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Class actions claim consumer fraud against 2 dog food makers

In California and other states, deceptive labeling of food products often is a basis for a consumer class action claim of fraud. The same is true of pet foods that contain deceptive labeling. A dog owner in another state recently filed two separate but virtually identical class action lawsuits claiming consumer fraud violations against Nestle and Wellpet, two major national dog food manufacturers and marketers.

The complaints allege that the dry dog food for both companies is labeled as "made in the USA," but that those claims are deceptive and violative of state consumer fraud laws, including the laws of California and seven other states. The plaintiff accuses the defendants of mixing ingredients into the food that come from foreign countries. She alleges that, based on guidelines of the Federal Trade Commission, the labels stating made in the USA are deceptive.

She also alleges that the vitamin C in each product, along with vitamin and amino acid packs, are not American-made products. She asked the court in Illinois to include in the class residents of California and the seven other states where consumer protection laws have been violated. The complaint stresses the importance of all ingredients coming from the United States because, in recent years, there has been a plethora of pet food recalls based on adulterated or illicitly mixed chemicals and substances that are sourced from other countries.

The complaint states the class members are putting their dogs' health at risk and are not getting their money's worth in paying for food made in the United States that is loaded with products made in foreign countries. Some of the contaminants in recent recalls of dog and cat foods included salmonella, listeria, amantadine, toxic vitamin D and other poisonous substances. The complaint contains a count that lists violations by the defendants of the consumer fraud laws of California, and those of the seven other states. The complaint also alleges a violation of the Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act.

Source:, "Class actions say Purina, Wellpet brand 'made in USA' dog foods actually aren't", Scott Holland, Feb. 2, 2016

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