Virginia Burgardt blames Nestlé Purina PetCare, the second largest selling pet food maker behind Mars Petcare, for nearly killing her Great Dane earlier this year.
“Skye was vomiting, had diarrhea and losing weight,” said the 54-year-old from Wichita, Kansas, who explained that she has fed two-year-old Skye Purina’s Beneful products for most of the dog’s life.
“Over time, she kept getting sicker and sicker and finally wouldn’t eat,” Burgardt said. “I thought she was going to die.” It was soon after taking Skye to her veterinarian and having tests that according to Burgardt, show traces of antifreeze in the dog’s system. And so Burgardt joined a lawsuit against Purina PetCare. Her dog, she says, “is alive but not well. It’s been very upsetting. I know it was all because of Beneful.”
The suit, originally filed last February by Frank Lucido of California and then amended in June, alleged Purina failed to disclose that Beneful contains dangerous substances, such as mycotoxins and industrial-grade glycols, which are found in some antifreeze products and in human food.
Nestle’s Purina blasted the lawsuit as “false” and “unsubstantiated,” and stated that the products don’t contain “industrial grade glycol.” “There are no quality issues with Beneful,” the company said.
In the original suit, Lucido claims one of his dogs died from eating Beneful while two others became seriously ill. Beneful has been on pet store shelves since 2001. Purina PetCare, which recently bought organic pet food maker Merrick Pet Care, has more than $11 billion in annual revenues. The suit seeks $5 million in damages.
According to the lawsuit, in the past four years, there have been more than 3,000 complaints online by people saying that feeding their dogs Beneful products resulted in sickness or death. The site, ConsumerAffairs.com, contains more than a 1,000 consumer reviews of Beneful, many of them claiming their dogs were made gravely ill after eating the product.
“There’s absolutely no link between Beneful and pet illness,” said Wendy Vlieks, director of corporate public relations for Nestlé Purina’s Petcare, who added that some 15 million dogs a year eat Beneful products. “We think there’s a lot of confusion and misinformation over this due to social media.”
The original lawsuit listed just Lucido and eight other dog owners whose pets were made ill or died. In June, the lawsuit was amended to include 26 additional plaintiffs. “We want the people who were hurt by feeding Beneful to their pets to receive some compensation for their loss,” said Jeffrey Cereghino, a partner at Ram, Olson, Cereghino & Kopczynski and one of the plaintiffs’ lawyers. He’s filed a motion to have the suit be a class-action case.
Purina contends the lawsuit is without merit and their products are completely safe. Last month, the company launched a national campaign to defend Beneful, which is called, “I stand behind Beneful.” “Beneful is a safe, nutritious, high-quality dog food,” the company said, adding it looks forward to proving the case in court.
Pet food recalls
Purina isn’t the only pet food maker under fire. Last Friday, Nature’s Variety announced it’s voluntarily recalling its Instinct Raw Chicken Formula for dogs with a “Best By” date of 04/27/16 due to possible Salmonella contamination. Pet owners feeding the affected product to their animals are urged to discontinue use and monitor their pet’s health.
The Federal Drug Administration regulates pet food and FDA spokesperson JuliAnn Putnam said “it must be safe and properly labeled.” But there is no requirement that pet food products have pre-market approval by the FDA, according to the agency’s website. And critics claim food labeled as safe is really not because the FDA doesn’t really do much inspection.
“A lot of so called feed can be hideous animal waste,” said Susan Thixton, a pet food consumer advocate with a group called Association for Truth in Pet Food (ATPF).
One of the most recent and biggest episodes of dog and cat food poisoning was in 2007 when two Chinese companies and an American importer, ChemNutra were indicted on charges of using tainted wheat gluten as a pet food ingredient. Thousands of animals got sick and dozens reportedly died.
The company pled guilty to the charges in 2010 and paid $25,000 in fines while two ChemNutra officials were sentenced to three years probation along with $5,000 in fines for each. This led to the to the biggest pet food recall in history, involving names such as Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Mars Inc., Del Monte Pet Products, as well as Purina, The Iams Co. and Procter & Gamble, that manufactured pet food using the tainted ingredients. It also included retailers like Petco, Target and Costco.
