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Author Topic: Diamond Pet Food--Aflatoxin 2005--Class Action Settlement  (Read 8582 times)
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menusux
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« on: January 02, 2008, 07:41:50 PM »

http://www.reuters.com/article/pressRelease/idUS98496+02-Jan-2008+PRN20080102

Reuters January 2, 2008

If You Purchased Recalled Diamond Pet Food Products in 2005, You May Be
Entitled to Payment from a Legal Settlement

KNOXVILLE, Tenn., Jan. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- The following statement is being
issued by Jeff Thompson, O'Neil, Parker & Williamson; Jim Andrews, Attorney;
and Perry Craft, Craft & Sheppard, regarding the Bass v. Schell & Kampeter,
Inc., d/b/a Diamond Pet Foods Inc. and Diamond Pet Foods.


A settlement has been reached in a class action lawsuit regarding recalled
Diamond Pet Food products. A settlement fund, worth up to $3.1 million, will
be established and pay consumers who purchased recalled Diamond Pet Food
products, and compensate dog owners whose dogs were injured as a result of
eating recalled Diamond Pet Food products.

People who reside in the following states and purchased recalled Diamond
Brand or Country Value Brand Pet Food products in 2005, and did not return the food for a refund are included in this settlement:

 
Alabama, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia. 

You may also be part of the settlement class if your dog was injured, or if you incurred any veterinary bills as a result ofyour dog being injured from eating Diamond Brand Dog Food.  Some of the recalled products contained toxins that injured dogs.


In December 2005, Diamond Pet Foods issued a recall on some of their dog
food products.  The lawsuit alleges that many consumers have not received a
refund for the recalled food.


Shanika Stewart force-feeds strawberry-flavored Ensure through
a syringe to her 9 year-old Chow "Cocoa" at her home at Fort
Jackson in Columbia, S.C. The dog suffered permanent liver damage
after being exposed to aflatoxin in a batch of Diamond pet food.
(To remind Diamond/Schell & Kampeter what "no wrongdoing" and "no violation of any laws" looks like.)

Diamond denies any wrongdoing and contends that they have not violated any
laws.
The court has not made any decisions regarding the facts of the case,
however, a settlement has been reached to resolve the issues and avoid costly
time-consuming litigation.

Diamond will create a settlement fund of up to $3.1 million to provide
compensation for valid claims.  Attorneys' fees, costs, and expenses will also
be covered by the settlement as determined by the court.  The complete
settlement agreement, which is available at the website, describes all the
details of the settlement.

Consumers may be able to receive compensation if they can show that the
recalled food they purchased was not returned for a refund.  Consumers will
also be entitled to payment for any veterinary expenses that were incurred as
a result of their dog being injured after eating the contaminated pet food.


If you believe that you are a Class Member and are entitled to receive
compensation, you need to submit a valid claim.  To obtain a copy of the
complete notice and a claim form, call the toll-free number listed below,
visit the website listed below, or send a written request to the address
below.   Completed claim forms must be mailed to the address below.  All
claims must be postmarked by April 15, 2008.

You do not need to be included in this settlement, however, if you don't
want to be legally bound by the terms of this settlement, you must submit a
written request to be excluded by March 16, 2008. If you exclude yourself, you
will not get any money from this settlement. To exclude yourself, you must
send a letter by mail stating that you want to be excluded. You must include
your name, address, telephone number and signature. All requests must be
mailed to: Diamond Pet Food Settlement, c/o The Garden City Group, Inc., P.O.
Box 9214, Dublin, OH 43017-4614.   If you do not submit a request for
exclusion, you will not be able to sue Diamond about these claims ever again.


If you remain in this settlement, but have an objection, you must notify the
court of your intent to object by February 26, 2008. The website explains how
to exclude yourself and how to object to the settlement.


