Beneful Dog Food Safety Warning
Netlore Archive: Email flier warns that pet owners in different parts of the U.S. have reported the sudden deaths of dogs who ate Beneful Dog Food purchased at Walmart in December 2006.
Description: Forwarded email
Circulating since: Jan. 2007
Status: Tests show no link between dog food and deaths in specific cases
Email contributed by Ron W., Feb. 1, 2007:
Beneful Dog Food is Suspected of Causing Sickness and Deaths
Analysis: This email alert, circulating as of January 2007, was copied and pasted from a posting on DoggyBling.com, a community Web site for dog lovers. Over the course of several weeks, pet owners from different parts of the U.S. reported on the site that their dogs had gotten sick and/or died after being fed Beneful Dog Food purchased at Walmart stores in December 2006. Some owners described what appeared to be mold growing on the food.
Two similar incidents were reported in the Huntsville, Texas Item on January 31. Huntsville residents Robert Barley and Janet Rambeck told the paper their dogs had died within days of eating Beneful Dog Food. In the same article, DoggyBling.com owner Ric Eddins confirmed receiving at least 20 similar reports. All the victims displayed identical symptoms, Eddins said, including "white gums, glazed eyes, trouble standing, acting sluggish or lethargic in nature and loss of appetite." He called for all dog owners to stop feeding Beneful to their pets pending further investigation.
"No cause for panic," says veterinarian
In a statement published on DoggyBling.com on January 31, New York veterinarian Diane Levitan noted that there was as yet "no confirmation of a direct relationship between the food and the illnesses," and that "millions of pets around this country eat Beneful dog food and have had no problems." She cautioned against widespread panic. "The symptoms being described here are symptoms that could occur for many varied reasons," Levitan wrote, "and therefore I think the correlation between the consumption of Beneful and the symptoms is very weak."
UPDATE: Tests show no link between Beneful Dog Food and Huntsville deaths
In a February 6, 2007 statement, Nestlé Purina PetCare, manufacturer of Beneful Dog Food, announced the results of tests which found no link between the product and the deaths in Huntsville:
- A sample submitted to the Texas Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory by Janet Rambeck's veterinarian tested negative for aflatoxin (a deadly toxin produced by mold).
- Factory samples with the same production run and date code as the products implicated in the Huntsville cases were tested by an independent laboratory and found to meet quality and safety standards, including no presence of aflatoxin.
- Samples of the product matching the production run and date code were also taken from the Huntsville Wal-Mart store and tested. No aflatoxin was detected.
Full text of Purina statement
Consumers with questions, comments, or concerns about Beneful products can contact the manufacturer by calling 1-888-BENEFUL.
Sources and further reading:
Two Owners Hope Tests Reveal Cause of Dogs' Deaths
Huntsville Item, 31 January 2007
Beneful Dog Food Alert
DoggyBling.com, 29 January 2007
Beneful Update - January 30, 2007
DoggyBling.com, 30 January 2007
Beneful Update - February 6, 2007
DoggyBling.com, 6 February 2007
Last updated: 02/06/07