Big Heart Pet Brands, Inc. advertises its Nature’s Recipe dog and cat food as being “all natural.” But the complaint for this class action alleges that the pet food contains a number of synthetic substances, including sodium tripolyphosphate (STPP), synthetic vitamins and minerals, citric acid, and lactic acid.
The class for this action is all persons who bought the products in New York during the relevant statute of limitations period.
The term “natural” is not strictly defined, but federal agencies have issued guidelines. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) says that a natural product contains “no artificial ingredient or added color and is only minimally processed. Minimal processing means that the product was processing in a manner that does not fundamentally alter the product. The label must include a statement explaining the meaning of the term natural (such as ‘no artificial ingredients; minimally processed’).”
The USDA says that an ingredient is nonsynthetic if it is “derived from mineral, plant, or animal matter and does not undergo a synthetic process…”
It defines a synthetic ingredient as one “that is formulated or manufactured by a chemical process or by a process that chemically changes a substance extracted from naturally occurring plant, animal, or mineral sources, except that such term shall not apply to substances created by naturally occurring biological processes.”
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says that, for it, “natural” means that “nothing artificial or synthetic (including all color additives regardless of source) has been included in, or has been added to, a food that would not normally be expected to be in the food.”
The complaint says that STPP cannot be natural because it “is a suspected neurotoxin” (NIOSH Registry of Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances), “a registered pesticide” (EPA), and an air contaminant (California’s occupational Safety and Health Act). It argues that STPP is made by processes that are not minimal, and that it can produce vomiting in dogs or decrease iron content in bone, liver, and spleen, and also decrease bone calcium.
The complaint also claims that thiamine mononitrate, menadione sodium bisulfate, niacin, folic acid, and D-calcium pantothenate, and other vitamin substances in the pet food are all synthetically-made, as are certain minerals in the pet food, such as sodium selenite, copper sulfate, and calcium iodate.
In addition, the complaint says that citric acid and lactic acid are both considered synthetic.
The dog foods at issue include the following:
Puppy Dog Recipes:
Adult Dog Recipes:
Senior Dog Recipes:
Special Needs—Healthy Skin:
Special Needs—Easy to Digest:
Special Needs—Breed Specific:
Special Needs—Healthy Weight:
Special Needs—High Protein:
Special Needs—Joint Health:
The cat foods at issue include the following: