Senators Urge FDA To Investigate Allegations That Purina’s Beneful Dry Kibble Includes Toxins

Two senators called on the FDA to investigate allegations that Purina's Beneful brand dog food includes toxins.

Two senators called on the FDA to investigate allegations that Purina’s Beneful brand dog food includes toxins.

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 the allegations.

Illinois Senator Dick Durbin, along with California Senator Dianne Feinstein, sent a letter [PDF] to the FDA calling for the agency to quickly investigate claims that Purina PetCare Company’s Beneful brand dry dog food contains toxins.

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 action-seeking lawsuit against Purina saying the company’s dry dog food contains substances that are known to be toxic to animals and can lead to internal 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 English 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-approved food additive for humans.

As for Mycotoxins, the lawsuit states they are a group of toxins produced by fungus that occurs in grains.

Representatives for Purina have said that the lawsuit was “without merit” and 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 contaminated pet food from reaching animals.

Under the 2007 law, the FDA is required to ensure that pet food companies report 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 standards for pet food, strengthen labeling requirements, establish early warning systems for contaminated products and mandate that companies report contaminated food and make key records available during investigations.

“The components of the law that FDA has implemented are important to the public and veterinarians, namely the searchable online recall list posted on the agency’s website,” the letter states. “We appreciate that FDA has implemented an online database to inform consumers of pet food recalls. However, eight years later, most provisions of the pet food safety law have not been implemented and protections Congress enacted are not in place.”

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