Colgate-Palmolive’s Hill’s pet food unit has been hit with a proposed class-action accusing it of conspiring with vets to disparage smaller competitors that sell “non-traditional” dog food, hurting their sales
Startup brand KetoNatural filed the lawsuit, on Tuesday 6th February 2024 in Kansas federal court against Hill’s Pet Nutrition, which is one of the largest pet-food manufacturers in the United States, and a group of veterinarians. The lawsuit asserted violations of a federal law that prohibits false advertising.
Hill’s, according to the complaint, has conspired to make false statements linking “boutique, exotic and grain-free” diets to a greater risk of dogs developing Dilated Cardiomyopathy.
“Defendants’ false claims about the dangers of pet food from smaller manufacturers has scared billions of dollars of business away from smaller manufacturers and into Hill’s coffers,” the lawsuit said.
Colgate-Palmolive did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.
An attorney for the plaintiffs, Thomas Burt, declined to comment about the lawsuit.
KetoNatural is seeking class-action status for at least several hundred companies with combined annual revenues of more than $10 billion.
The company said in the lawsuit that it had “cultivated reams of evidence” from customers who said they stopped buying its dog food over concerns about a purported linkage to the canine heart disease dilated cardiomyopathy.
The lawsuit asserted the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as part of the alleged scheme was “induced” in 2018 to investigate a “potential link between certain diets” and dilated cardiomyopathy.
KetoNatural said the “investigation never actually turned up any link between the disease and the targeted products.”
Hill’s separately faces a consumer class-action in U.S. federal court in Chicago that alleges deceptive practices over its pet food marketing and sales. Hill’s has denied the claims.
The main complaints stem from the claims made by vet Dr Lisa Freeman from Tufts University who coined the term ’boutique diets’ as explained in this video. She released a number of papers that led to the misconception that dog food diets containing peas and lentils could be implicated in the cause of dilated cardiomyopathy where the FDA found no link at all, but the damage had been done from all the publicity.
Dr Freeman was employed by Hills and other corporate companies at the time as shown by this published paper. (Dr Freeman has received funding from, given sponsored lectures for, or provided professional services to Aratana Therapeutics, Elanco, Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Nestlé Purina PetCare, P&G Petcare (now Mars), and Royal Canin.)
Pet Foods not the only ones affected
Published in February 2024: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10584-024-03690-w
This article details how the animal agriculture industry have helped maintain the industry’s social licence to operate by generating industry-supported research, professorships and university research centres, which support public relations and policy advocacy. They are spending many millions of dollars to do this. It’s a scandalous corruption of the scientific process.
An enormously positive article about the use of plant-based proteins in pet food written by PhD Veterinary Scientist Jelena Suran in February 2024
Let’s look at the ingredients in Purina HA tins with hydrolysed soya and pure sugars
Vegan dog food in the UK has a fascinating history and such an exciting future!
“Being named one of the Top 200 Ethical Companies with a rating of 98 out of 100 is a reflection of the heart and soul we pour into being ethical in our choices every day”
As each country prepares to reach their zero carbon emissions agreement, we have meat-based pet food manufacturers panicking as Category 3 animal fat is also very valuable to the renewable diesel market
Edgard & Cooper partners with Deliciously Ella for plant-based food launch
Dr Jo works for an independent vet practice in Devon and she asked some very valid questions during a lunch and learn about plant-based dog nutrition at her practice. Her main focus in practice is around treating dogs with atopic skin conditions due to sensitivities,...
In becoming a B Corp, THE PACK is the first fully plant-based pet food startup in Europe to join the B Corp movement
The UK’s first true naturally hypoallergenic diet that is also extremely palatable
Cats suffering from chronic renal disease were shown to have high levels of Arsenic from eating fish
There is reason to remain optimistic that in five to 10 years’ time, most dog owners will not think twice about regularly feeding plant-based products whether that is in the form of complete meals, treats or dental chews
Prof Rob Foale is a Small Animal Medicine Specialist and in October 2023, he produced a very balanced and interesting webinar on raw feeding of our pets