Midwestern Pet Foods, Inc. faces a proposed class action in the wake of a recall of certain products contaminated with aflatoxin, mold-borne toxin that, when ingested, can cause a slew of health problems or death.
The 35-page lawsuit claims Midwestern Pet Foods knew or should have known that certain products, specifically those in its Sportmix line, were contaminated with aflatoxin yet “failed to disclose and/or actively concealed” the problem, risking the health of consumers’ pets. The case’s filing comes nearly a month after the defendant recalled a number of products in its Sportmix line over the apparent contamination before voluntarily expanding the recall earlier this month.
According to the complaint, Midwestern Pet Foods has falsely represented its products as “high-quality,” and consumers would not have bought the pet food, or would have paid substantially less for it, had they know of the apparent contamination. The lawsuit says the adverse health effects linked to aflatoxin poisoning include vomiting, loss of appetite, jaundice, diarrhea, colitis, liver damage and death.
“As a result of the Midwestern Pet Food contamination and the considerable monetary costs associated with attempting to treat related symptoms in their pets, Plaintiff and Class members have suffered injury in fact, incurred damages and have otherwise been harmed by Defendant’s conduct,” the lawsuit claims.
In December 2020, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reported that certain Midwestern Pet Food products made at the company’s Oklahoma facility were contaminated with aflatoxin, mold-borne toxin that can afflict grains, nuts and corn when they’re stored inappropriately in conditions that “facilitate fungal growth,” the complaint says. The “formidable toxin and carcinogen” poses a serious health risk to humans and animals, according to the case.
On December 30, Midwestern Pet Foods issued a recall for a number of products in its Sportmix line, including Sportmix Energy Plus (50 lb. and 44 lb. bags), Sportmix Premium High Energy (50 lb. and 44 lb. bags) and Sportmix Original Cat (31 lb. and 15 lb. bags), the lawsuit relays. Days later on January 11, 2021, the defendant, the suit says, voluntarily expanded the recall to include certain lots of:
Pro Pac Adult Mini Chunk;
Pro Pac Performance Puppy;
Splash Fat Cat 32%;
Nunn Better Maintenance;
Sportmix High Protein;
Sportmix Bite Size;
Sportmix High Energy; and
Sportmix Premium Puppy.
As a result of the aflatoxin contamination, the products are “unreasonably dangerous” and unsuitable to be used for their ordinary and intended purpose, the lawsuit says. The case alleges Midwestern Pet Foods “was or should have been aware” prior to recalling the Sportmix products of the contamination problem.
“As a seasoned manufacturer with almost a century of experience in making pet foods, Defendant analyzes the nutritional content of its products, and conducts testing, including health and nutrition testing, on all of its products,” the complaint reads.
The plaintiff, a Georgia resident who owns seven dogs, says she bought two types of Sportmix food for her pets for roughly two years. In early January 2021, the plaintiff “noticed health problems arising in several of her dogs, including vomiting and diarrhea,” the suit says. Per the case, the dogs who had gotten sick recovered on their own after “several days of illness” while a puppy owned by the plaintiff was diagnosed by a veterinarian as having contracted colitis.
The lawsuit looks to represent all persons or entities in the United States who bought Midwestern Pet Foods products that were subject to the company’s December 30, 2020 and/or January 11, 2021 recalls.
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