Guest Column: Lawsuit in the pet industry?

Published 2:54 pm Friday, November 16, 2018

By Michelle Nelson

Michelle Nelson is the owner of  The Pet Authority in Albert Lea.

Recently another lawsuit was filed in the pet industry, this time against Taste of the Wild. The lawsuits keep coming, from high-end Acana to low-end Rachel Rae, no one is exempt from a suit. If you are feeding one of these foods, should you be worried? Here are my thoughts, and then you can decide for yourself.

Michelle Nelson

Email newsletter signup

Here are the leading allegations from the most recent suit against Taste of the Wild: “Defendants’ marketing is deceptive, misleading, unfair and/or false because, among other things, the contaminated dog foods include undisclosed heavy metals, pesticides, acrylamide and/or bisphenol A.” The party filing the suit attached a copy of testing that was done on three different samples of Taste of the Wild dog food that showed levels of mercury, lead, cadmium, arsenic, BPA, pesticides and acrylamide. These tests have yet to be verified, nor was it cited whether the levels were within the minimum amounts allowed by law.

Did you hear what I just said? The minimum amounts allowed by law — yes, it is legal to have trace levels of these known cancer-causing toxins in our pets’ food. Maybe it surprises you, but guess what, they are in your food, too. This, unfortunately, is the reality of the environment we now live in. We have introduced into our entire food chain toxins that simply cannot be eliminated. Yes, organic can reduce a huge majority of the toxins, but never completely.

To me, this lawsuit could have been filed against just about any pet food company out on the market today with a few exceptions that I have mentioned below. For years I have been educating customers on how not to be fooled by fancy packaging on their pets food. Taste of the Wild markets their foods as, “The balanced diet nature intended.” As a consumer reading this, you automatically assume it is safe, healthy and what your pet should be eating. If Taste of the Wild were to state their food contains low levels of arsenic and lead, would you be buying it? Absolutely not! But AAFCO and the FDA allow things like this to happen, with poorly written ingredient definitions and rules that are never enforced.

There is no simple solution to this problem. This is the reality of what we have created. That is why I talk over and over again about reducing the toxins in your pets’ lives by eliminating chemical use in your households and on your lawns, using natural alternatives to flea and tick and heart worm treatments and the most important — changing your pet’s diet.

I know we live in a society of convenience, but what price are you willing to pay? Dogs and cats are carnivores — at no time since their creation were they ever meant to thrive on a highly processed dry kibble. Yes, there are kibbles that I feel are far superior, like Farmina N&D and Open Farm, but no matter how great the ingredients, it simply will never compare to the benefits of feeding a biologically appropriate diet of raw and fresh food.

If anything happens from this lawsuit, I truly hope that testing, labeling requirements and marketing claims become much stricter and clearer. I am so tired of manufacturers disguising poor quality, nutritionally-inadequate, ingredients with fancy names and using pretty pictures on the bag that don’t even correlate to what is actually in the bag. It is no surprise the majority of

pet owners feel feeding a dry, overly-processed kibble is best for their pets. Remember, you decide how healthy your pet is going to be. Ask questions, don’t be fooled by fancy marketing and make it a decision you will never regret.