DelMonte – parent company of Milo’s Kitchen jerky pet treats – wanted to sue their Chinese jerky treat supplier AFTER illegal drugs were found in the pet treats. What responsibility does a manufacturer/importer of pet foods or pet food ingredients hold?
In 2007 the world learned that hundreds of different brands of pet foods contained adulterated vegetable protein ingredients sourced from China. Tens of thousands of pets died and suffered permanent kidney damage. The resulting lawsuit primarily held Menu Foods – the largest manufacturer, canned foods – as the responsible party. Each individual pet food company was allowed to pass-on legal responsibility to Menu Foods. In other words companies like Iams or Nutro or Science Diet whose foods were recalled and responsible for pet deaths and illnesses – were legally allowed to put blame on their co-packer Menu Foods. A sort of – ‘I didn’t do it, Menu did’.
Was that fair? What responsibility does each pet food manufacturer have to their own products regardless of who manufacturers the products?
Now – in the midst of a lawsuit representing pet treat consumers against Del Monte’s Milo’s Kitchen jerky treats – we learn that Del Monte wanted to sue its Chinese supplier of jerky treats for ‘breach of contract’. Del Monte claims the ‘selling agreement’ between itself and Chinese seller ‘Nova World’ was breached due to (basically) the pet treats being found to contain illegal drugs. Del Monte’s selling agreement with the Chinese supplier provided that “Nova World has agreed to indemnify Del Monte against any claim, loss, damage, liability or expense for bodily injury, death, property damage or damage to brand reputation…where such injury, death or damage is caused by any products, ingredients or materials furnished by Nova World…” Simply put – the selling agreement Del Monte had with the Chinese supplier appeared to state that any claim Del Monte would suffer as a result of the jerky treats the Chinese supplier would have to pay. http://www.courthousenews.com/2013/12/26/64072.htm http://law.justia.com/cases/federal/district-courts/pennsylvania/pawdce/2:2012cv01011/204732/129
Imagine if you were a pet food/pet treat company. Let’s just say that your company decided to sell an imported food from China….jerky pet treats as example. Would you…
- Simply import the food on the word of the Chinese manufacturer? or…
- Would you inspect the farms the chickens were raised on? Inspect the feed the chickens were fed? Inspect the manufacturing facility? Inspect the slaughter facility? You know…investigate a little about that product that will bear your company name?
I can share that with certainty – some pet food and pet treat manufacturers do investigate every single supplier of ingredients – or supplier of finished product. Some pet food and pet treat manufacturers work diligently to be certain each ingredient or finished product that bears their name is safe, sourced from healthy animals, those animals were fed properly, and even raised humanely. Some do this…but clearly not all.
We expect that companies that make millions and billions in profits from our pets to do a little homework on sourcing of foods/ingredients prior to selling. We expect that – but it is certainly not always the case with pet foods and treats.
Back to the original point of this story…do you think that it is fair for Del Monte to sue the Chinese manufacturer of the jerky treats? Should Del Monte (and Purina and all the other importers of jerky treats from China) be responsible for the products they imported and sold to consumers? Or does the ultimate responsibility lie with the Chinese manufacturers? Who should be held accountable for a poisonous product (found to contain illegal drugs)?
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
Pet Food Safety Advocate
Author Buyer Beware, Co-Author Dinner PAWsible
Association for Truth in Pet Food
What’s in Your Pet’s Food?
Is your dog or cat eating risk ingredients? Chinese imports? Petsumer Report tells the ‘rest of the story’ on over 2500 cat foods, dog foods, and pet treats. 30 Day Satisfaction Guarantee. www.PetsumerReport.com
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