Menu Foods Reaches Settlement Agreement

Menu Foods

Here is a press release dated April 1 on Menu Foods website:

Menu Foods Income Fund (TSX: MEW.UN) announced that the parties to the Pet Food Multi-District Litigation (including Menu Foods) today advised the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey that their mediation has produced a comprehensive, cross-border agreement in principle between the parties, addressing all major terms of settlement.

The settlement in principle is subject to several conditions, including the approval of certain other parties, the execution of a definitive settlement agreement and review and approval of the U.S. District Court and the Canadian courts. The parties advised the court that they are confident that a definitive settlement agreement can be reached.

The definitive terms of settlement, together with a motion for preliminary approval thereof, are scheduled to be filed with the U.S. District Court on May 1, 2008, with the hearing scheduled to occur at 11:00 a.m. on May 14, 2008. The scheduling for Canadian court approval has not yet been determined, but is expected to occur in a similar time frame.

The settlement amount will be funded by the defendants, including Menu Foods and its product liability insurer. Menu Foods estimate for recall costs remains unchanged at Cdn.$55 million. Pet owners with potential claims should not contact Menu Foods regarding the agreement in principle. If and when a definitive settlement agreement and claims process have been finalized and approved, the administrator of the settlement fund will give notice to pet owners with details on the procedure for making claims on the settlement fund.

(Thanks Carol)

60 Responses to “Menu Foods Reaches Settlement Agreement”

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  1. Stefani says:

    I am really glad to see Itchmo back up and running. I was really worried.

    Listen, Emily and Ben and crew, please post an article letting your readership know what you need in order to keep Itchmo up and running. Itchmo is a valuable place for us pet people to come and get the pet news! It became my #1 news source! :)

    If we need to raise some money, let us know.

    If you need volunteer help processing news tips, and getting reprint permissions, let us know.

    Whether it is the work that is too much, or the money that is too much — please let us know. I’m sure many of us would pitch in rather than see Itchmo go away.

    You’ve really invested in branding this thing, it worked!

    I would encourage you to post anything you need as an article because I know I am not the only one who doesn’t spend a let of time on the forums.

    And let me once again say THANK YOU for all that you have put into creating this place.

    Personally, let me know what I can do.

    Stefani Olsen
    The Toonces Project
    http://www.TheTooncesProject.com
    “Is Your Pet Safe at the Vet?”

  2. shibadiva says:

    What Stefani said! (Thanks for saying it, Stef!)

    Let us know what you need to keep this site going. You’ve built a huge community that would be willing to help.

  3. Carol A. says:

    I’m waiting to see what happens as a result of this settlement. Obviously it has an impact on the other lawsuit against Royal Canin/MediCall here in Canada, a class action lawsuit launched the same week as the first legal actions against Menu Foods Income Fund but not as well publicized.

  4. Hazel Chambers says:

    OK…what is going on….why is Itchmo in trouble. I love it…and would be willing to help.

  5. annelouise says:

    Hi Folks, I stumbled onto your site by accident one day and have been addicted to it ever since. I look forward to your emails every day and have missed you terribly. So does my mom. Please figure out a way to get financial support. Put some ads on your home page like dogster does. But please, don’t stop the presses!!! Anne

  6. Iren says:

    Wow so much positive attitude…. I like your site too, not addicted yet, but who knows :)

  7. Jennifer Moore says:

    Ditto ditto ditto what Stef said!

    I have enjoyed writing for Itchmo, and I also appreciate reading the articles others have written. Even for those of us who do not spend time of the forums, this has become a community.

    Emily, you and I email pretty frequently. Please don’t hesitate to let any of us out here know what you all need to keep this going.

    Jennifer Moore

  8. JudyM says:

    Do let us know what we can do to help keep this site up and running.

  9. TEALCSMOMMY says:

    I believe I saw in the forum that Itchmo doesn’t have time to devote the time needed for this website and requested that donations be given to your local shelter instead of him (Itchmo).

  10. Matt says:

    Menu foods should worry less about protecting their reputations (what’s left of them), and should worry more about PROTECTING CATS AND DOGS.

    What has menu foods done to ensure the safety of pet foods?

    Notice how they dont detail these things on their website.

