When “WellPet” and “Wellness” are used as brand names for pet food, pet owners tend to expect healthy results. Unfortunately, this complaint contends that two of the company’s products—Wellness® CORE® Adult Dry Ocean Whitefish, Herring Meal and Salmon Meal and Wellness® Complete Health Adult Dry Whitefish and Sweet Potato—are contaminated with lead and arsenic.
The class for this action includes all US citizens who, from July 1, 2013 to July 19, 2017, bought the contaminated dog food for household or business use and not for resale. The California subclass includes all persons from the above group in California.
In addition to the Wellness brand name, WellPet markets its dog food as being healthy and safe. The contaminated product packages are labeled with the promise of “Uncompromising Nutrition” and “Unrivaled Quality Standards.” Other markings advertise that the food as “Supporting your dog’s optimal health to the core…with nothing in excess and everything in balance” and other similar claims. Unfortunately, according to the complaint, these claims are misleading because the products contain significant levels of arsenic and lead.
Arsenic is a known human carcinogen which can also contribute to heart disease, diabetes, and declines in intellectual function. Both the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have set allowable limits of arsenic as 10 ppb (parts per billion), in drinking water and apple juice respectively. The FDA is considering limiting the action level for arsenic in rice to 100 ppb.
Lead is another carcinogen and developmental toxin that builds up in the body and causes problems over time, such as lead poisoning, cancer, development disorders, reproductive problems, and injuries to the nervous system and organs. FDA standards set the maximum allowable amount of lead in bottled water at 5 ppb.
However, when the Wellness products named above were subjected to independent testing, the complaint alleges, Wellness CORE Adult Dry Ocean Whitefish, Herring Meal and Salmon Meal was found to contain 1,500 ppb of arsenic and 221 ppb of lead, and Wellness Complete Health Adult Dry Whitefish and Sweet Potato was found to contain 1,200 ppb of arsenic and 220 ppb of lead.
In addition, the complaint says that the company should have been aware that consumers of their dog foods would be feeding them to their pets multiple times each day, creating repeated exposure to these poisonous substances. The complaint thus says that, in advertising its dog food as healthy, the company has violated California and federal laws.