By 2011, more than $12 million was paid on 20,229 claims from the United States and Canada as a result of the case.
The ingredients in Beneful dog foods: Harmful or not?
At the heart of this Purina case is what goes into the various Beneful dog foods and the levels of these elements in the food.
Beneful products contain a colorless liquid chemical called propylene glycol that is used as a preservative and to keep foods moist; the lawsuit filed in February contends this ingredient is one of the main reasons that plaintiffs’ pets became ill or died, though that ingredient was no longer listed in the amended complaint.
The amended complaint, instead of listing propylene glycol as a food ingredient, says Purina failed to disclose that Beneful contains Industrial Grade Glycols (IGG), a a more dangerous chemical. Purina flatly denied using that ingredient in products.
“We don’t have IGG’s in our products,” said Purina’s Vlieks.
As for propylene glycol, it is used in many forms of animal feed and veterinary medicine and found in human food like butter, cake mixes and sodas. But it can also be found in non-food products like antifreeze or in a solvent. And propylene glycol is used to reduce moisture in food, among other reasons.
Dr. Bruce Levitzke, director of the Veterinary Emergency and Referral Group in Brooklyn, New York said propylene glycol is generally safe for use in dog food and human foods. But it’s not good for cats, which can’t metabolize it.
“Even in small amounts, propylene glycol can cause destruction of red blood cells in cats,” explained Levitzke, who said he had no professional relationship with Purina or any other pet food maker.
The lawsuit also raises the possibility that dogs’ illness and death are due to the presence of mycotoxins in Beneful products. Toxins produced by mold, mycotoxins can contaminate grains used in pet food. The toxins can target an animal’s liver, which could lead to death.
The FDA’s Putnam said the agency has established regulatory levels of mycotoxins that are considered safe for animals, and Beneful products meet this standard.
But the ATPF said it conducted independent testing of pet foods and found Beneful Original Dog Food Dry contained very high levels of mycotoxins that were harmful to pets. The Pet Food Institute, a trade group, has countered that claim and includes links to veterinarians’ and researchers’ articles that refer to the group’s testing as “pseudo science” and “junk science.”
So is it propylene glycol, mycotoxins, IGG, or a combination that’s harming or even killing the dogs? Or is it something altogether different — and totally unconnected to the dog food?
The plaintiffs’ lawyer Cereghino claim “independent” tests of Beneful have found enough concerning evidence that some veterinarians advise owners not to feed Beneful to their dogs. But Cereghino didn’t disclose details about these independent tests.
Purina’s Vlieks said her company’s veterinarians vigorously test for mycotoxins as well as measure which amount of propylene glycol is safe for dogs. Vlieks said Beneful is made according to high-quality human food-grade levels when it comes to measuring amounts of propylene glycol.
One veterinarian contacted by Fortune agreed. “Responsible manufacturers, such as Purina, test the ingredients they receive from suppliers to ensure they are safe to use in making pet foods instead of just taking the suppliers word for it,” said Dr. Julio Lopez, a veterinarian at Studio City Animal Hospital in Los Angeles.
Lopez said he’s not being paid by Purina or any pet food company but Purina does refer media outlets to him to respond to the current lawsuit.
What about other dog food makers?
Mars Petcare wouldn’t disclose the ingredients in its products. In response to Fortune’s queries, a company spokesperson sent an email, saying, “We hold our finished products until test results confirm our quality standards are met.” The third largest pet food maker, Hill Pet Nutrition did not respond to requests for comment.
Products are required to have ingredient labels, but one study last year found that there was a high rate of mislabeling among pet food.
Kurt Gallagher, who is director of communications for the trade group the Pet Food Institute, points out that just because a dog got ill or died after eating Beneful food doesn’t mean the product caused the illness.
“Owners want answers and there’s a lot of misinformation out there,” he said. “There’s not much out there to substantiate the claims against Purina. The nation’s dog food supply is safe.”
But there’s a wrinkle of sorts to the case. The amended lawsuit filed in June charges that Purina offered cash settlements with non-disclosure agreements to some of the plaintiffs.
As for the alleged cash settlements, Vlieks said that it’s common for Purina to reach out to help customers who have complaints. She said that Purina had heard from four of the plaintiffs but no contact resulted in paid claims.
