Dog owners across the state of California are celebrating an important win against leading dog food manufacturer, Nutro, a subsidiary of the MARS Corporation, most famous for their chocolate and candies. In a class action lawsuit at San Diego County’s Superior Court, attorneys from The Del Mar Group, LLP took on pet food giant, Nutro, and won.
In a nutshell, California plaintiffs claimed that Nutro mislabeled their packaging, specifically the “Guaranteed Analysis,” by stating that the foods and treats contained a source of live microbial spores (probiotics), Bacillus species, an ingredient that many health-conscious dog owners were willing to pay extra for. When, in fact, the Defendants’ Nutro brand dog food products were incapable of forming live Bacillus species once ingested.
From the Delmar Law Group website:
NUTRO DOG FOOD LITIGATION – CLASS ACTION CASE SETTLED IN SAN DIEGO SUPERIOR COURT
On September 11, 2012, the Del Mar Law Group, LLP (led by class action lawyers John Donboli and Sean Slattery) obtained a Final Approval Order and Judgment against The Nutro Company in San Diego Superior Court. The case alleged that Nutro misled consumers by claiming that its dog food products contained live Bacillus microbials. In fact, the dog food products at issue were sold with a “Guaranteed Analysis” label pertaining to the health-promoting, Bacillus microbials in the dog food products. A copy of the Complaint can be found here.
The MARS Corporation, manufacturers of the Nutro line of pet foods and treats, is the 5th largest privately owned corporation in the United States, with estimated sales in the range of $30 billion each year.
According to the complaint, “When Plaintiff, and Class Members, purchased dog food products from Defendants, they saw and relied upon the information set forth in the “Guaranteed Analysis” to make their purchasing decision, which is typical of most California consumers, and they were deceived as a result of Defendants’ actions. Plaintiff believed at the time she purchased the Ultra dog biscuits that the dog biscuits were capable of forming the millions of CFU of Bacillus as represented.”
And, “Plaintiff suffered an “injury in fact” because Plaintiff’s money was taken by Defendants as a result of Defendants’ false claims set forth on the offending product through Defendants’ normal retail channel(s) and because she purchased a product she genuinely believed was capable of forming millions of CFU of Bacillus. Essentially, the dog food products are not worth the purchase price paid. The precise amount of damages will be proven at time of trial.”
No information was given on how it was determined that the Nutro dog treat did not contain the probiotic stated on the label, or the final amount awarded to the Plaintiff and Class Members.
Isn’t it about time that dog food companies start being truthful, honest, and transparent about their products?