This amended Champion lawsuit holds the company accountable for its many marketing claims including “Non-regional and non-fresh ingredients”.
A significant issue added to the amended complaint, filed in Illinois on 2/6/2019, states Champion Pet Food misrepresented its products by (bold added) “failing to fully disclose the presence and/or risk of inclusion in their pet food of …non-regional and non-fresh ingredients, and/or unnatural or other ingredients that do not conform to the labels, packaging, advertising, and statements throughout the United States.”
In a search on the Champion Pet Food website, these “regional” and “fresh” claims were found within minutes..
The amended lawsuit continues…
Defendants further warrant, promise, represent, advertise, and declare that the Contaminated Dog Foods are made with protein, oils, and fat sources that are “Deemed fit for human consumption” in direct contradiction to the true nature of the ingredients utilized, which include, but are not limited to, pentobarbital, BPA and/or unnatural ingredients.
It was recently revealed on information and belief that Defendants were knowingly, recklessly, and/or negligently selling certain of the Contaminated Dog Foods from the DogStar® Kitchens containing pentobarbital that was caused by cross-contamination that resulted from its supplier, MOPAC, an eastern Pennsylvania rendering facility belonging to JBS USA Holdings, Inc. (“JBS”), having accepted and processed euthanized horses in earlier production runs for other customers. This revelation renders any statement as to ingredients claimed to be “fit for human consumption” false.
Yet nowhere in the labeling, advertising, statements, and/or packaging do
Defendants disclose that the Contaminated Dog Foods (defined herein) contain and/or have a high risk of containing heavy metals, pentobarbital, toxins, BPA, non-regional and non-fresh ingredients, and/or unnatural or other ingredients that do not conform to the labels, packaging, advertising, and statements nor do they disclose that they do not adequately test their ingredients and final products for contaminants.
Defendants also mislead consumers by marketing that the Contaminated Dog Foods are made from Fresh and Regional ingredients that are delivered daily. Indeed, this misrepresentation is made numerous times and in numerous ways on the packaging. Defendants go as far as to include photos of local Kentucky or neighboring state suppliers on the packaging. In reality, Defendants source ingredients both internationally (e.g. New Zealand, India, France, Denmark, Ireland, Australia, Canada) and across the United States (Idaho, Ohio, Midwest, West Coast, Northeast). Additionally, Defendants utilized frozen products (some of which have been stored for years) and store the delivered meals at their Kitchens for several months prior to use.
Significant from the above quote (bold added): “Additionally Defendants (Champion Pet Food) utilized frozen products (some of which have been stored for years)…”
Plaintiffs would not have paid this money had they known that the Contaminated Dog Foods contained and/or had risk of inclusion of levels of the heavy metals, pentobarbital, ingredients cross-contaminated with euthanized horse meat, toxins, BPA, non-regional and non-fresh ingredients, and/or unnatural or other ingredients that do not conform to the labels, packaging, advertising, and statements.
Defendants warrant, claim, state, represent, advertise, label, and market their Contaminated Dog Foods as:
(a) “Biologically Appropriate™”;
(b) “Fresh Regional Ingredients” and “Delivered daily”;
(c) “Never Outsourced”;
(d) “Nourish[ing] as Nature Intended”;
(e) “Delivering Nutrients Naturally”;
(f) “Made with Fresh and Natural Ingredients”;
(g) “Premium Meat and Fish Ingredients”; and
(h) “Ingredients deemed fit for human consumption.”
Defendants therefore had a duty to ensure that these statements were true. As such, Defendants knew or should have known that the Contaminated Dog Foods included the presence of heavy metals, pentobarbital, toxins, BPA, non-regional and non-fresh ingredients, and/or unnatural or other ingredients that do not conform to the labels, packaging, advertising, and statements.
Personal opinion: I could not agree more with this last quote; Champion Pet Food does have a duty to ensure all marketing claims are true.
Unfortunately, no pet food regulatory authority scrutinizes the accuracy of claims on pet food websites. ‘They’ are basically allowed to lie to pet owners time and time again. Perhaps lawsuits such as this one will begin to change that.
To read the full amended lawsuit, Click Here.
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