Andrews DeValerio Represents Pet Owners in Consumer Class Action Alleging Heavy Metals and BPA in Petfoods


Andrews DeValerio filed a proposed class action against the makers of Acana and Orijen brand petfoods alleging that its Acana and Orijen brands of pet food are tainted with mercury, lead and arsenic, despite their marketing of the foods as safe and pure.  The case is Slawsby v. Champion Petfoods USA Inc. et al., case number 1:18-cv-10701 and is pending in  the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts.   

The Complaint alleges that Champion Petfoods markets its pet foods as natural, fit for both human and pet consumption. It also alleges that the company claims that the foods are made from “fresh regional ingredients” consisting of fresh meat, poultry and vegetables when, in addition to the heavy metals, the foods contain the synthetic chemical Bisphenol A.

“Defendants have created a niche in the pet food market by claiming that they make ‘biologically ‘appropriate’ pet food — as close to what animals would eat in nature as possible — and producing it using fresh, natural ingredients,” the Complaint alleges. “They then charge a premium for this purportedly higher-quality food.”

The alleged mercury, lead, arsenic and BPA as well as cadmium in the company’s pet foods are all known to pose health risks to humans and animals.

“As a result of defendants’ misrepresentations and omissions, a reasonable consumer would have no reason to suspect the presence of heavy metals and/or BPA in the contaminated pet foods without conducting his or her own scientific tests, or reviewing third-party scientific testing of these products,” the Complaint said. “However, after reviewing third-party scientific testing, it is clear that the contaminated pet food does in fact contain unsafe levels of both heavy metals and/or BPA.”

Plaintiffs allege that nonprofit Clean Label Project found high levels of the heavy metals in pet foods and told the company about it.

“Defendants spoke with the Clean Label Project by phone regarding its findings and methodology, which showed that Orijen pet foods have high levels of heavy metals compared to other pet foods,” the Complaint said. “The Clean Label Project informed defendants that it compared Orijen pet foods to competitors’ products and gave them a one-star rating, meaning they contained higher levels of contaminants than other products on the market.”

Andrews DeValerio seeks to represent a class of Massachusetts residents who have bought the allegedly contaminated pet foods since April 2012.

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