Pet Foods Settlement – What You Need to Know


Midwestern Pet Foods, a pet food manufacturer, recalled several pet food products in late 2020 and early 2021 after they were linked to causing illnesses and deaths in dogs and cats. Pet owners who had purchased the recalled pet foods sued Midwestern Pet Foods, alleging their pets fell ill or died from eating the contaminated products. A class action settlement has now been reached in this lawsuit. This article explains all the critical details of the Midwestern Pet Foods settlement that pet owners need to know.

What Was the Lawsuit About?

The class action lawsuit alleged that Midwestern Pet Foods deceptively marketed and sold pet food products with unsafe levels of aflatoxin and salmonella. Aflatoxin is a toxic byproduct created by mould that can grow on corn and other grains. High levels of aflatoxin consumption in pets can cause illnesses and even be lethal. Salmonella is a bacteria that can cause salmonellosis, a disease that commonly includes symptoms like vomiting, diarrhoea, fever, and loss of appetite in pets. The plaintiffs claimed Midwestern Pet Foods failed to test and inspect their products properly for these contaminants.

Midwestern Pet Foods denied the allegations but agreed to settle the case to avoid further litigation. They did not admit any wrongdoing as part of the settlement. The settlement establishes a fund to provide financial compensation to pet owners who submit valid claims showing injuries or costs related to purchasing the recalled products.

Impacted Pet Food Brands

The contaminated Midwestern Pet Foods products that are part of the settlement recall included:

  • Sportmix pet foods
  • Pro Pac Originals wet foods
  • Splash wet foods

Specific impacted product names and lot numbers are listed on the settlement website. The recalled pet foods were manufactured between December 2020 and June 2021 at the Midwestern Pet Foods facility in Oklahoma.

Who is Eligible to File a Claim?

Pet owners may be eligible to receive payment from the settlement fund if they:

  • Resided in the United States at the time of purchase or acquisition.
  • Purchased or acquired one or more of the affected recalled Midwestern Pet Foods brands for their household pet(s).

The class includes those who experienced veterinary costs or pet injuries related to the recalled foods and those who purchased the products whether their pets got sick or not.

Types of Claims Covered

The settlement provides two types of claims that pet owners can file:

  1. Pet Injury Claims

Pet owners can recover up to $100,000 for veterinary costs and other expenses like cremation if their veterinarian attributes their pet’s illness or death to eating one of the recalled foods. Proofs like veterinary records will need to be submitted.

  1. Consumer Food Purchase Claims

Owners can receive partial reimbursement for unconsumed foods they had purchased, whether their pet got sick or not. However, reimbursement amounts will depend on how many claims are submitted. These claims do not have a cap.

How to File a Claim

To receive payment, class members must submit valid claims by following these steps:

  1. Review the Long Form Notice and claim form available on the settlement website
  2. Gather and scan or photograph proof of purchase, like receipts, bank/credit card statements, and veterinary records if filing a pet injury claim.
  3. Complete and submit the Claim Form electronically or print and mail it to the settlement administrator postmarked by the deadline.

The claim submission deadline has passed, but keep an eye on the website for status updates on claims processing. Payments will be issued after final approval once all valid claims have been reviewed and tabulated.

Limits of the Settlement

While the settlement provides reimbursements, there are a few key limitations class members should be aware of:

  • Reimbursement amounts for purchase claims depend on total number of claims submitted.
  • The class does not include all products sold by Midwestern Pet Foods, just those recalled in late 2020-mid 2021.
  • The settlement resolves legal claims against Midwestern Pet Foods only. It does not prohibit individual lawsuits against other possibly responsible parties.
  • Accepting a payment releases legal claims against Midwestern Pet Foods related to the recalled pet foods.

So, pet owners must carefully review whether this settlement fully resolves their particular situation or if further action is warranted.

Deadlines for the Settlement

These were the important dates and deadlines for the Midwestern Pet Foods settlement:

  • Claim Submission Deadline: August 3, 2023
  • Exclusion Request Deadline: August 3, 2023
  • Objection Deadline: August 3, 2023
  • Final Approval Hearing: August 21, 2023

The Final Approval Hearing has now occurred, and the settlement was granted final approval by the court on August 21, 2023. Class members have been notified of the outcome on the settlement website

Critical Benefits of Filing a Claim

While reimbursement amounts are not guaranteed, there are a few critical potential benefits for class members who filed valid claims:

  • If a pet injury claim is approved, receive compensation for out-of-pocket veterinary care and treatment costs.
  • Partial refund for recalled pet foods purchased whether the pets got sick or not. Every claim helps increase the total funds available for all approved claims.
  • The settlement saves pet owners from costly and lengthy individual litigation against Midwestern Pet Foods.
  • It resolves all legal claims class members have against Midwestern Pet Foods from the recalled products.

Of course, pet owners will need to weigh these benefits against the limitations of accepting a settlement payment versus reserving individual rights to sue. But for most, this settlement provides concrete financial relief without ongoing legal action.

Claims Processing Status Updates

The settlement website is the best source for ongoing status updates on the Midwestern Pet Foods settlement claims process. Class members should check back periodically to find out:

  • When the claims administration period has ended, all valid claims have been processed and tabulated.
  • The final reimbursement amounts approved for various claim types depend on the total qualifying claims submitted.
  • The estimated timeline for issuance of settlement payments to approved claimants.

The site will announce the completion of the claims review and provide any new important settlement information as it becomes available. So, continuing to monitor this central website resource is highly recommended.

In Conclusion

This article aims to summarize the key details any pet owners impacted by the Midwestern Pet Foods recalled products need to know regarding the class action settlement. Filing a valid claim by the deadline was necessary for receiving approved compensation. Now, owners should monitor the settlement website for final payment amounts and timing updates. Overall, the settlement provides financial relief to qualifying pet owners without ongoing litigation – but individuals must evaluate if it fully meets their situation’s needs or requires extra action.