The court will hold a fairness hearing on March 26, 2008 at 1:30 p.m. to
consider whether to approve the settlement and a request for attorneys' fees
by the lawyers representing the class members. The lawyers representing
consumers are requesting a fee of $465,000.00, and expenses of $10,735.00 from
the settlement fund. This is only a summary of the settlement agreement. To
learn more about the settlement, call toll free 1-800-960-6651, go to the
website, and/or write to Diamond Pet Food Settlement, c/o The Garden City
Group, Inc., P.O. Box 9214, Dublin, OH 43017-4614.
1-800-960-6651, www.RecalledPetFoodSettlement.com

SOURCE  Jeff Thompson, O'Neil, Parker & Williamson; Jim Andrews, Attorney; and
Perry Craft, Craft & Sheppard

Jeff Thompson of O'Neil, Parker & Williamson, +1-865-546-7190,
jthompson@opw.com; or Jim Andrews, Attorney, +1-865-660-3993,
andrewsesq@icx.net



http://www.recalledpetfoodsettlement.com/

Details and downloadable claim forms are on the site.

http://www.recalledpetfoodsettlement.com/faq.php3

FAQs

http://www.recalledpetfoodsettlement.com/court.php3

Court Documents

http://www.recalledpetfoodsettlement.com/pao.pdf

Preliminary Approval Order

http://www.recalledpetfoodsettlement.com/sa.pdf

Settlement Agreement



http://www.fda.gov/oc/po/firmrecalls/diamond12_05.html

Diamond Pet Food Recalled Due to Aflatoxin

December 20, 2005 -- Diamond Pet Food has discovered aflatoxin in a product manufactured at our facility in Gaston, South Carolina. Aflatoxin is a naturally occurring toxic chemical by-product from the growth of the fungus Aspergillus flavus, on corn and other crops.
 
Out of an abundance of caution, we have notified our distributors and recommended they hold the sale of all Diamond Pet Food products formulated with corn that were produced out of our Gaston facility (see complete list below). Please note that products manufactured at our facilities in Meta, Missouri and Lathrop, California are not affected. The Gaston facility date codes are unique from other Diamond facility codes in that either the eleventh or twelfth character in the date code will be a capital "G" (in reference to Gaston). The range of date codes being reviewed are "Best By 01-March-07" through Best By " 11-June-07". Diamond's quantitative analysis records substantiate that Diamond's corn shipments were definitively clear of aflatoxin after December 10. As such, "Best By 11-June-07" date codes or later are not affected by this notice.

States serviced by our Gaston facility include

Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky (eastern), Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia, Vermont, and Virginia.

Gaston Facility Products Removed From Sale

Diamond Low Fat Dog Food
Diamond Hi-Energy Dog Food
Diamond Maintenance Dog Food
Diamond Performance Dog Food
Diamond Premium Adult Dog Food
Diamond Puppy Food
Diamond Maintenance Cat Food
Diamond Professional Cat Food
Country Value Puppy
Country Value Adult Dog
Country Value High Energy Dog
Country Value Adult Cat Food
Professional Chicken & Rice Senior Dog Food
Professional Reduced Fat Chicken & Rice Dog Food
Professional Adult Dog Food
Professional Large-Breed Puppy Food
Professional Puppy Food
Professional Reduced Fat Cat Food
Professional Adult Cat Food


http://www.fda.gov/bbs/topics/NEWS/2005/NEW01290.html

FDA Issues Consumer Alert on Contaminated Pet Food-2005

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is conducting an investigation into the deaths and illnesses of dogs that consumed pet food contaminated with a potent toxin called aflatoxin.  To date, FDA is aware of 23 dogs that have died and another 18 dogs that have become ill. The pet food is made by Diamond Pet Food at its Gaston, South Carolina facility.  

FDA also has discovered that some of the recalled product was exported to at least 29 countries, including countries within the European Union.  These countries have been notified.
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3catkidneyfailure
Guest
« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2008, 11:33:02 AM »

Not enough and not soon enough to help those who lost or had to treat
sick furkids, but thank God a manufacturer has been held responsible for
their bad pet food.

