible.

  4. Meg says:

    As a Professional Pet Stylist, I do my best to educate my clients on the pet food industry. There are a few that don’t seem to be concerned, but for those that do take the time to listen and then do the research for themselves, they are appalled that they have been so misled. Many of my grooming peers have also jumped on the pet food education bandwagon, as we are the ones who deal with the skin allergies, ear infections and all the other maladies that can be a result of feeding these **premium** dog foods on a monthly basis. For the most part, veterinarians don’t have the desire to do the research either…. but as the majority of them endorse the Hills’ products, they would be forced to realize and admit that those products are a huge FAIL in pet nutrition. THANK YOU for staying the course and helping those of us who care to become educated and informed!

  5. Dana Fisher-Stirrett says:

    Susan, I can ‘t tell you how much I appreciate you being the face and voice for us! I so admire what you do! Thank you so much for the past involvement and for your future advocacy for Pet owners.

    Thankful in Alberta, Canada

    Dana, Rosa and Bizzby

  6. lettucehavewhirledpeas7 says:

    Re Mars: Important to CLICK to the Joplin Globe article, 4th paragraph down in Susan’s post:
    Eight persons that had been working at the plant have
    “sustained permanent injuries from the exposure”. Why?
    And the closing of the plant[s] … Why?
    In another Joplin Globe article re job layoffs, the spokesperson says, “…there has been a reduction in demand for pet food partly because people are moving to smaller dogs.” WHAAAT !?!?

    Mars makes Pedigree, Whiskas, Cesar, Nutro and Royal Canin.

    • Susan Thixton says:

      You bring up a concerning point…a couple years ago another Mars Petcare plant closed in Everson PA – that plant has issues with Salmonella recalls and then shut down. It does make you wonder why two plants have been closed by this company.

    • Poison says:

      Well let’s just say that my name says it all when it comes to Doane/Mars pet care “situation”in Joplin MO!!! Check out the recalls dating from present back to1995 involving these companies!!! Vomitoxins. Alfatoxins , melamine, and pesticides just to name a few!! I’m sure while reading the recalls you have all noticed how many pet illnesses and deaths these two … I guess now one company are responsible for !!! Do you really think that this company knew that they had poisoned pets but never thought hmmmmmm if pets are sick and dying from contaminations in our dog food after the high tempatures of the extrusion process I wonder what how our poor employees are holding up beings that they are unknowingly handling, mixing. Breathing and any thing else you can think of these raw poisonous materials???? Realllllly??? Noooo they knew they just didnt care and don’t care about human life or animals!!! Only about money!!! I can assure you that you will all be floored when u actually see how diliberate there actions actually where!!! My husband was one of the workers that was deliberately poisoned !!! He actually had are recorded exposition while at work in there plant and had to be taken to the e.r. !!! He has been sick and in and out of the hospital every since that night!!! My husband had NEVER been seen at a hospital until the when he was 26!!! So sad to think that 8 yrs of hospitals doctors and going on his third major surgery major that we had no idea what the cause of all of his strangely connected symptoms was from until we actually ran into a old co worker from the plant !!! He was horribly sick and when asked he then explained , I began to cry instantly because I knew then why my young handsome husband and father of two was so sick and why know body could figure out why!!! These substances are poisons and as the recalls show they knew about everthing mentioned on the news there is no getting out of that!!! The question is why??? Why would u do this to anyone or anything?? What is even more concerning is there is no remorse!!! Acting as if they seriously feel these employees are lying!!! Multiple employees with the same strange illness???? Somebody needs to make all
      Ex employees aware of there exposers they deserve to know!!! This is nothing more than a case of corporate greed!!! They took my husbands health any many others health for no other reason than a quick buck!!! They sicken me!!

      • Ann says:

        Poison, A long time ago, back in 1984, I worked in a corporate warehouse that accidentally became contaminated with a carcinogenic gas from a railroad accident a short distance from my workplace. Our workers were dropping like flies from the overwhelming chemical odor coming into the plant.
        While this was not a pet food plant, I wanted to let you know that the corporate headquarters and the related corporate shipper of the poison gas immediately began their public relations campaign to deny everything to avoid all liability. I fought them for years as did several other employees and a few thousand residents of the nearby neighborhood. They hired the best (expensive) lawyers to defend against all claims of harm.
        My health was forever changed like your husbands and my promising career hit a deadend because I complained about the treatment.
        After several years all of the complaints were settled for a pittance and the companies and lawyers thrive today while I have had 2 different forms of cancer. Like your husband, I had been at the peak of health when this happened and no amount of money could compensate for my loss of that. But $$$ is sadly what it is all about and it will wear you down as you fight them for years.
        I hope your husband is getting the healthcare he deserves and both of you can recover some peace to go forward.
        This is business as usual and until you have experienced it personally as we have done, a lot of people will find it hard to believe the corporations are that greedy. Some people will just discount your complaints as wanting to get some money from them; they are the most disturbing of all.
        I still support corporations in general but it has become more and more about the ever increasing profit line to attract more shareholders. Corporations must return to a more responsible place in society.
        As consumers we must stay informed and do our business with only the responsible ones as much as possible. This is the best way to get their attention.

