As consumers shift towards “organic,” “natural,” and “clean” foods for themselves and their families, they are also making similar purchasing decisions when it comes to pet food. However, as sales of “premium” pet food have increased in recent years, so has the number of consumer class action lawsuits filed against pet food manufacturers, specifically those involving claims that marketing and labeling pet foods as “natural” is false and misleading when they contain artificial ingredients, synthetic ingredients, chemicals, heavy metals, and/or toxins. There has been a significant spike in the number of class action lawsuits involving “natural” pet food claims in 2017 and 2018, most notably in California. Accordingly, the California Department of Public Health (CPDH), the regulatory authority that administers the laws applicable to processed pet food sales in California, has implemented a rulemaking procedure to determine the meaning of “natural” pet food, to avoid uncertainty and inconsistent court rulings. As California looks poised to become the first state to officially define “natural” as it relates to pet foods, consumers, pet food manufacturers as well as other states are all closely monitoring the CPDH’s final determination in defining “natural.”

For more information, please see the following posts from our Food Litigation News blog: