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 Wal-Mart in December 2006
Description: Email flier
Circulating since: January 2007
Status: Tests show no link between dog food and deaths in specific cases
Email example contributed by Ron W., 1 February 2007:
Beneful Dog Food is Suspected of Causing Sickness and Deaths
HEALTH ALERT! .....
Discontinue use of Beneful until this is resolved!
We have received multiple reports of dogs becoming sick or dying after eating Beneful dog food. The first reports were placed in our new forum and was overlooked by DoggyBling.com staff until we received direct emails last week and then another today. After speaking on the phone with the lady who emailed us today, we feel that there is sufficient cause for alarm. Dog lovers make a lot of effort to take good care of their dogs and will want to know if they are feeding them something that could be harmful. Most of the alerts by email, forum and phone cited Beneful dog food that was purchased at Wal Mart around Christmas of 2006.
We spoke with Terri Culp at Beneful this morning and were assured that they are aware of the situation and are researching the problem. We assured them that this won't go away and we would be alerting our email base of the problem and posting a news item on our site. We also told her that DoggyBling.com visitors and dog lovers everywhere would be evaluating the way the Purina Corporation (Parent to Beneful) handles the potential crisis.
The symptoms reported have been very similar. The reported symptoms include some or all of the following: General weakness or sluggishness, glazed eyes, not interested in food or water, white gums, lack of control of bodily functions. Some of the callers reported dogs that have died and others say they had gotten sick but had recovered. I am inserting the first forum post about a dog that became sick, but didn't die.
A week before Christmas we bought a bag of Beneful dog food at Wal-Mart, DeFuniak Springs, FL. On 12/23 I noticed a tan mold like growth on the dog food. Our 14 year old Dalmatian mix had been getting weaker by the day and by 12/24 she was near death. Glazed eyes, couldn't stand, eat, drink or control her functions. Her gums were white. We had to carry her to the yard and hold her up so she could go. The only thing she would eat was ham and turkey scraps. I spoke with a microbiologist and she said the mold growing in the dog food was toxic. It took a week for Sparky to regain her strength. I did notify the manufacturer of Beneful, they were very sorry and are sending coupons. Said it was a rare happening.
Notify us if your dog has had symptoms after using Beneful
We are going to stay on top of this situation and would like to know if your dog has had any of the symptoms listed above after eating Beneful. If so, please send an email to email@example.com or give us a call at 904-430-0260. Either way, please pass this email and information to dog lovers who may be feeding this food to their dog.
Updates and Beneful's response and precautionary action will be listed in our news section. We know Purina will take this seriously and will not want to tarnish their company's positive reputation.
News Item about Beneful
Comments: This email alert, circulating since late January 2007, was drawn 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 Wal-Mart 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.
"We at Purina are saddened to hear of the loss of these consumers' pets and appreciate the opportunity to investigate and demonstrate how seriously we take matters of this kind," the statement concluded. "We stand firmly behind the high quality of our products and reassure consumers that they can continue to feed Purina products with total confidence."Full text of Purina statement
Consumers with questions, comments, or concerns about Beneful products can contact the manufacturer by calling 1-888-BENEFUL.
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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
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