More bad news on the dog food front.
Petfood maker Royal Canin hit with lawsuit
TORONTO — A Canadian class action lawsuit has been filed against pet food maker Royal Canin Canada Co. on behalf of dog and cat owners claiming that certain products contain excessive amounts of vitamin D and have caused their pets to become sick or die.
One of the lawyers handling the plaintiffs’ case said the suit against Royal Canin has been in the works for months and is unrelated to the high-profile problems that have come to light at Menu Foods Income Fund (TSX:MEW.UN), a major North American pet food maker that announced last week it was recalling dozens of brands of “cuts and gravy” style products.
In the United States, a Chicago woman sued Menu Foods on Tuesday, alleging the Canadian pet food manufacturer delayed announcing a recall of 60 million containers of dog and cat food despite knowing its products were contaminated and potentially deadly, the Associated Press reports.
Menu said it had not seen the suit and had no comment.
The suit against Royal Canin, filed Tuesday in the Ontario Superior Court, alleges the pet food maker — a subsidiary of a French company — either knew or should have known the levels of vitamin D were unsafe and could cause the animals to develop high levels of calcium in their blood, renal failure and other conditions.
None of the allegations have yet to be tested in court.
The Canadian lawsuit is seeking compensation for people who bought Royal Canin dog or cat food since Aug. 1, 2004.
Joel Rochon, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, said he wants the company cover the cost of veterinarian services related to the health problems, as well as the replacement cost of pets that have died, and reimburse the price of the food.
The claim outlines at least 59 Royal Canin products that it says should be included in the refund.
The lawsuit has been filed by law firms Rochon Genova LLP and Himelfarb Proszanski LLP.
Rochon said the case has been in development for up to six months and is not directly related a pet food recall issued by Menu Foods but Rochon added that his firm has been retained for a case involving Menu.