Cereghino said the case is still in the discovery phase and could that could take months. But Purina could have legal precedence on its side. A previous class action lawsuit filed in U.S district court in Missouri claimed Purina’s Beneful dog food caused severe harm and death to dogs was dismissed in January of 2014 for insufficient proof that Purina misrepresented their dog food.
Purina, meanwhile, says it is confident it will disprove this lawsuit in court. “We stand behind Beneful, which is a safe, nutritious, high quality food that millions of dogs enjoy every day,” a Purina spokesperson told Fortune. “Cases likes this cheapen the true pursuit of pet health and nutrition by stoking social media hysteria.”
But Purina is facing another legal challenge over alleged mislabeling of bacon dog treats. The class action suit contends the treats were advertised as being made mostly of real bacon, when in fact the meat is only a miniscule portion of the pet treats.
“It says on package, ‘dog’s don’t know it’s not bacon’ and we want dogs to think it is bacon, but it’s not bacon,” said Vlieks. “We’re not misleading anybody.”
3 Cybersecurity Concerns for Remote Employees
In the past eighteen months there has been a sudden and unexpected shift to remote working as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the past eighteen months there has been a sudden and unexpected shift to remote working as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. More people than ever before are now doing their jobs from home, and many employers are happy to let this continue into the future as the benefits of remote working become apparent, and more companies realize that allowing employees to work from home is actually easier than they imagined it might be. However, one of the main concerns for working from home is cybersecurity, as there are often more risks involved compared to when employees work in the office. Here are some of the main things that you will need to consider if your company is making the switch to remote work.
Getting IT Support
There has never been a more important time for your business to make sure that there is professional IT support in place. While many small businesses might not have the budget for hiring in-house IT professionals, the truth is that this is why they are often one of the biggest cybercrime targets, and working from home has only made it easier for hackers to intercept traffic, access your network and steal your data. Working with an IT support company that has experience with remote working is a necessary step for many businesses that want to keep their data safe.
Securing Home Networks
For many companies that are introducing remote working, one of the main security risks is the employee’s home network. When employees are accessing secure work sites over their home Wi-Fi network, this could be putting data and other information at risk. It’s important to make sure that all employees understand the importance of securing their home network. In some cases, simply changing the Wi-Fi password can be a step in the right direction as many router models come with standard passwords that hackers can get access to. Using a VPN might be something that you ask all employees to do so that traffic is encrypted when they work from home.
Improve Device Security
Company devices such as laptops and smartphones may be at higher risk when they are being used by remote working employees. In this situation, it is always important to consider the risk of theft or physical damage to devices. Cloud-based storage for data is an important feature to consider as this will ensure that no matter what happens to a physical device, you can secure the data itself and make sure that it does not end up in the wrong hands. It is a wise idea to secure all devices with strong passwords and use tracking software so that they are easier to find in the event of theft or loss. Make sure that your insurance covers devices that are used for working at home.
In 2021, working from home has become the new normal, with many benefits for both businesses and employees. However, there are additional security risks to consider when allowing your employees to work remotely.
Five Tricks for a Successful Trucking Business
When it comes to working in the trucking industry, there are a whole host of different considerations to think about before getting started. With so many moving parts (literally!), it can be hard to run a successful business properly.
When it comes to working in the trucking industry, there are a whole host of different considerations to think about before getting started. With so many moving parts (literally!), it can be hard to run a successful business properly. Thankfully, if you are looking to learn more about success in the freight industry, then you have come to the right place. This guide has the complete overview when it comes to the top tricks involved in doing it correctly. Read on now for everything that you need to know.
1. Use the Best Load Boards
When finding jobs that your truck drivers can work on, it helps to use load boards that offer easy access and the lowest possible commission. It might just seem like a small point, but working with the right load board can actually be the difference between a successful business and an unsuccessful one. Find the best load board at https://www.shiply.com/us/load-board.
2. Charge the Right Rates
Knowing how much money you should be charging for any given job is a highly important part of the freight business process. One of the worst but common mistakes that you can make is charging too little and then finding that you do not have enough money to cover operating costs. The same point goes for charging too much and actually scaring any potential customer off. That’s why it’s worth having a deep think about the rates that are right for your business and hit that sweet spot.
