The eight kinds of Beneful dog food
have caused internal bleeding, liver failure, vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, seizures, bloat and kidney failure, the suit said.
The named plaintiff in the suit describes how one of his dogs died after eating Beneful and two of his dogs got sick. In the past four years, consumers have made more than 3,000 online complaints about dogs becoming ill or dying after eating Beneful, the lawsuit says.
Bill Salzman, director of corporate communications for Nestle Purina PetCare, issued a statement denying the allegations in the lawsuit.
"We believe the lawsuit is baseless, and we intend to vigorously defend ourselves and our brand. Beneful had two previous class action suits filed in recent years with similar baseless allegations, and both were dismissed by the courts.
"Like other pet foods, Beneful is occasionally the subject of social media-driven misinformation. Online postings often contain false, unsupported and misleading allegations that cause undue concern and confusion for our Beneful customers.
"Bottom line: Consumers can continue to feed Beneful with total confidence."
The class action lawsuit, filed February 5 in U.S. District Court in Northern California, seeks $5 million in damages.
The plaintiff, Frank Lucido of Discovery Bay, California, says he first purchased Beneful food in December or January, the suit says.
Lucido's German Shepherd, Nella, became ill on January 17 and his English bulldog, Dozer, was found dead January 23 in the yard, the lawsuit says. Lucido's third dog, a Labrador named Remo, became sick around the same time, the suit says.
The lawsuit says Purina Nestle knew Beneful dog food was harmful and sold it without adequate testing and without properly investigating reports of pet deaths and illnesses.
Beneful contains propylene glycol, an auto antifreeze component, and mycotoxins, toxins produced by fungus found in grains, the lawsuit says.
The eight kinds of dry Beneful food are Purina Benful Healthy Weight, Original, Incredibites, Healthy Growth for Puppies, Healthy Smile, Healthy Fiesta, Healthy Radiance and Playful Life.