Monday, June 23, 2008

Class Action Lawsuit Against Pet Food Manufacturers

This came across one of my email lists today and I felt it worthy of sharing with you.
I am very curious to see what the outcome of this lawsuit is. I definitely fall on the side of the plaintiff and hope that this has some impact on the pet food industry or at least on the public perception of it.

This is the press release:

Nationwide Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against Pet Food Companies and
Retailers For Misleading Consumers Regarding the Contents of Pet

"Premium" Pet Food Marketed and Sold as "Complete and Balanced" Has
Historically Contained Such Items as Euthanized Dogs and Cats,
Restaurant Grease, Hair, Hooves, and Diseased Animals, and Other
Inedible Garbage

[MIAMI, FLORIDA] A cat and dog owner from Michigan and two cat and
dog owners from Florida have filed a nationwide class action against
food industry giants Mars, Inc., Proctor and Gamble Co., Colgate
Palmolive Company, Del Monte Foods, Co., and Nestle U.S.A. Inc.
These manufacturers have a combined approximate 70% of the market
share in the $16 billion dollar a year pet food industry. The suit
also names as Defendants Nutro Products, Inc., Menu Foods, Wal-Mart
Stores, Inc. Target Corp., Publix Supermarkets, Inc., Winn Dixie
Stores, Inc., as manufacturers and marketers of their own brand pet
food and retailers PETCO Animal Supplies, Inc., Pet Supermarket,
Inc., and Petsmart Inc.

The Plaintiffs maintain that these companies have spent $300 million
a year in making false and misleading marketing statements regarding
the contents of their pet food to the dog and cat loving American
public. While these Defendants tout their pet food products as
choice cuts of prime beef, chunks of chicken, fish, fresh wholesome
vegetables and whole grains to induce consumers to buy them, the
Plaintiffs contend the food is actually made from "inedible"
slaughterhouse waste products of the human food chain such as
spines, heads, tails, hooves, hair, and blood. Rendering companies
who process this waste have also added other inedible "waste" such
as euthanized cats and dogs from veterinarian offices and animal
shelters, road kill, zoo animals, rancid restaurant grease, toxic
chemicals and additives. Additionally, dead animals and those
declared unfit for human consumption due to disease and illness are
also placed in the mix.

The lawsuit was filed in United States District Court for the
Southern District of Florida by attorney Catherine J. MacIvor of the
23 attorney Miami litigation law firm of Maltzman Foreman, PA. The
case is pending before the Honorable Cecilia Altonaga. Class
Counsel, Catherine J. MacIvor says that "The melamine debacle is not
the only serious problem with pet food. The number and frequency of
lethal pet food recalls in the last few years clearly shows the
seriousness and extent of this problem."

The lawsuit alleges that pet food companies market their products as
wholesome, choice cuts of meat, natural and complete and balanced
diets even though they are fully aware that this food is largely
carbohydrates and sugars combined with toxic preservatives and
additives with very little to no meat at all. The lawsuit seeks
damages to consumers for the false representations made in the
Defendants' advertising as well as punitive damages.

"Sadly," MacIvor said, "the Defendant pet food companies and
retailers recognized that American pet owners love their cats and
dogs like members of their family. The Defendants deceptive
advertising specifically marketed premium healthy food to the
American public knowing that they want to buy the best food that
they can for their loved one and knowing that the food consists
largely of garbage, chemicals, additives, diseased meat and even
residual pentobarbital from euthanized animals."

The 58 page lawsuit outlines in grotesque detail the actual manner
in which most commercial pet food in the United States is made. The
lawsuit also attaches and cites numerous news stories and research
articles outlining the real content of the Defendant's pet foods and
the misleading and deceptive advertising undertaken by the

The Defendants targeted in the Complaint produce pet foods under a
wide array of brands and names including: Pedigree(R), Sheba(R),
Goodlife Recipe(R), Royal Canine, Iams(R), Eukanuba(R), Science Diet(R),
Prescription Diet(R), 9 Lives(R), Amore(R), Gravy Train(R), Kibbles-n-Bits(R)
and Nature's Recipe(R), Snausages(R), Milk Bone(R), Pup-Peroni(R), Meaty
Bone(R), Canine's Carry Outs(R), Jerky Treats(R), Wagwells(R), Alpo(R),
Beneful(R), Beggin' Strips(R), Dog, Cat, Puppy and Kitten Chow(R), Fancy
Feast(R), Friskies(R), Mighty Dog(R), Deli-Cat(R), Pro Plan(R), Purina One(R),
Natural Choice(R) Dog and Cat Products, Max(R) Dog Products, Max(R) Cat
Gourmet Classics, Natural Choice(R) Complete Care(R) for cats, UltraTM
Products for dogs, Americas Choice Preferred Pets, Authority, Award,
Best Choice, Big Bet, Big Red, Cadillac, Companion, Compliments,
Demoulus Market Basket, Eukanuba, Fine Feline Cat, Food Lion, Food
Town, Giant Companion, Hannaford, Hill Country Fare, Hy-Vee, Iams,
J.E. Mondou, Laura Lynn, Li'l Red, Loving Meals, Medi-Cal, Meijer's
Main Choice, Mighty Dog Pouch, Mixables, Natural Life, Nutriplan,
Nutro Max, Nutro Max Gourmet Classics, Nutro Natural Choice, Ol'
Roy, Paws, Pet Essentials, Pet Pride, President's Choice, Price
Chopper, Priority US, Publix, Roche Brothers, Save-a-Lot Special
Blend, Schnucks, Science Diet Feline Savory Cuts Cans, Sophistacat,
Special Kitty, Springfield Prize, Sprout, Stop and Shop Companion,
Tops Companion, Wegmans, Weis Total Pet, Western family US, White
Rose, Winn Dixie, Your Pet, LIFELongTM, Ol' Roy and Special Kitty
brands of pet food.

The lawsuit alleges, among other claims, that the pet food companies
have fraudulently and/or negligently misrepresented and concealed
what is actually in their pet foods, violated Deceptive and Unfair
Trade Practices, and Failed to Warn the public of the health risks
to animals associated with a diet consisting of their commercial pet
foods. Through the lawsuit, the Plaintiff's hope to recover
financial damages for all pet owners who have been similarly
deceived. "Ultimately we are hopeful that our lawsuit will force the
Defendants to more accurately describe what is in their pet foods
and to offer more healthful pet food options that provide pets with
food quality similar to that provided in human food products."

A copy of the Complaint and supporting research materials is
available at


Beaslie said...

Hi, I am Susan Peters, I am a named plaintiff in this case and I would like to point out that this case has been expanded to include many more pet food products and producers since the press release you have mentioned here. One such inclusion is now Nutra Pet Foods.

Cathy MacIvor, attorny for this case, has a copy of the case filed against these companies posted on her web site at

Susan Peters (AskSusanPeters)

Lindsey said...

Thank you for the updated information Susan. Good luck with the law suit, it will be great to see these companies taken to task for their actions.

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