Class Action Lawsuit Targets Chinese Supplier In Recalled Pet Food Case

A San Francisco lawyer has filed the first American lawsuit against a Chinese company for allegedly providing the contaminated ingredients in pet food which led to the deaths of thousands of cats and dogs in the United States.

Numerous lawsuits have been filed against pet food companies in the United States and Canada, but William Audet, lead attorney, said he believes his lawsuit is the first that names a Chinese supplier as a defendant.

On Wednesday, the law firm of Audet & Partners filed a class action lawsuit against Binzhou Futian Biological Technology, Co., a company based in Binzhou, China which was closed down by the Chinese government in July. The complaint seeks damages and other relief arising from injuries to pet owners whose dogs and cats became sick or died from ingesting melamine.

The lawsuit is filed on behalf of a Monterey woman, Judith Quintana, whose cat Little Girl died in April after eating Natural Balance cat food. As alleged in the complaint, Quintana’s beloved cat died due to complications associated with melamine poisoning from pet food.

“It’s time to hold all companies, regardless of the location of the business, financially and legally accountable for distributing toxic materials into the United States stream of commerce,” said lead attorney William M. Audet.

“Our firm’s legal research has revealed that the law in the People’s Republic of China actually provides for potential liability for distributing ‘impure or fake materials’ in products such as dog and cat food,” said Attorney Audet. “We intend to argue that the China-based company is liable under both California law and applicable Chinese law.”

Audet is asking the court to certify the claim as a class action lawsuit on behalf of all pet owners whose animals were harmed by tainted Natural Balance food.

Natural Balance Pet Foods is also named as a defendant in this lawsuit.

The president of Natural Balance, Joey Herrick, was surprised by the lawsuit. He said that they only produced a small amount of tainted food in comparison to other pet food manufacturers. Herrick said that Natural Balance recalled the products in April and is paying about 400 claims from people with sick pets from eating their recalled pet food. He said that they’ve paid their customers and are doing the right thing.

Source: Press release, San Jose Mercury News

20 Responses to “Class Action Lawsuit Targets Chinese Supplier In Recalled Pet Food Case”

  1. Jenny Bark says:

    Good, go get them. Wheat, corn glotten and etc wasen’t even on their label, so how were they being honest with the people. They told people, including me, in e-mails & by phone that they checked their food before, while and after being made. They later had to admit they didn’t and let others check them. Is that honest? Imo they only tell the truth after they are in trouble. Go get them & every person, company & county that put money ahead of honestly, pets & people for money & profit. No money from me.

  2. nora says:


  3. nora says:

    And to add to the above statement, My dog was puking in Jan 2007 because of eating Natural Balance Venison and Rice wet and dry food and got those symptoms that we all know too well. Thank GOD he is ok now and apparently got a batch that was not as heavily tainted as some of the later ones. I immediately took him off of that food. My dogs only get home cooked now. If something had happened to my Rufus, I would be out for BLOOD. And the Natural Balance reps were in the Pet food stores pushing their products and being told to LIE to our faces HOW SAFE THE NATURAL BALANCE FOOD WAS.

  4. Black Lab Owner says:

    Question: Are these Chinese companies privately owned or are they state sponsored enterprises? Although it is venturing into the ECONOMICS of capitalism, its government is COMMUNIST? Are any of these companies being touted as part of a Chinese miracle using state funds, and if so, could the Chinese government itself be held liable?

    Can any of you snooping on this website on behalf of the Chinese government provide an honest answer? [Sound of crickets chirping]

  5. thomas says:

    This is GREAT NEWS!!!! The more law suits the better . Let the truth be known!!!

  6. catmom5 says:

    Herrick was surprised? Just how much tainted food and sick or dead pets would he need before he wasn’t surprised? This guy is out of touch with real life.
    I say let’s get to the bottom of this mess and get the message out that we won’t buy their @#$ anymore.

  7. Jenny Bark says:

    Joey Herrick may I ask you which recall you paid the claims for and was it for sick pets or only pets that could prove they died from your food? How about claims for long term affects? My full name is Jenny Barkley, you have my addresses & phone #. You sent me free food and lots of coupons. Do you think you could buy me off with free stuff? Do you think that you advice from your staff about too much fiber would replace a vet.. Guess what I have to be thankful for? Diaarrhea, 8 days of it with my vet giving meds to stop it. I still have 3 dogs & 1 inside only cat that only my husband & I feed. I did my homework (I thought) on you’re company after being on Eukanuba for years, we changed all food & treats to NB. They where on your food for 4 or 5 weeks (just long enough to have to buy more) before the diarrhea hit them all at the same time. Thank God I have more than 1 pet and those people on the net that keep digging till they find out the truth. Didn’t your staff say before the recall your company made there own food? I stopped feeding immediately. Your staff said too much fiber, they are not vets, where are the vets & AVMA? Your staff said our lots won’t on the recall, later after your lawyers, sorry did I say lawyer I mean lab results you did recall our dog food but you have never recalled our cat food. You say you are “suprised”, Please don’t call but come in person to visit my husband, myself, our dogs & cat and we will be happy to tell you why you should not be “suprised”. One more thing before you come in person I hope to visit us, what kind of paper work did the 400 claims have to sign?

  8. Radcliff, Allie, Luna, & Ozzie says:

    We never thought we’d say this, but THANK GOD FOR AMBULANCE-CHASING LAWYERS! Get’m good, Audet & Partners. Natural Balance, especially, needs cleaned out good.

