A plaintiff in a Massachusetts federal putative class action case alleges that Champion Petfood’s Acana and Orijen brands of pet food are tainted with mercury, lead and arsenic and are harmful to pets. Plaintiff Lisa Slawsby alleges that her rescue dog recently became ill after using the pet foods, but recovered once she stopped feeding him Champion’s pet food. Slawsby relies on testing done by nonprofit Clean Label Project that found high levels of heavy metals in pet foods to support her claims (the testing results were shared with Champion).
Champion, however, is pushing back and asking the Massachusetts court to dismiss the claim. Champion urged the court to dismiss the claim, as Slawsby did not allege that Champion’s pet foods specifically contained lead, mercury, or arsenic, let alone at levels potentially harmful to pets. In addition, Champion argues that Slawsby’s reliance on a white paper written by Champion in 2017 that notes the presence of naturally occurring heavy metals in its pet food does not amount to a cause of action. Given that the company uses significant amounts of fresh and raw meat, fish, and vegetables, many of which contain naturally occurring heavy metals, and there is no indication that the levels are capable of causing harm, Champion says that Slawsby has no case.
Slawsby is also looking for an injunction barring the company from marketing the foods as healthy, natural and safe for consumption, as well as an order requiring Champion Petfoods to carry out a corrective marketing campaign.
CMBG3 Law LLC has represented clients in toxic torts matters for many years. We provide the most current legal advice to our clients by staying on top of developments in science, medicine, and regulations regarding a wide variety of substances and products used by consumers every day. If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact John Gardella (email him or 617-279-8200).