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Douglas Co. Jury Finds Purina Not Liable For Damages to Dairy Herd

A nine-day jury trial held in Ava during two weeks in May resulted in a finding in favor of Purina Feeds after dairy farmers alleged that they had received mold and toxins in a dairy ration.

The Douglas County jury also returned verdicts in favor of Purina against claims that the dairy farmers had suffered personal injuries from inhaling toxins contained in feed dust.

The plaintiffs alleged that they had purchased a dairy feed from Purina that contained aflotoxin, which caused harm to their dairy herd through feeding. The plaintiffs further alleged that they inhaled the toxin when working in and near the feed, causing them personal injury.

Purina countered that out of three tests run on the feed, only one showed aflotoxin. Further, the amount found, 3.1 parts per billion, was well below the governmental standard for dairy feed of 20 parts per billion. As to the human injury claims, Purina showed that the government allows aflotoxin at a rate of 15 parts per billion in everyday peanut butter.

Judge Craig Carter presided at the trial which contained testimony from veterinarians, physicians, toxicologists, and economists from California, Florida, Georgia, Missouri and Wisconsin. The jury returned the verdicts after less than two hours of deliberation.

The case was tried in Douglas County after a change of venue from Wright County.