    It was bad enough that low end house brands were tainted. Selling tainted, low end house brand junk as expensive, high-end, premium food deserves a special trip through hell.

    Or we could just make Mr. Joey Herrick eat a can or two of Natural Balance every day for a year or two.

  9. Takami826 says:

    does anyone really believe the chinese give a crap about what we ’sue’ them for? good luck collecting, even in principle.

  10. biasedoyster says:

    I was lucky and had mycats on Newmans before the problems began. But checked and found out even Newman’s used the Menu food company. That was the last straw. I switched my guys over to raw diet, supplements that I research and take myself. Sick of these companies out for profit and not giving a darn about pets, owners, and the emotional bonds we have with these sentient beings. Enough is enough. I hope the class action succeeds and hurts the companies in the pocket book and perhaps might shut a few down.

  11. mittens says:

    this begs the question - was it really melamine poisoning?

    if they can’t prove that that’s exactly what it was they will lose and it will be a pointless excercize in sucking up court time.i see no conclusive scientific proof being aired that the poisoning can be definitiveley linked to one item that was manufactured in china. we still need these answers. why haven’t these answers been provided? no suit in court against these companies will win if what exactly happened can be proven.

    it’s furthermore rather pointless suing chinese companies-they probably won’t even respond and they can’t be forced to. the best way to effect the chinese companies who may be the center of the problem is to sue the american and other nonchinese companies who used and continue to use the chinese companies.every day there’s another item recalled that’s made in china that “might” sicken, hurt or kill a human let alone an animal. we have to start punishing the american companies who still could so care less about their customers that they still utilize these cheap crappy and often times poisonous products.

    i find it hard to belive that multibillion dollar corporations dont have the wherewithall for the best forensic scientists and chemical experts to pinpoint the problem that happend with their damn tainted they know and aren’t telling?

  12. Katie says:

    Great News! Glad to see more pet food companies being slapped with class action suits. They seem to think that if they pay $10.00., $50 or $100, they have been good citizens! Maybe they should have been moral and ethical companies from the begining - they wouldn’t be slapped with suits now.
    Mr Herrick, thinks he’s being picked on for only using a small amount…there is no acceptable small amount! It sickened and killed. Guess he doesn’t get that part.

    China needs to pay a price for trying to pull a fast one on the world. Fake products, deadly products. I hope they will be forced to answer in a court of law.

    Mittens: I don’t think they will ever tell us the truth about what sickened and killed the pets.


  13. SMITH111 says:

    Maybe the company and the Chinese can be sued enough to balance our National Debt to the tune of $233 Billion for their Cover-ups, Lies and Deceit!

  14. HighNote says:

    Good News! But I also doubt that they will get anything from this chinese company. They should be sued not only for our pets but for tainted cattle, chickens and pigs in our diet. No one has said a word yet about this in our dog and cat foods and I do not know why this has not been checked. Yes I know it is not suppose to harm us, but what about our pets? There also has to be a way to stop them from using puke in our pet food too. Like downer cows that could have mad cow, etc. Too many people still depend on store bought foods and maybe some animals may be saved from all of this but what about the poor ones still on the store bought products? I care about them too.

  15. Natural Balance Answers Back To Pet Food Lawsuit | Itchmo: News For Dogs & Cats says:

    […] or subscribe in a RSS reader.Yesterday, we posted a story about a San Francisco lawyer filing a class action lawsuit against Binzhou Futian Biological Technology, a Chinese company that allegedly provided contaminated ingredients in pet food that resulted in […]

  16. Don Earl says:


    RE: this begs the question - was it really melamine poisoning?

    Indeed. And if it was, did it really come from China.

    Darling International recalled 1.4 million pounds of meat and bone meal in April, due to melamine contamination. The FDA kept it a secret for 3 months.

    Melamine is less toxic than common table salt.

    Cyanuric acid is less than half as toxic as melamine.

    The two combined form an insoluable crystal that couldn’t possibly enter the blood stream, and thus couldn’t possibly form in the kidneys.

    I can’t imagine any way melamine could be present in rendered meat and bone meal unless the renderers put it there.

    So, the question is, what else may they have put in there, either by accident or design?

  17. catmom5 says:

    I think Don is right. I don’t think we know the truth yet about what’s really going on with the pfi. I think we’ve been “treated” to a gigantic smoke and mirrors performance.

  18. China Law Blog says:

    100 to 1 says this Chinese company will not even bother showing up in the US court. And why should it? A US court judgment against the company has no real value over in China in any event. Chinese courts virtually never enforce US court judgments so even with a judgment here, the plaintiff will need to sue in China for a new one and then try to collect. This company is probably now just a ghost anyway. And that is why US companies have the onus of making sure their products are safe.

  19. Donna boyd says:

    my cat ate 7 cans of it a cost me 700.00 for my cat to be in the vets for a week and i’m not rich wish i was but i work hard and only make min wages, had to ask for help from family and friends to pay the vet bill i still have one of the tampered food can with the code they was recalling. just to reminds me not to feed him any pet food!! just people food now!! my heart go’s out to the one that lose there loved ones. thank god my still with me but killed my pocket!!

  20. Rena Benfield says:

    I lost my loving KeKe, a beautiful long haired, cat to tainted food. I had not heard of a class action suit until resently and want all pet lovers and attorney who are a part of this a great big Thanks for all of us. If they cann do this to pet food, what could happen to our food. I am a 64 year old, alone and dearly loved KeKe and took perfect care of him, I still can’t believe he is gone.

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