« Last Edit: January 05, 2008, 11:35:04 AM by 3catkidneyfailure » Logged
5CatMom
Guest
« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2008, 11:40:39 AM »

Here's a JAVMA article about the Diamond story:

http://www.avma.org/onlnews/javma/mar06/060315b.asp


5CatMom
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Trudy
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« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2008, 01:18:40 PM »

Didn't diamond also make horse feed? something in the back of my mind says that's what i bought for the horse.
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Carol
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« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2008, 01:28:40 PM »

5cat--thanks for that link---It;s strange that Diamond said they did nothing wrong in their settlement news release----I think I disagree!! Angry

I can't believe I'm saying this but "kudos" to the FDA for this one! Tongue
« Last Edit: January 05, 2008, 01:32:16 PM by Carol » Logged

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” — Margaret Mead

United we stand     Divided we fall....
5CatMom
Guest
« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2008, 04:07:03 AM »

CNN ran a piece about the settlement.  The CNN commentator stated that, according to Diamond "an employee" had failed to follow their testing procedure.

What's that?  One person made a mistake and many, many dogs died?

I guess the Production Supervisor failed to notice that the employee didn't perform the test, and the QA Supervisor failed to notice there was no report in the batch record, and the Plant Manager didn't notice that he has a broken manufacturing process.  And, according to the FDA, this happened 12 times.

Sounds like plenty of blame to go around.

From MSNBC:  ". . . the Food and Drug Administration released a report showing the company has no record of test results for 12 shipments of corn in 2005, when grain tainted with the deadly fungus slipped into the plant."

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22505068/
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5CatMom
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menusux
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« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2008, 07:15:11 AM »

Diamond has now admitted they did not test 12 batches for aflatoxin--here's the news story first.

http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5iQgh8TjGOmXGWNThfQP0Z9BIdhggD8TV68PG0

Maker of Tainted Dog Food to Pay $3.1M
 
"COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A company that made contaminated pet food that killed dozens of dogs nationwide will pay $3.1 million in a settlement with pet owners, an attorney said Friday.

"The pet food, which contained a mold called aflatoxin, was produced at Diamond Pet Foods' plant in South Carolina. The company will set up a fund to reimburse pet owners for the loss of their dog, veterinarian bills and the cost of any unreturned contaminated food, said attorney Jim Andrews, who represented a Knoxville, Tenn., family that sued the company.

"Diamond Pet Foods, based in Meta, Mo., acknowledged that workers at its Gaston, S.C., plant failed to follow internal testing procedures to ensure its products were safe. The company made the acknowledgment after the Food and Drug Administration released a report showing the company has no record of test results for 12 shipments of corn in 2005, when grain tainted with the deadly fungus slipped into the plant.

"The company contends it did nothing illegal, according to the settlement. Mark Schell, Diamond's assistant general manager, did not immediately return a telephone message.


"Aflatoxin, a naturally occurring chemical that comes from a fungus sometimes found on corn and in other crops, can cause severe liver damage.

"The contaminated pet food was sold in 23 states. Diamond recalled about 20 varieties of dog and cat food when a New York veterinarian said in December 2005 that she had linked a dog's death to the company's food.

"The 2005 recall is unrelated to the contamination problem that prompted recalls of more than 100 pet-food brands in early 2006. In that case, investigators traced pet deaths to a toxic chemical, melamine, that had been added during manufacturing in China."

http://www.fda.gov/ora/frequent/483s/01192006_DiamondPetFood/FDA483_01192006.html

FDA report re: lack of testing in HTML.

http://www.fda.gov/ora/frequent/483s/01192006_DiamondPetFood/Diamond_Pet_Food_ProcessorsFDA483_01192006.pdf

Original FDA Form 483 in pdf format.

For those who are struggling with false negative testing results for other substances, the document lets us in on what a PFC might omit--things like controls--positive or negative, and how Diamond failed to keep samples of the corn batches, so there could be no way to go back and test them to confirm whether or not aflatoxin was present in them.

