The recall of the popular Acana dog food was due to a national recall that occurred due to possible toxic contamination of one of its major ingredients, the preservative, sodium metabisulfite. The dog food is usually sold under both the Acana and Orijen names in the U.S. The recent champion petfoods poisoning class action lawsuit claims that the manufacturer of this dog food was negligent in notifying consumers of the presence of sodium metabisulfate in their dog’s food, and failed to promptly remove the contaminated food from the market.
If you are interested in filing a pet food lawsuit, it is important that you understand the elements of such a lawsuit. Failure to act promptly and/or knowledge of the presence of prohibited ingredients will often lead to severe legal consequences for manufacturers and distributors of dog foods.
Acai Dog Food Lawsuit
According to the pet food industry groups who filed the class action lawsuit, the preservative, sodium metabisulfate, was listed on the ingredients of the dog food as an “essential ingredient” and was known to be harmful to animals and humans alike. Among the claims in this class action lawsuit, the plaintiffs contend that the defendant failed to promptly remove contaminated food from the market, and allowed tainted product to be sold in stores, increasing the harm and suffering caused by the preservative to dogs and other animals. Other claims include wrongful death, negligence, invasion of privacy, animal cruelty, and failure to warn and defend against these dangers.
The accusations in this case mirror many similar cases, including the Carcinogenic virus contaminated peanut butter and eggs, which led to the death of millions of chickens in my state and the subsequent bankruptcy of several egg and peanut butter companies.
These are just two examples of the dangerous ingredients often found in pet foods. These lawsuits also touch on the issue of the lack of regulation of the food industry, another fact that breeds disaster. According to the FDA, the only way to ensure the safety of the dog food containing heavy metals or other dangerous chemicals is to require a label stating the presence of such ingredients. This is actually not necessary, because the courts have ruled that some preservatives, such as formaldehyde, are naturally occurring in food and are not subject to mandatory labeling requirements.
This class action lawsuit is being funded by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA.
In a recent interview on the Voice of the People radio show, Dr. Mercola stated that “there has been a steady increase in reports of chronic health problems, such as cancer, that are blamed on preservatives and toxins in our commercial pet foods.
The ingredient most often mentioned in these accounts is sodium methylsulfate.” (pg. 7) He went on to add that these traces of chemicals are particularly dangerous to young children, as they can easily accumulate in their bodies and cause health problems over time.
The lawsuit itself is based on several different legal theories.
Plaintiffs argue that because the preservatives are not required by law they are not harmful, and that the FDA has no business regulating the content of these ingredients. Plaintiffs additionally claim that since the FDA has failed to enact protective regulations on the use of additives and other chemicals it is legally bound not to protect consumers from these harmful substances.
Plaintiffs further argue that because the quantities in which these chemicals are used in various products are too small to pose a risk to consumers, it is unfair for the FDA to regulate them. Lastly, plaintiffs contend that because the manufacturers have used these additives in such high concentrations that they should be held liable for any health problems caused by their products. Class action lawsuits are often very profitable, and producers of acai dog food are taking a financial hit with each class action lawsuit being filed against them.
There are some major differences between this lawsuit and the original lawsuit, which led to the creation of the original cat dog food.
First, it is now easier to find this dog food online. Most of the cases brought against the manufacturers have been thrown out because of this. Second, the original lawsuit sought to have the preservatives banned, which the manufacturers had already legally done.
The difference between the new lawsuit and the original was the complaint was filed in federal court, and the complaint was later dropped when the plaintiff signed a plea bargain. There are some differences in the amounts that are being paid out in settlements, however.