    The truth is that the pet food makers havent really done much of anything to make pet food safer.
    They will let the whole thing blow over, be careful who they get their wheat gluten from, and there will be more deaths in the future.

    Because in business, money and expediency are valued more than life.

    And that is not acceptable.

    What can you do?

    Contact all of the pet food companies and tell them:

    Dear Sir or Madam,

    As pet lovers, we are outraged that the PFI (Pet Food Institute) are consistently opposing reforms which would enhance pet food safety. Clearly, the PFI cares more about money and expediency than they do LIVES.

    We ask that you please demand that the PFI stop opposing reforms that will protect our four-legged family members, and if they refuse to do so, we ask that you resign from the PFI.

    We are demanding:

    1. Co-Maker Labeling – The actual manufacturer of a pet food should be clearly declared on all pet food labels along with contact information.

    2. Country of Origin Labeling – Countries desiring to import pet food ingredients into our country should have their manufacturing and quality control procedures tested and certified by the FDA BEFORE any imports are allowed. Whether any ingredients imported should be labeled as to country of origin, or at the very least, labeled to expose lack of certification, some action must be taken IMMEDIATELY!

    3. Ingredient Labeling – The current “code” that makes it incredibly difficult for a consumer to understand what is really in the pet food we buy, MUST BE REPLACED with a clear labeling of the percentage content by dry weight of all ingredients.

    4. “Balanced and Nutritous” diet claims – Before any label can make such claims for the pet food being sold, long-term testing must be performed. At present, these claims are only marginally justified.

    5. Marketing Claims – Words such as “Premium”, “Super-Premium”, “Organic”, “Holistic”, mean absolutely nothing from a regulatory viewpoint. The PFI staunchly defends the use of “marketing claims” as not falling under the regulatory control of the FDA. HOWEVER, false and misleading advertising claims are heavily regulated in other industries.

    6. Inspections – We demand that funds be appropriated or “user fees” be levied to fund a radical increase in the number of inspections that are conducted to assure pet food safety. At the bare minimum, we need to have inspections of foreign production prior to shipping, inspections of shipments prior to transport, inspections of shipments as received in our country, manufacturers’ inspections of ingredients prior to use, and, finally, thorough inspections of final product before it is sold to the public.

    7. Recalls – The FDA must be empowered to order mandatory recalls. The system of “voluntary recalls” is another example of the inmates running the prison.

    8. “By-Products” etc. – All ingredients that are deemed “unfit for human consumption” must be so-labeled.

    Precious lives were lost due to an obvious lack of pet food safety measures, and now, the PFI is OPPOSING making the necessary changes that will save precious lives!
    That is unacceptable. We will not tolerate this.

    If you want us to remain loyal customers of yours, we kindly ask that you show your commitment to our Pets’ Safety, by telling the PFI to stop opposing new changes that will make pet food safer.

    Thank you.

    Sincerely,

    (Name)

    (City, State, email, etc)

  11. Matt says:

    This makes it very easy to contact the pet food makers:

    www.defendourpets.org/pfimembers.html

    Spread the word!

    Thank You..

  12. purplecircle4pets.com says:

    I was wondering what was happening to the great daily updates in the pet world, and hope that all is well now with Itchmo. Thanks again to Itchmo for a job well done.. Matt, you have great intention about how we can protect our pets, however, this is not even being done for human food consumption. That is my concern since day one. Being affected by the pet food recall, it woke me up to the fact that we the people are not being protected either. In Canada Genetically modified food is not labelled, and now in the States cloned beef will not be labelled. With respct to proper labelling there is none. So what I have chosen to do as a consumer is not to consume these products unless I now exactly what is in them. I have also switched to human food for my kitty as well. Actions speak louder than words, and it appears to me nothing has changed except the fact that they were caught! We have the power as consumers, we just need to apply it. The cherry on the cake for me was that one of the foods that I was giving my cat actually had the Canadian Veterinarian Stamp of Approval on it. This was one of the foods that was on the recall list. . Did I ever feel let down. Menu foods could not pay me to feed their food to any of my animals. Since this has happened now on two occassions, I hope that no one will have to go thru it again. The best way to make a huge impact is to hit them where it hurts, which is their pocket book. Investigate other ways to feed your animals.
    Cheryl

  13. Denise says:

    wow I was really worried Itchmo was not comming back, I think our human food is a better quality than most comerical dog food. I am using amish chicken, no growth hormones, and antibotics, Laura’s ground beef which also is antibotic free and no growth hormones, and wild caught salmon not from china for my dog. she also Eats Eagle Pack Hollistic canned chicken. all we can do is I think stay away from the grocery store that sells dog and cat food from the big companies and find a small company and call and ask questions about what it in the food and where they buy from. I have known for a while not the ingredients, meal, gluttens and the other stuff in Iams and Menu foods was not good for our dogs and cats, wheat these are fillers. I only tired to educate myself after losing a dog and cat in 2004. I still see people buy Menu foods and then ask myself why. take care everyone and good to see all of you back. matt and cheryl, I totally agree with both of you. Denise

  14. Stefani says:

    Re:

    “I believe I saw in the forum that Itchmo doesn’t have time to devote the time needed for this website and requested that donations be given to your local shelter instead of him (Itchmo).”

    How about letting others come on board and help? It seems a shame to just waste the audience and the branding that ITCHMO has successfully built.

    Then Emily and Ben could take a rest, and come back and benefit from their brand when they have more time, all the while making sure that this important public service remains out there.

    I know it’s hard to cede any control over something you have built with love, so maybe they could create some pretty strict guidelines for partners so they would still remain entirely in the drivers seat. But . . . it is really shame to think of it fizzling.

  15. Don Earl says:

    Matt,

    As much as I approve the sentiment, your own words deny the possible effectiveness of what you suggest. As you correctly note, the pet food companies don’t care. You may as well write a letter to the local Mafia boss to complain about Guido burning down your warehouses.

    If people want change, they better figure on making the changes through real action they take themselves. Talking about the problem is a good first step, but that’s as far as most people go.

    If you find yourself saying, “This thing is bad. Someone should do something.”, you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. Meaning no discourtesy on a personal level, it’s a lazy man’s cop out.

    Have you actually sent this letter you wrote to anyone? What was the response? Did it produce any meaningful changes? If not, what do you plan to do next?

    Have you done any credible research to support your position? Research you may present to media sources and others to show you know the issues? What legal actions have you taken? Are you still buying commercial pet food and putting money in the pockets of those killing our pets, or are you making your own? What experts are you working with to help identify the source of the problem? What groups have you started or joined in an effort to combine forces and present a united front? What grassroots legislation do you support in areas where the initiative process is available? What information have you published online to make it available to other concerned pet owners? The list of questions goes on…..

    Many of us are doing some or all of these things, and I’m not saying you’re not one of them. I will say, however, that the “someone should do something” crowd out number the “doing something” crowd by hundreds to one.

    So, for starters, if your pet is hungry, and you think “someone should do something” to make safe pet food, that is certainly within the power of any pet owner to do themselves. At least at that point you can start your letter with:

    “Because pet food companies do not do the following, I have stopped using commercial pet food. Until the following changes have been made, and pet food companies can demonstrate they care as much about the safety of my pets as I do, I will not use your products.”

    The old saying is, “Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.”. Try out the flip side and, “Don’t feed the mouth that bites you.”.

  16. Margaret says:

    Denise- Caught my attention that you use “Amish Chicken”
    Are you aware that most of the PA Puppy Mills are owned/run by the Amish?

  17. Margaret says:

    Denise- Caught my attention that you are feeding “Amish Chicken”
    Are you aware that most of the PA Puppy Mills are owned/run by the Amish?
    If you have ever seen a segment on TV about them (Puppy Mills) or researched them you will never support them in any way.

    Can’t imagine the conditions the chickens are raised in that the Amish are producing and selling!

  18. Denise says:

    Margaret, Now I did not know about the amish owning the puppy mills. OMG, now what kind of chicken can I get with no hormones or antibotics, I sure will be looking though. I just hate that stuff, but I mean I will not buy a cat/dog from them or a pet store, but I get the point why support them I only did because of the no hormones or anitobotics are used. I will look further. thank you so much.

  19. Margaret says:

    Here’s a spot with some good info i.e. facts about the PA Puppy Mills.
    I find some of the other sites available too horrific/ intense to view.
    This is recent information as it was on the Oprah show yesterday.

    http://www.noanimalleftbehind.blogspot.com/

  20. Squeezit says:

    Denise:

    this website has the locations of every single free range chicken/grassfed beef farm/ranch in the US, searchable by state:

    http://www.eatwild.com/products/index.html

  21. Lesley says:

    I’m hoping to start up a pet blog that will cover dog and cat news but also news and stories related to more exotic pets, so perhaps the spirit of itchmo can live on in some way through the inspiration it’s given me to try this out!

    I can let you guys know when I get it up and running. I can’t promise it will be the same (how could it? with such a big community built up here that takes so much love and care, and TIME to build!) but hopefully it will provide some great information to create healthier, happier pets in the long run.

    We’ll see, I suppose!

  22. Cathy says:

    Denise, In case you don’t know, Eagle Pack canned IS made by Menu Foods.

  23. Don Earl says:

    Two items I don’t see mentioned in the settlement are refunds on 4 months worth of poisoned pet food, or any compensation whatsoever for the pets that were killed.

    About like wrecking someone’s car, then offering to pay the towing fees.

  24. FrannyMom says:

    We have started a new pet blog at the newspaper where I work, in Fort Lauderdale Florida. Here is the link: www.sun-sentinel.com/petblog.

    But I have to tell you, I get a lot of great information from Itchmo and would hate to see it go away. Our site could never be as complete as Itchmo has been.

  25. Duaneisadork says:

    I call bullhooey on the numbers given.

    I think pet owners spent way more than $53.8 million on this disaster to pay vet bills. The pet owners are STILL paying horrendous vet bills for the pets suffering kidney failure.

    Add in the cremation expenses, time off from work and what I, and my attorney, like to call “intentional infliction of emotional stress” and 53.8 won’t cover it.

    Fraud, criminal cover up (2004 Asia, they killed several hundred thousand with this same mix) and those oh so public , and provable, lies?
    Nah, $53.8 is not enough to make this go away.

    I have been running some numbers, I think the PFI members have lost more than twice that amount and that the increased advertising money they have gone all out on? Those numbers are going to make some jurors very unhappy with the MenuFoods, PFI, P&G, Iams and PurinaToxins, I hope.
    They will WANT to fry the FDA too but alas, can’t sue the fed, I figure that will add lots of money to the judgments against all the pet food companies.

  26. Don Earl says:

    RE: “Those numbers are going to make some jurors very unhappy”

    Surely you jest. Jury? There is no jury.

    There’s just a few thousand attorneys that filed suit after watching the evening news, have no clue what the suit is about, and have been in clandestine, good old boy, talks with the pet food companies for the past 6 months in dark places where cockroaches hide.

    The purpose of those talks? To figure out how to split up the insurance money, and how to get rid of the evidence that would knock down the pet food company house of cards.

    Available evidence indicates Menu Foods was spiking the pet food with cyanuric acid for the better part of a year before the melamine flour showed up. Melamine is banned in the US as a source of nonprotein nitrogen. This isn’t because melamine is poisonous, but because melamine is poisonous when mixed with the cyanuric acid that is used to illegally spike pet food. In addition to the other toxins in the pet food, anyone who fed the cyanuric acid style pet food, alternately with the melamine gravy style pet food, ended up with a dead pet.

    Since the class action attorneys wouldn’t know a melamine if one came up and bit them on the leg, they have no fuzzy clue what they’re doing. They haven’t tested any pet food, and probably aren’t bright enough to figure out what to look for even if they did. They’re too stupid even to prevent the smoking guns from being tossed in the dumpster.

    The last thing in the world these kind of attorneys want to do is go to trial.

    If they ignore the fraud, the insurance companies will pay up. The pet food companies don’t pay a dime out of their own pockets. The pet owners that lost their pets get screwed. And, along with losing their pets, pet owners also get to pick up the tab on higher insurance rates.

  27. Duaneisadork says:

    Don , no, not class action foolishness, individual suits.

    Those will not be “settled” , not by the royal decree of poisoners and the class action lawyers.

    Some of those who are going to be named as defendants or forced to testify are going to surprise.

    Oh, there will be juries, outraged, incensed and weeping juries.

  28. Duaneisadork says:

    In the meantime , here are the links and info, gently lifted from the forums, on how to make comments on just how thrilled you are with how the FDA handled (cough, cough, lied their butts off and protected the PFI ) the pet food recall. This info needs to be on the front page.

    Odd, don’t you think, that so many pet sites are NOT making it a priority to post this info?

    Don’t forget the “stealth recalls” , the ” 16 deaths”, the lying media events and every time the FDA made your blood pressure spike.

    Thank you MariManu for the step by step directions!
    Link to her post here
    http://itchmoforums.com/news-r.....5#msg56275
    and below is a copy and paste for non forum users.

    Okay it looks as if they FINALLY got the form on the site to work.

    GO TO:

    http://www.regulations.gov/search/index.jsp

    In the Comments box type in “pet food”

    This page will come up:

    http://www.regulations.gov/sea.....920417CA26

    Type in the docket number: 2007N-0487

    Another page will come up

    Click on: “Send a Comment or Submission”.
    You can type your comments in here. You might want to get them ready in advance and either just send as an attachment, or copy and paste the info.

    You will also want to sign up for the “Notification” part so you can keep updated on the submissions of the Pet Food Institute and other corporate multinationals who have taken the position that it’s fine to continue to let the industry regulate itself.

    Meeting Being Planned to Obtain Public Input for Ensuring the Safety of Pet Food

  29. Don Earl says:

    RE: “not class action foolishness, individual suits”

    Mine is the only individual suit I’m aware of.

    Maltzman Foreman out of Florida has a pet suit pending that isn’t based on the lemming herd of recall suits. The attorney leading that one is in a class by herself as far as doing solid research and being well armed with facts. That one has promise of producing changes in how pet food companies do business. Will it go to trial? Hard saying, but that isn’t usually the way big lawsuits are handled.

    If individual actions spring up, they’ll be the result class members rejecting whatever settlement comes out of the secret talks going on in New Jersey. I won’t hold my breath waiting for that to happen, but it’s possible. It’s expensive to go that route and it’s hard to find an attorney with enough guts to take on those kind of cases. While attorneys will line up around the block to defend a child molesting, serial killer, ax murdering terrorist, they’re dreadfully timid about taking on a case for plaintiffs that don’t have anything going for them beyond being in the right.

  30. jaimesmith says:

    Denise-

    You should NEVER support anything the AMish do and you especially shouldn’t be feeding your dog their food. They are the biggest purveyors of puppy mills in the entire country. The Amish treat dogs as $$ and that’s it. The see all animals as livestock with a purpose and show no compassion for them.

  31. Hazel Chambers says:

    Denise

    the comments on the Amish are sadly correct…they see dogs and cats as nothing but a cash crop.

  32. Duaneisadork says:

    Working on my statement .

    A PET OWNERS PUBLIC COMMENT ON THE FDA

    My pets died, that makes me a member of the most important stakeholder group in the matter of the pet food disasters.

    The thousands of pet owners, who have thousands of dead and sickened
    pets.We are the majority stakeholders.
    WE are the first, most important stakeholders and the FDA should not forget that.
    Because we won’t.

    The FDA either failed to detect toxins and poisons that have been pouring into this country, for years, and the American citizens who have dead and sick pets alerted the FDA to the problem at considerable sacrifice and expense.

    OR

    The FDA knew about the poisons and was covering up for the poison merchants.

    Simple as that. One or the other.

    Dead animals and amateurs detected a problem that the FDA totally missed, or the FDA is corrupt to a criminal extent.

    The FDA has repeatedly refused to provide answers and documents to
    U.S. Senators and Congress , knowingly issued press releases containing information the FDA knew to be false and assisted the pet food companies in concealing information and destroying evidence.
    The FDA has been openly hostile and unhelpful to pet owners who begged for help from the FDA.

    Pet food cannot be made safer by a corrupt FDA.
    Pet food cannot be made safer by an incompetent FDA.
    There is not going to be safer food for pets while the FDA continues to be allowed to operate like a publicly funded branch of the pet food industry the FDA is supposed to regulate.

    In my opinion, the FDA is a rogue agency, unable and unwilling to enforce
    even minimum standards for pet food.
    In my opinion, the FDA policy of winking at and tolerating conflict of interest makes the FDA more dangerous to the American public, and their pets, than any poison.

    Ends.

    Maybe throw in the “16″ dead lie and stealth recalls?

  33. Duaneisadork says:

    All those “pet” websites who are just not bothering, much like the FDA, to let people know about the FDA “stakeholder” comments on pet food safety. makes you wonder, well, makes me wonder, if any of THOSE websites really care about pet food safety?

    NO LINKS, NO MENTION, NOT A WORD. How “strange and mysterious”!

    Only 17 comments on pet food safety?

    The PFI shoots and assisted by the FDA -THEY SCORE!

    PFI- 250 thousand dead
    Pet owners- 17 comments.

    You do the math .

  34. catbird says:

    Some people have tried to post comments and found that they aren’t showing up after they try to post them. Probably deliberate on the part of the FDA IMO.

  35. Carol says:

    I read that the comments are not public unless email is sent to make them public-(on the forums)– my comment I sent last week does not show and I know of one other poster who sent in hers and it’s not showing—I really think (and hope) there are more than 17–

    http://itchmoforums.com/news-r.....8#msg57098

  36. Duaneisadork says:

    Post your letters here then or other places on the internet and state that the FDA is not posting them deliberately. Make a video for youtube, nice because pictures of the dead can be included.
    Write letters to your local newspapers, local politicians are all vulnerable to charges that they are not doing their jobs if they are not assisting you in this matter.
    The Senate and Congress that can’t get answers from the FDA might also find a use for copies of the letters the FDA is not posting.
    The vets who were so useless and so silent, well, tell them to earn their blood money and get to writing.

    A lot of the “safer food” or “organic” web sites might help or be interested.
    This is NOT just a pet food issue and has not been since FDA failures put hot melamine on America’s dinner plate.
    Maybe Mike Bruin could give a section on his site for letters that the FDA is not posting.
    Be creative.

  37. Lesliek says:

    Just checking to see if the comments would update while the forums are down.

  38. Kaffe says:

    Hmmm… the forum is still down for me

  39. Kaffe says:

    are we being sabotaged?

  40. EricV2 says:

    The forums keep going down. It started about the same time the “Fancy Feast from Hell” thread started. Any chance we have a pro-Purina hacker out there?

  41. Lesliek says:

    Thats what I keep wondering. It only seems to happen when there is a thread about problems with a big name food.Is anyone still able to get on ? I know at least 4 people were able to yesterday.

  42. Arlo says:

    I was on briefly yesterday and posted one message. I watched the user numbers go down until it was something like 6 users. Then later I couldn’t get on. The Wellness thread had gotten active, too. Very strange…

  43. Fizzy1 says:

    I think some of the members were notified the last time the forums were down. Have any of you received an email this time around?

  44. Carol says:

    I have been able to get on only sporadically today–no rhyme nor reason–I was the only one on yesterday for about an hour–me and 1-2 guests–yet I knew others tried to get on but couldn’t while I was on–I’m in RI if that makes any difference! Strange….

  45. catbird says:

    Many of the regular users are now able to get back on the forum, but some still can’t. Right now the stats say that 81 people, members and guests, have been online today. A post was recently put up over there speculating that it may take up to 48 hours for some to get back on, due to the need for changes to propagate through the whole Internet. Doesn’t explain the intermittent on and off for some people, though.

    We miss you all!

    Some members have been in touch with the Itchmos by email; we notified them about things going down. That is why we are getting some email notices; they emailed us back. Have heard nothing today from the Itchmos–last message was last night saying forums would be back up shortly.

  46. Fizzy1 says:

    Thanks Catbird! It’s good to hear you were able to get on, but I still can’t. Let us in! I keep checking but no go.

  47. Katie says:

    Catbird, thanks for the information. I still can’t get on the forums. I’ll keep checking.

    Katie

  48. Fizzy1 says:

    Still getting “Can’t find website” message.

  49. julia says:

    I haven’t been able to get on the forums either :-(

  50. Arlo says:

    It’s ALLLLIIIIVVVEEE!

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