Section #5 is also quite interesting:

"Accepted incoming bulk feed ingredients do not always meet the firm’s ingredient specifications. Some of these ingredient specifications include ranges for protein, moisture, fat, ash, and fiber. The five listed specifications are checked by Near InfraRed Spectroscopy (NIR). Handwritten written results on the Receiving NIR Test Results Report for the time period 1/3/06 to 1/17/06 indicated that:

A.  7 of 21 accepted shipments of wheat flour failed three or more of the five specifications tested by NIR.

B.  All five accepted shipments of rice bran failed four out of five specifications tested by NIR.

C.  Six of seven accepted shipments of Chicken By-Product Meal (Low Ash) failed all four specifications tested by NIR.

D.  There was no documentation of NIR test results for whole corn for 2005."


What you see here is that even prior to the melamine/cyanuric acid-related recalls, Diamond was accepting and using ingredients to make their dry foods which did not meet the criteria Diamond itself had established for them.

Diamond also disregarded its own written incoming shipments testing criteria:

"Written procedures for receiving bulk materials do not reflect current practices. For example, verbal directions were made to disregard the black light testing of incoming corn shipments and test all corn shipments for aflatoxin. The form, Incoming Ingredient Inspection, for recording the inspection results of bulk material was changed at the first part of 2005."

At the time, and perhaps currently, Diamond was keeping materials to make pet food stored in trailers outside of the physical plant itself:

"No acceptance criteria or testing conducted on fines stored outside in trailers."

This company is on par with Menu Foods; I personally would not want to use any product they produce, whether it be Diamond brand itself or any brand which Diamond co-packs.  They've had a history of trouble long before Chinese imports.
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3catkidneyfailure
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« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2008, 11:37:20 AM »

No kidding, menusux. But since we're not allowed to know who the
packer/manufacturer is, that makes it kind of tough.
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Katie
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Posts: 246


« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2008, 12:42:24 PM »

Menusux, thank you again for all the great information. I'm trying to figure out - the testing that what done by NIR from 1/03/06 to 1/16/06 - is that on raw ingredients from 2005 or is that on product from 2006? wish we knew what the testing results showed about what should or should not have been there.

Katie
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menusux
Guest
« Reply #9 on: January 07, 2008, 01:29:13 PM »

We have a fairly good start on a list of Diamond co-packers and products:

http://www.thepetfoodlist.com/petfoods_pg1.htm

Artemis - Holistic Pet Food

Fresh Mix Line, Osopure Line, and AgaRx Line is made by Diamond Pet in Lathrop, CA.

Diamond Pet Foods

Brands include Diamond, Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover's Soul, Nutra Gold, Nutra Nuggets, Premium Edge, Professional Pet Food


http://www.thepetfoodlist.com/petfoods_pg2.htm

Kirkland Signature Brand Pet Food

Dry food manufactured by Diamond, sold by Costco


http://www.thepetfoodlist.com/petfoods_pg3.htm

Solid Gold Health Food for Pets

Dry food made by Diamond, in Meta, Mo and Lathrop, CA


http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/18173908/wid/11915773?GT1=9303

MSNBC April 18, 2007

Chemical found in second pet-food ingredient
A San Francisco company, Wilbur-Ellis Co., began importing the ingredient in July from a Chinese company, Futian Biology Technology Co. Ltd., according to Wilbur-Ellis president and chief executive John Thacher.

It resold the ingredient to five pet food manufacturers, including Diamond Pet Foods Inc. of Meta, Mo. Diamond manufactured the dry dog and cat foods recalled by Natural Balance, Diamond Pet Foods spokesman Jim Fallon said.

http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/petfoodrecall/brand_list.cfm?brand=Natural%20Balance%20(RICE%20GLUTEN)&pet=Dog

Natural Balance

Diamond Pet Food  Venison and Brown Rice Bagged  Bag  All  All  All


Katie,

The FDA report was done 1/19/2006.  It looks like the information about the January 2006 ingredients were observations made by the FDA inspector during his visit to the plant, and this is what was noted by Diamond itself re: these raw ingredients when they were received.

