Settlement reached in Midwestern Pet Foods class action lawsuit

Midwestern Pet Foods and Nunn Milling Co. have agreed to pay US$6,375,000.00 to settle a Class Action brought against the companies by pet owners and breeders whose animals were sickened or died after consuming aflatoxin-contaminated pet foods.

Jeffrey Nunn, the CEO and co-owner of Midwestern Pet Foods, also is a co-owner of Nunn Milling Co.

A separate case, brought by Jeremy and Britany Simmons, was settled in March 2023. The details of that settlement have not been released. 

The Backstory

The FDA received the first complaint about a Midwestern product on December 15, 2020.

On December 30, 2020, Midwestern Pet Foods issued a recall of certain SPORTMiX products, citing the presence of aflatoxin above permitted levels.

The following day, the FDA began an in-depth inspection of Midwestern’s Chickasha, Oklahoma production plant.

During its inspection, the FDA found that the company had accepted shipments of aflatoxin-contaminated corn, and had used that corn to manufacture pet foods.

The company expanded its product recall on January 11, 2021, after the states of Missouri and Texas documented extremely high levels of aflatoxin in multiple samples of the company’s dry dog and cat foods.

By March 15, 2021, the FDA had amassed complaints from 181 households and kennels, all reporting adverse effects in pets who had been fed a Midwestern product.

Ultimately, the FDA determined that more than 130 pet deaths and more than 220 pet illnesses could potentially be linked to consumption of a Midwestern dry pet food.

The FDA issued a formal Warning Letter to the company on August 9, 2021.

Class Action

Stephanie Romero, a Las Vegas resident, was among the first victims of Midwestern’s aflatoxin-contaminated pet foods to file a Complaint against the company.

On December 15, 2020, Stephanie purchased SPORTMiX dog food for her two dogs, and opened the first bag that same day.

The following day, Olive, her three-year old lab mix, appeared to be less active than usual. The dog’s health gradually deteriorated until, one week later, she began vomiting.

Olive suffered two seizures on Christmas Day, and Stephanie described her dog as being lethargic, disoriented and confused. She was continuing to vomit, and appeared to be jaundiced. Her urine was bright orange.

Stephanie brought Olive to her veterinarian, who determined that the dog’s organs were shutting down, and recommended euthanasia.

Upon returning home from the veterinarian, Stephanie discovered that her three-year old dachshund, Scotty, had vomited in her absence, and was lying on the floor next to a puddle of dark blood.

Stephanie rushed Scotty to the veterinarian, who determined that the dog was bleeding internally.

Scotty, too, was euthanized.

A few days later, Midwestern announced its first recall. When Stephanie learned of the recall, she checked her bag of SPORTMiX dog food. The lot code on the bag matched one of the recalled lots.

Stephanie alerted her veterinarian to the recall and filed a report with the FDA.

On January 19, 2021, Stephanie joined four other pet owners in filing suit against Midwestern Pet Foods.

Stephanie and her fellow Plaintiffs agreed to consolidate their action with suits filed by other pet owners.

In January 2023, almost two full years after the initial court filing, the parties reached agreement on a settlement.

On February 6, 2023, the Court issued a Preliminary Approval of the settlement agreement. A Final Approval hearing is scheduled for August 24, 2023.

The Bottom Line

Pet owners whose dogs or cats became ill or died after consuming one of the Midwestern Pet Foods products covered in the Settlement Agreement and who wish to be included in the Class Action settlement can find the necessary information HERE.

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