3. Pay Your Truckers Fairly
Trucking jobs require long hours, time away from family and a high level of care and concentration. As a result, truckers deserve to be well-compensated for their work. If you don’t pay them fairly then you might run the risk of them unionizing, causing you many hours in lost work, or simply choosing to work for someone else. After all, there is a huge shortage of truckers across the country. While higher salaries will cause a drop in your operating income, this will likely be made up later on in increased productivity.
4. Use The Latest Technologies
Technology is infiltrating every aspect of the trucking business, meaning that it is your imperative as a business owner to embrace the different ways it can improve your business. From robotic process automation to automated trucks to AI algorithms to using blockchain ledgers to using smart technology to track where your truckers are at any given time, it’s worth looking around at the ways that technology can be used to make your business as successful as possible.
5. Use an Automatic Ordering System
The days of using pen and paper to track your orders is well and truly over. This is particularly true if you have a business that requires a lot of moving parts. In order to make sure you are able to see which orders are coming in and making sure that you have a good way to meet them, it is absolutely essential that you install a sophisticated automatic ordering system. Without it, you are likely to run into a lot of trouble.
Five Effective methods of following pro Traders
ETF trading is one of the riskiest professions. In every step of this job, you will find uncertainty. So, if you are an amateur retailer, you should follow the footsteps of the smart investors.
While observing the trading style of the professional traders, a trader will notice that the expert or experienced investors generally follow some strategies like money management, evaluating the risk to reward ratio, when to buy at support or sell at the resistance level, and so on. Hence, if you want to walk into their path, you should also follow their business techniques.
In this article, we aim to dive into professional traders’ footsteps so that you can explore them appropriately.
5 effective ways of following the footsteps of professional traders
1. Follow a trading plan
One of the best ways of following professional businessmen’sfootsteps is to manage a trading plan regularly. In this scheme, you should include various vital terms like entry or exit time, money management techniques. In addition to this, you have to focus on risk to reward ratio, buy at support, and sell at resistance. If you can apply these techniques, you surely shine or succeed in your Forex trading like the master investors or investors.
2. Determine an effective trading platform
As a beginner trader, you should search for a reliable, robust, and experienced ETF broker so that he or she can provide you an apt trading platform.
As a good trading platform or policy can play a vital contribution to make wise trade decisions and extend the trades, so the professional businessmen always choose a dependable trading platform.
If you can determine or select the right trading stage, you can judge or evaluate the risk to reward ratio correctly and make your money management properly.
Moreover, as an investor, you can perceive when to buy at the support level and sell at the resistance level.
3. Maintain your risk adeptly
The significance of risk management in Forex trading cannot be denied. It is the focal point of surviving a trade for a long time with success.
The experienced or skill traders in Hong Kong can manage their trade risks aptly by analyzing the market volatility, and they also can adjust with their procedure.
As a result, they can choose their trade size wisely and minimize the amount of loss. Hence, as a newcomer in a business, it is your prime responsibility to adhere to your trading goals for managing the risk factors efficiently.
4. Make a habit of learning continuously
Learning and studying are part and parcel of a trade. Therefore, to be a skillful Forex retailer, you need to have an insatiable thirst for knowledge. You know that the pro-businessman or the dealer tends to study or learn consistently.
They are always ready to learn the strategy of successful trading from their superior businessmen. They can confess their faults and take the necessary steps to overcome the problem.
Moreover, they keep close attention to the numerous influencers or factors of the economic markets, for instance, economics, political changes, world events, weather, and vice versa. Hence, as an amateur investor, you should follow or adopt the skillful retailers’ landmarks.
5. Challenge your trading loss in a constructive way
The most important footstep of pro-businessman is that they can easily assume that winning or losing in a business is an inevitable matter.
The difference between an amateur or unskilled dealer and a pro investor is never to take a lesson from their mistakes. Conversely, the later one has a mentality to learn from their errors.
The unskilled retailers live in a world of fantasy, and conversely, the professional traders live in a world of reality. Hence, you should be pragmatic like the pro-businessmen and challenge your trading obstacles or loss in a conducive way.
These are the effective five footsteps of professional traders. We hope, if you apply them in your trade, you will shine immensely.
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