We have no idea if Diamond did ANY NIR testing on its whole corn for all of 2005--because the FDA inspection found no records kept by Diamond for any whole corn testing during that year.  And you see their records were non-existent in many cases, along with many of the retention samples of the corn.
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5CatMom
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« Reply #10 on: January 07, 2008, 02:22:38 PM »

Found this on the FDA website.  It looks like the FDA's inspection report (redacted verson) on Diamond.

http://www.fda.gov/ora/frequent/483s/01192006_DiamondPetFood/Diamond_Pet_Food_ProcessorsFDA483_01192006.pdf

5CatMom
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Carol
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« Reply #11 on: January 07, 2008, 02:28:38 PM »

Found this on the FDA website.  It looks like the FDA's inspection report (redacted verson) on Diamond.

http://www.fda.gov/ora/frequent/483s/01192006_DiamondPetFood/Diamond_Pet_Food_ProcessorsFDA483_01192006.pdf

5CatMom
=^..^=

I wonder what is blacked out on those reports---it seems it could be the type of test? 

Who knows --maybe a couple of years from now we will be looking at the reports from this 2007 disaster!--Maybe then some of my questions will be answered! Angry
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“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” — Margaret Mead

United we stand     Divided we fall....
menusux
Guest
« Reply #12 on: January 07, 2008, 03:08:59 PM »

If you enlarge the pdf to about 125% and compare the blacked-out areas, you can sort of make out an "A" at the beginning and probably a "p", because the last letter has a "tail".  It looks like they've blacked it out because it's a brand name-AflaCup:

http://www.graintec.com.au/foodtesting_equipment.html#ac

"The Romer Labs AflaCup is a fast reliable and easy to use, screening test kit for the qualitative analysis of total aflatoxin. The test is based on solid-phase immunoassay technology where an antibody binds specifically with aflatoxin. It is applicable for corn, feeds, cottonseed, raw and roasted peanuts along with many other commodities. The AflaCup test kit result is easily interpreted by a simple colour change: a blue dot indicates a negative result or a white cup indicates the presence of aflatoxins above the detection limit. Test kits are available in 10 and 20 pbb cut-offs. Dilution schemes allow for lower and higher detection limits.

"Fast - 5 minute method
Performance Tested - USDA/GIPSA Approved and AOAC Official Method
User Friendly - distinct colour change
Low Cost - no expensive equipment required
Versatile - various detection limits offered
No Hidden Costs - Includes reagents, cups, cuvettes, pipet tips and filter paper
Stable - 8 months shelf life"

When items like this are redacted, it's generally by the company's request.  You see a lot of this when you look at the various drug reports FDA also has.  One large pharma was so paranoid, it demanded that the address of the plant which had failed inspection be redacted.  Never mind that was the only US plant they had for production of the drug and everyone knew where it was.  Wink
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JanC
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« Reply #13 on: January 07, 2008, 04:53:55 PM »

Anyone notice this?

"The 2005 recall is unrelated to the contamination problem that prompted recalls of more than 100 pet-food brands in early 2006. In that case, investigators traced pet deaths to a toxic chemical, melamine, that had been added during manufacturing in China."

This is in the middle of menusux's reply #7......not sure if this is a typo or if somebody is finally being honest as to when this whole thing really started.

Hmmmmmmmm Shocked
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Katie
Sr. Member
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Posts: 246


« Reply #14 on: January 08, 2008, 03:45:46 PM »

Menusux and JanC,

I noticed those dates too. 1/03/06 - 1/16/06  Wondering....does it mean, unknown substances were detected that shouldn't have been in the raw ingredients early 2006.  Many of us believe some of our pets were showing signs of illness in 2006 way before the recalls happened in 2007. I'm wondering too; was this the real start of contaminated pet food.

Katie


















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