Two U.S. senators are urging the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) to open an investigation into the allegations that Nestle Purina PetCare Company’s Beneful dry kibble dog food contains toxins that may have killed thousands of dogs.
The letter to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, which was sent by Illinois Senator Dick Durbin and California Senator Dianne Feinstein, is in direct response to the class action lawsuit filed in California federal court in February by pet owner Frank Lucido. 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.
Representative for Purina have continually said that the lawsuit is “baseless” and “without merit.” In an official statement posted on Purina’s website last month, the company stated:
“Unfortunately, class action suits are common these days. They are not indicative of a product issue. In fact, we've faced two such suits in the past with similar allegations. Both were found to be baseless and were subsequently dismissed by the courts.
Adding to the confusion, social media outlets can be a source of false or incomplete information, as many other pet food brands have experienced themselves.”
Many pet owners on social media have focused on the usage of propylene glycol in Purina’s Beneful dry kibble dog food. The FDA lists propylene glycol as a safe substance for use in both human and dog food, though prohibit its use in cat food.
"Propylene glycol is determined to be Generally Recognized as Safe for use in animal feeds, including dog foods, as a general purpose food additive when used in accordance with good manufacturing and feeding practices," FDA spokeswoman Juli Putnam said in a statement to NBC News.
In their letter to the FDA, Sen. Durbin and Feinstein are asking for an update on 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.
“We appreciate that the FDA has implemented an online database to inform consumers of pet food recalls,” the letter from Sen. Durbin and Feinstein states. “However, eight years later, most provisions of the pet food safety law have not been implemented and protections Congress enacted are not in place, amid allegations of contaminated Beneful dry kibble.”