By Karl Plume
CHICAGO – Two horse owners sued Archer Daniels Midland Co this week, accusing the grain processor and trader of distributing contaminated feed that sickened or killed several of their horses, according to court documents seen by Reuters.
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Northern Illinois on Tuesday, alleges that horse feed produced by ADM Alliance Nutrition Inc was contaminated with monensin, a feed additive that is poisonous to horses. Plaintiffs have sought class-action status for their suit.
ADM said it has been providing safe feed and feed ingredients for more than 100 years and the claims were without merit.
“Our processes comply with FDA guidelines, and we are confident that our feeds are safe,” ADM spokeswoman Jackie Anderson said in an emailed statement.
Plaintiffs Beth Berarov of Michigan and Annelisa Bindra of South Carolina said several of their horses died or suffered weakened heart muscles after consuming feed produced by ADM at facilities that also make other feed products containing monensin, an antibiotic used as a growth promoter for beef and dairy cattle, court documents show.
ADM’s equine feed marketing materials and packaging failed to disclose the risks of cross-contamination, they said.
The plaintiffs are seeking refunds for feed purchased and damages related to the loss of or injury to their horses. They are also asking the court to force ADM to change its manufacturing process or alter the warning label on packaging, and notify past customers of potential risks.