“Made in the USA” lawsuit against WellPet dismissed
A class action lawsuit against WellPet was dismissed by a federal judge in Chicago, Illinois, USA.
From Petfood Industry:
A class action lawsuit against WellPet was dismissed by a federal judge in Chicago, Illinois, USA, reported the Cook County Record. The lawsuit alleged that WellPet marketed its dog food as “Made in the USA,” although some of the vitamins and minerals came from other countries, thereby misleading consumers.
On April 21, the judge issued the order dismissing the class action lawsuit against the pet food company. In August 2016, Dale Sabo had filed the legal action, claiming that WellPet had violated the Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act, the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act and similar laws in California, Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York and Washington.
Arguments in the Made in the USA pet food lawsuit
Sabo argued that WellPet’s ingredients included vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, but the chemical hadn’t been produced commercially in the US since 2009. Thus, the ascorbic acid must have come from abroad.
The Federal Trade Commission mandates that for a company to claim a pet food is made in the USA it must contain “all or virtually all” ingredients that originated in the country. Therefore, Sabo reasoned, the WellPet dog food he purchased couldn’t be marketed as made in the USA because the vitamin C was from another country.
However, since ascorbic acid is no longer manufactured in the US, the Federal Trade Commission may have allowed the WellPet pet food to be labeled as made in the USA, argued WellPet’s lawyers.
Ultimately, this reasoning wasn’t the judge’s reason for dismissing the case. Instead, she stated that Sabo hadn’t proven that he paid significantly more for the WellPet products than he would have if they weren’t labeled as made in the USA. Nor did he state that he wouldn’t have purchased them had Sabo known the vitamin C was from abroad.
The judge ruled that since Sabo had failed to “plead and prove actual damages,” his claim of damages was unsupported.
A federal judge agreed pet food maker Wellpet doesn't have to be subjected to a lawsuit accusing it of misleading the public in claiming its ingredients were 'Made in the USA,' even though some vitamins and minerals came from overseas.