The courts have finally approved the settlement agreement for the class action lawsuit against pet food makers selling products contaminated with melamine. This means that the payouts will begin sometime this year, maybe. Legal wheels grind slowly, it seems (or maybe this isn’t slow?).
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One more thing about the peanut butter recalls; they affect pet foods. I can’t help saying it, but I did say that pet foods matter (and thanks to OrangeCloud for reminding me). One of the points of Pet Food Politics was to demonstrate that the food supplies for pets, farm animals, and people are one and the same and cannot be separated. If a safety problem affects pet foods, you can be sure that the same kind of problem will affect people food. Examples: melamine in Chinese infant formula, and now peanut butter.
Lots of pet foods, especially treats, contain peanut butter and guess where that peanut butter comes from? It comes from the same plant in Georgia that sends peanut butter everywhere else. Here are the recalled pet foods, so far:
Econofoods (Excluding Wisconsin stores in Sturgeon Bay, Clintonville, Marquette, Holton and Iron Mou
Family Fresh Market
Family Thrift Center
Pick’n Save (Ohio stores in Van Wert and Ironton only)
Wholesale Food Outlet
Recalled pet food ingredients: Peanut Corporation of America or Parnell’s Pride
Two unnamed parties have filed appeals to the $24 million settlement of the Menu Food pet food recall claims for compensation for pet illnesses and deaths. These appeals will delay payments to pet owners who filed claims, perhaps, according to the judge, by months or even years. Details about who is filing the appeals and why are not available, but one source says they have to do with labeling and fairness issues. Woe.
And more woe. Mars continues to expand its recalls of pet foods made at its now closed Allentown, PA plant.
Update January 15: here’s one of the objecting lawyers. He thinks owners of pets affected by melamine-contaminated pet food deserve more than the $24 million settlement.
My interview with Christie Keith about Pet Food Politics has just been posted on the Pet Connection blog site. Pet Connection is the pet care and everything else website that played such an important role in tracking the events of the 2007 pet food recalls. Christie Keith writes regularly for Pet Connection but I first came across her work as the exceptionally thoughtful pet columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle. This is a first for me: the interview is a verbatim transcript of a long telephone conversation. The conversation was a lot of fun, but also instructive; it changed my thinking about some issues regarding pet food labeling. Enjoy!
People whose pets got sick or died as a result of melamine adulteration of pet foods in 2007 are entitled to compensation. The U.S. courts approved the $24 million settlement on November 17. Now, the Canadian courts also have approved the settlement. The $24 million is in addition to the $8 million already paid out. Pet owners who have not yet filed claims can still do so by writing to: In re Pet Food Products Liability Litigation, Claims Administrator, c/o Heffler, Radetich & Saitta LLP, P.O. Box 890, Philadelphia, PA 19105-0890. Tel: 1-800-392-7785. Website: www.petfoodsettlement.com.
Happy Thanksgiving holiday!
I’m told that FDA laboratories are still finding melamine in milk-containing food products imported from China. In response, the FDA has issued a countrywide import alert, meaning that FDA officials can detain the products without having to examine and test them. The list of detainable products is long and includes not only milk but also yogurt, desserts, cakes and cookies, candies, chocolate, beverages, and- shades of 2007 – dog and cat food.
These sound like good steps to get the food safety system under control but what I’m hearing is that the government is dealing with safety problems piecemeal – one food at a time – rather than addressing the system as a whole. Sound familiar?
If your dog or cat was caught up in the melamine pet food recalls of 2007 (see Pet Food Politics: The Chihuahua in the Coal Mine) and you would like to file a claim in the pet food class action suit, go here for information and instructions. The deadline for filing a claim is November 24.