Lethal Dog Treat Re-Enters The Market
Thanks to Burt’s Cause for barking in to let us all know that Greenies have been redesigned and the new design is about to enter the market.
For those of you unfamiliar with the situation or who missed the earlier posting and subsequent discussion of Greenies here on the blog, Greenies have been legally implicated in at least 13 dog deaths (although I suspect the real figure is much higher from what Dogsters have shared). Burt was a loved and lovable Dachshund who died due to a Greenie. His family has tried to give his death meaning by keeping an eye on news concerning Greenies. If you have any Greenies questions I would definitely send you to the Burt’s Cause site.
Here is a sampling of a few of the articles out on the new Greenies.
From MSN Money:
Embattled Dog Treats Get Makeover
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) – The makers of Greenies, the nation’s top-selling dog treat, are rolling out a newly formulated version they say is easier for dogs to chew and digest.
The change comes months after a series of lawsuits and media reports claimed the treat sometimes sickened or killed dogs.
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Officials with S&M NuTec, a Kansas City-based company that was acquired earlier this year by candy maker Mars Inc., said they had been working on a new formula even before the negative publicity, but they acknowledged they hope the updated Greenies win back skittish pet owners.
“We know there are perception issues out there about the original Greenies,” said Kristy Vetter, consumer care strategy coordinator for S&M NuTec. “We think this will give pet owners confidence about what they’re giving their dogs and help their dogs maintain happy, healthy lives.”
Greenies are hard, dark green treats shaped like a bone on one end and a toothbrush on the other. The company claims the treats help scrub the dog’s teeth, preventing periodontal disease and freshening the animal’s breath.
The treats have proven extremely popular, with S&M NuTec saying it sold 315 million Greenies last year. Market research firm Euromonitor International said Greenies represented almost 20 percent of the U.S. dog treat market in 2005.
That dominance was threatened earlier this year when CNN and numerous newspapers began reporting stories from pet owners claiming undigested Greenies had caused throat and intestinal blockages that required surgery and were sometimes fatal. CNN estimated in February that at least 13 dogs had died, and a class-action lawsuit against S&M NuTec is currently pending in federal court in Missouri.
This next article comes from the Kansas City Star, home of the company that makes Greenies.
New Greenies go down easy
By JOYCE SMITH
Theyre called new Greenies,” the next generation of canine dental chews.”
S&M NuTec, North Kansas City, says these Greenies begin to break down quickly, making them easy to swallow and digest.
That may seem like just another product announcement, but lawyer Alan Sash says the change of formula is one of the things he asked for in a class-action suit he filed in April. The suit, for product liability, was filed for 10 pet owners in eight states against S&M NuTec, the maker of Greenies dog chews.
It is unfortunate that the creator and former owners of Greenies, Joe and Judy Roetheli, did not change the product in this manner immediately after all the horrible stories surfaced, said Sash, a partner at McLaughlin & Stern LLP in New York. However, we are encouraged that Mars Inc. intends to do the right thing and change the product for the better.
Mars, manufacturer and marketer of M&Ms and Snickers candy, acquired S&M NuTec in May, making it a wholly owned subsidiary. Mars also sells Whiskas and Pedigree pet food products, among others. At the time, a Mars spokeswoman said there were no plans to make changes.
Janet Buckman, consumer care manager at S&M NuTec, called the new formula an evolutionary change.”