Dilated Cardiomopathy claims by vets being sued

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.)

See original article here.

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