Lawsuit alleges Mid America Pet Food caused dog death, human illness
Two dog owners filed a class action lawsuit against Mid America Pet Food following a series of recalls by the pet food manufacturer due to potential Salmonella contamination of various dog, cat and other pet foods. The lawsuit noted that family members became sick after caring for one of the ill dogs. Both dogs mentioned in the lawsuit were euthanized due to their illness. The lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas with the Texarkana division.
The plaintiffs’ lawyers noted in court documents that Mid America marketed and advertised the pet foods as being fit or suitable for animals. The company represented that the pet foods provided targeted nutrition, and/or have guaranteed the products for taste and nutrition. The lawyers alleged that Mid America’s marketing and advertising was false, deceptive, and misleading to reasonable consumers because the pet foods were contaminated with Salmonella, and thus were not as advertised, represented or guaranteed.
Mid America Pet Food was acquired by TA Associates (TA), a US-based private equity firm, from Trinity Hunt Partners in 2020. Founded in 2007, Mid America Pet Food offers superpremium pet food and is best known for its VICTOR. VICTOR is sold primarily in farm and feed stores and independent pet stores across the country, as well as through select online retailers. Based out of East Texas, VICTOR manufactures all kibble in-house while sourcing many ingredients from farms and suppliers that are within a day’s drive of the plant.
Situations leading to class action lawsuit against pet food company
In one situation detailed in the court filings, plaintiff Courtney Andersen made at least five purchases of Member’s Mark dog foods from Sam’s Club between March 27, 2022 and October 16, 2023. Andersen fed the products to her dog, Spike. She stated that Spike was healthy before consuming the dog foods. However, after consuming Mid America dog foods, Spike began experiencing lethargy, vomiting and vomiting of blood. On November 15, 2023, Andersen took Spike to her veterinarian, who advised that the dog be euthanized. According to the veterinarian, Spike’s symptoms were consistent with Salmonella infection.
The other plaintiff, Lisa Burmeister made at least nine purchases Mid America’s Victor Super Premium Dog Food from Amazon.com between November 14, 2022 and October 6, 2023. She had been buying the brand via auto-delivery from Amazon.com for the last two years and for three years prior to that from other retailers. Burmeister fed the dog food to her five-year-old mastiff, Rain Mae, who she claims was a healthy dog beforehand. In mid-October 2023, after consuming the dog food, Rain Mae began experiencing discomfort, breathing issues, diarrhea, shaky legs, lethargy and weight loss. Burmeister took Rain Mae to her veterinarian, who ordered lab work that came back irregular. The veterinarian asked Burmeister if Rain Mae had possibly consumed something toxic. Because Rain Mae had eaten Victor Super Premium Dog Food – Select Beef Meal & Brown Rice Formula for the previous five years, Burmeister contacted Victor Pet Food about the situation.
“In response to her inquiry, Defendant called Plaintiff Burmeister and left a voicemail but did not provide any information about Salmonella or a recall or a potential recall,” the plaintiffs’ lawyers wrote in court documents.
Burmeister’s husband and her daughter missed work to care for the sick dog. Rain Mae eventually lost the ability walk, lost her appetite and required four different veterinarian visits before she was euthanized. Only after Rain Mae passed away did Burmeister receive a recall notice from Amazon.
“Notably, both Plaintiff Burmeister and her son – the two people who fed Rain Mae — became ill around the same time that Rain Mae became ill,” wrote the lawyers. “Their symptoms included stomach pain and burning and loss of appetite. Although Plaintiff Burmeister’s son’s symptoms have subsided, Plaintiff Burmeister continues to experience them and has been referred to a gastroenterologist”
7 Salmonella infections, 6 children, correlated to Mid America recall
In late 2023, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, in collaboration with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and state partners, began investigating seven human cases of Salmonella Kiambu infection potentially associated with pet food made by Mid America Pet Food of Mount Pleasant, Texas. CDC reported that, as of November 1, 2023, seven people infected with the strain of Salmonella had been reported from seven states (see map). Six of seven cases reported were in children one year of age or younger. Five of these cases reported exposure to dogs and three reported feeding Victor pet food to their pets. Illnesses started on dates ranging from January 14, 2023, to August 19, 2023 (see timeline). One person was hospitalized, but no deaths have been reported.
Mid America Pet Food voluntarily recalled all the pet food brands it manufactured with a best by date before 10/31/2024, which include Victor, Eagle Mountain, Wayne Feeds and two varieties of Member’s Mark pet foods. These products include both dog and cat foods and were sold nationwide in retail stores and online.
A retail sample of Victor brand Hi-Pro Plus dry dog food collected by the South Carolina State Department of Agriculture and analyzed by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control matches the strain of Salmonella found in the seven ill people.
35 dog, cat foods in Mid America Pet Food recall
Mid America Pet Food of Mount Pleasant, Texas expanded its October 30, 2023 voluntary recall to include additional pet food products with Best By Dates before 10/31/24, made at its Mount Pleasant facility, due to the products’ potential to be contaminated with Salmonella, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. This expanded voluntary recall is being issued due to some of the product lots testing positive for Salmonella through random and targeted sampling of finished product, including by the firm and the South Carolina Department of Agriculture
As of November 1, 2023, seven people reported Salmonella infections.
Voluntarily recalled brands produced at the Mount Pleasant facility include: Victor Super Premium Dog Foods, Wayne Feeds Dog Food, Eagle Mountain Pet Food, and some Member’s Mark varieties with Best By Dates before 10/31/24. Recalled products were distributed to distributors and retailers throughout the United States. The affected products include:
1. Victor Super Premium Dog Food, Select Beef Meal & Brown Rice Formula
2. Victor Super Premium Dog Food, Select Chicken Meal & Brown Rice Formula
3. Victor Super Premium Dog Food, Select Lamb Meal & Brown Rice Formula
4. Victor Super Premium Dog Food, Select Ocean Fish Formula
5. Victor Super Premium Dog Food, Select Grain Free Chicken Meal & Sweet Potato Recipe
6. Victor Super Premium Dog Food, Select Grain Free Lamb Meal & Sweet Potato Recipe
7. Victor Super Premium Dog Food, Select Grain Free Yukon River Canine
8. Victor Super Premium Dog Food, Purpose Grain Free Active Dog & Puppy
9. Victor Super Premium Dog Food, Purpose Grain Free Hero Canine
10. Victor Super Premium Dog Food, Purpose Grain Free Ultra Pro
11. Victor Super Premium Dog Food, Purpose Performance
12. Victor Super Premium Dog Food, Purpose Nutra Pro
13. Victor Super Premium Dog Food, Purpose Senior Healthy Weight
14. Victor Super Premium Dog Food, Classic Elite Canine
15. Victor Super Premium Dog Food, Classic High Energy
16. Victor Super Premium Dog Food, Classic Hi-Pro Plus
17. Victor Super Premium Dog Food, Classic MultiPro
18. Victor Super Premium Dog Food, Classic Professional
19. Victor Super Premium Dog Food, Realtree Edge Energy
20. Victor Super Premium Dog Food, Realtree Max-5 Pro
21. Wayne Feeds Dog Food, High Energy
22. Wayne Feeds Dog Food, Original
23. Wayne Feeds Dog Food, Protein Plus
24. Wayne Feeds Gold Dog Food, Sport Protein
25. Wayne Feeds Gold Dog Food, Joint Support
26. Wayne Feeds Gold Dog Food, Puppy Plus
27. Eagle Mountain Pet Food Pro Balance, Dog Food
28. Member’s Mark, Beef & Brown Rice Recipe, Dog Food
29. Member’s Mark, Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe, Dog Food
30. Victor Super Premium Cat Food, Hi-Pro Plus Active Cat & Kitten
31. Victor Super Premium Cat Food, Grain Free Fit Feline Indoor Cat
32. Victor Super Premium Cat Food, Grain Free Healthy Skin & Coat Indoor Cat
33. Victor Super Premium Cat Food, Mers Feline
34. Wayne Feeds Gold Cat Food, Ranch & Sea Recipe
35. Wayne Feeds Cat Food, Barn Cat Plus
For a list of all UPCs and bag sizes follow this link: Dog and Cat Foods Lists
Effects of Salmonella contamination in pet food
Salmonella can affect animals eating the products, and there is risk to humans from handling contaminated pet products, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with the products or any surfaces exposed to these products. Healthy people infected with Salmonella should monitor themselves for some or all of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever. Rarely, Salmonella can result in more serious ailments, including arterial infections, endocarditis, arthritis, muscle pain, eye irritation, and urinary tract symptoms. Consumers exhibiting these signs after having contact with this product should contact their healthcare providers. Children, the elderly, and individuals with compromised immune systems may be at greater risk of Salmonella infection.
Pets with Salmonella infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting. Some pets will have may only exhibit decreased appetite, fever, and abdominal pain. Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian.