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Diamond Pet Foods is paying a $3.1 million settlement to pet owners because they produced contaminated pet food that killed dozens of dogs. The contaminated pet food, which was made at the company’s South Carolina plant, contained a mold called aflatoxin. The company is planning to reimburse pet owners for the loss of their dogs, their veterinarian bills, and the cost of unreturned contaminated food.

Diamond Pet Foods, based in Meta, Mo., acknowledged that workers at its Gaston, S.C., plant failed to follow internal testing procedures to ensure its products were safe. The company made the acknowledgment after the Food and Drug Administration released a report showing the company has no record of test results for 12 shipments of corn in 2005, when grain tainted with the deadly fungus slipped into the plant.

The contaminated pet food was recalled when a veterinarian in New York linked a dog’s death to the company’s dog food. Around 350,000 bags of the dog food was recalled. Diamond is claiming it did nothing illegal and recalled the product as soon as it found out about the problem. The company plans to cooperate with the claimants and feels the settlement shows how Diamond has continued to take care of its customers.

So far Diamond and its insurance company have settled around 1,200 claims. The settlement states that pet owners whose pet died from the contaminated pet food could recieve up to $1000. Owners could also be compensated up to $1,000 for testing and treatment for aflatoxin poisoning and for payment for up to two bags of pet food.

Aflatoxin, a naturally occurring chemical that comes from a fungus sometimes found on corn and in other crops, can cause severe liver damage.

For more information on this subject, please refer to our section on Defective and Dangerous Products.

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