  7. Poison says:

    Ok so I’m sure that as all of you are very well aware of some of our countries largest pet food manufactures are NOT really in to the whole “honesty is the best policy” way of marketing!!! I on the other hand DO think “honesty is the best policy” there for I want to inform all previous employees and anyone who is poisoning there pets with these products about a few of there dirty little secrets!! As I had wrote in my previous post my husband is one of the workers that was unknowingly poisoned at the Joplin mo Doanes /Mars petcare plant!! My husband for the record is not one of the 8 mentioned in the news reports!! I’m sure you all know that Mars “aquired” all of Doanes/ DPC available stocks in 2006 . Doanes is now a subsidiary of Mars wich is doanes Parent company and mars is a subsidiary of its parent company MasterFoods . Very confusing don’t u think?? Anybody ever heard of a “corporate veil” ?? Dishonest corporations like the ones listed above like the to use cunfusing ” subsidiarie parent company” mambo jumbo to protect the dishonest parent company, who knowingly absorbed all of the dishonest subsidiaries shares, from being held liable for any of the dishonest subsidiaries previous wrong doings!!! I don’t know about you guys but if I were to purchase a used car from a individual I’m pretty sure that I would not want there name anywhere on the title, unless i knew that the car was used in a hit and run several times in its past, then one would always to keep the previous owners name in bold print on the title!!! Thats exactly what happend in 2006 in the Mars/Doane acquisition and is still happening today!!! Mars aquired Doanes knowing all of Doanes dirty little secrets!! Mars saw a way to profit from there employees and your pets being poisoned just like they have always profited from using unlisted poisonous additives and ingredients !!! After all why would they change anything right now it’s ONLY human life and the lives of helpless animals that they are affecting when the fingers are pointed at Mars and questions are asked they always have Doane to point the finger at !!! Why else would they go to the trouble And confusion of the subsidiarie mambo jumbo unless they knew about the poisons yet wanted to profit from them for as long as possible and then when needed they would be protected by the “corporate veil”!! Multibillion dollars corporations like these do not make “honest mistakes” that cause such harm multiple times per year!! A honest mistake is oops the food is to dry or oops we put the wrong flavor in the wrong bag!!! I have never heard anyone say oops I’m so sorry I poisoned your husband and everyone else the plant and by the way even though we just purchased this plant we are closing and here a piece of paper you can sign off on for Xamoumt of dollars so in 7 years when u finally figure out that we poisoned you we are not responsible !!! Almost forgot oops so sorry I poisoned your dos and cats , we will send u a refund of $25 for the contaminated food but b4 u cash the check you will need to sign this release showing we r not responsible for poisoning your pet!! A mistake ??? Really Doane/Mars?? The only thing this company is sorry about making is the front page and top spot on the evening addition news!!! How about banfield animal hospitals that are owned by Mars!!! Does anybody else find it strange that they don’t use there own food to feed the animals ??
    A dishonest greedy corporation that knowingly produces deadly dog food and ownes a animal hospital chain !! Coincidence ???I think not!!! The more I learn about this whole industry just makes me sick!!! I have lots of time to research beings how my husband is sick everyday and I am either in a hospital waiting area with my I-pad or sitting I the living room while my husband drifts in and out of sleep researching all of his abnormally abnormal test results!!! The one thing I have found is that this huge corporation makesc a lot of so called “honest mistakes” and that they are very busy causing absolute havoc on others lives first dog food and now the chocolate are you serious ??? My children arent allowed to even get close to any dog food to feed there own dog and now I’m scared to death about what is possibly in there chocolate treats??? Also while reading about this company found a article about the 2006 employee picket in Miami Oklahoma where the doanes plant placed restraining orders on five workers for allegedly threatening to do physical harm and the
    Doanes officials were scared for there saftey… Ummm, quit poisoning people and killing animals !!! This company is almost like the “Jerry Springer ” of the dog food industry !!! They have investigators all over the area watching people down here in the Joplin mo plant lawsuit .. What a waste of money!! they are paying people to spy on sick people most cant even muster up the energy to go outside muchless breath outside when finally get there because Doane/Mars destroyed there once healthy lungs!!! How about they save the money being spent to incriminate themselves and use it to purchase none contaminated ingredeints and maybe if they are feeling really kind atleast by there employees some hazmat suits to wear while in there death trap of a building that they call a dog food plant!!! If any stockholders are reading this article get to getting while the getting is good because I have faith that society will be just as sickened by this corporation as i am when the commercials to warn the public start hitting the air !!! Doanes/Mars will be seen for exactly what they are EVIL !!

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