Nestle Purina Petcare and Waggin’ Train treats agree to compensate pet owners for contaminated treats

imagesThe settlement agreement between the two companies was announced on the 30th of May and involves pet owners whose pets have been sickened by jerky treats made in China.

The FDA has been investigating consumer complaints about dogs being sickened, for years without being able to narrow down the cause to specific treats although there have been 1,000 dog (and some cat) deaths since 2007. The FDA agency has received about 4,800 complaints from pet owners and others about illnesses, including in three people. Reported symptoms include lethargy, gastrointestinal problems and kidney failure, among others.

The agreement consists of establishing a $6.5-million fund to help pay damage claims and requires Nestle Purina to adopt “enhanced quality assurance measures” and change packaging language. The 158-page settlement agreement was filed with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois and does not admit any fault.

“Neither Waggin’ Train, Nestle Purina nor any of the consumers concede that their claims or their defenses were not valid,” lawyers for the parties said in a statement. “All parties entered into the agreement only to bring the litigation to a prompt and certain resolution.”

The latest FDA warning was issued in November when the agency warned consumers that some pet owners and veterinarians have reported cases involving dogs falling ill after eating Chinese-made chicken jerky treats. According to the FDA’s website, the illness affects the kidneys, and symptoms include decreased activity, vomiting, diarrhea and increased water consumption and urination.

The Purina Waggin’ Train Chicken Dog Treat Class Action Lawsuit case is Adkins v. Nestle Purina Petcare Co., Case No. 12-cv-2871, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois, Chicago.

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