The lawsuit doesn’t appear to be officially accusing Champion of causing DCM, but it appears to be opening the door for that potential in the future.
The original lawsuit against Champion Pet Food filed in March 2018 included claims of “negligent, reckless, and/or intentional practice of misrepresenting and failing to fully disclose the presence of heavy metals and toxins in their pet food “.
An amended complaint was filed in November 2018, adding “pentobarbital” risk to the lawsuit. Quoting the amended lawsuit against Champion: “It was recently revealed on information and belief that Defendants were knowingly, recklessly and/or negligently selling certain of the Contaminated Dog Foods from the DogStar Kitchens containing pentobarbital, a substance largely used to euthanize animals.”
And another amended complaint was filed in February 2019 challenging Champion Pet Food’s marketing claims of “regional” and “fresh” ingredients. This amended complaint stated: “It was recently revealed on information and belief that Defendants were knowingly, recklessly, and/or negligently selling certain of the Contaminated Dog Foods from the DogStar® Kitchens containing pentobarbital that was caused by cross-contamination that resulted from its supplier, MOPAC, an eastern Pennsylvania rendering facility belonging to JBS USA Holdings, Inc. (“JBS”), having accepted and processed euthanized horses in earlier production runs for other customers.”
This third amended complaint against Champion Pet Food includes the following two mentions of DCM (dilated cardiomyopathy):
“Additionally, on July 12, 2018, the FDA issued a warning that “dogs eating certain pet foods containing peas, lentils, other legume seeds, or potatoes as main ingredients” were experiencing DCM, a heart muscle disease that results in an enlarged heart. “As the heart and its chambers become dilated, it becomes harder for the heart to pump, and heart valves may leak, leading to a buildup of fluids in the chest and abdomen. DCM often results in congestive heart failure.” Thereafter, on June 27, 2019, the FDA released a report of its investigation into DCM that disclosed Defendants’ brands account for 14.88 percent of reported cases of DCM in the past 5 years. Defendants were aware of the risk and the reported cases associated with the Contaminated Pet Foods from at least July 2018 and yet chose not to include any warning or link to the FDA investigation into DCM.”
“Yet, Defendants warrant, promise, represent, mislead, label, and/or advertise that the Contaminated Dog Foods are free of heavy metals, pentobarbital, toxins, BPA, and/or unnatural or other ingredients and would not pose a risk for pets developing Dilated Cardiomyopathy (“DCM”) by touting the Contaminated Dog Food as “Biologically Appropriate™” (a nutritional statement) and assuring the food represents an evolutionary diet that mirrors that of a wolf—free of anything “nature did not intend for your dog to eat.”
Other interesting issues of this amended lawsuit – but not fully explained in the complaint – are (item 166 found on page 76 – bold added):
“Defendants knew or should have known that the Contaminated Dog Foods did not have the ingredients, uses, and benefits described herein because:
They contain ingredients that are frozen, stored for years, and/or expired prior to manufacturing or composed of regrind kibble;
They are routinely manufactured with substitute ingredients not included in the Ingredient List, MeatMath®, or nutritional analysis;”
Lots of questions remain – unfortunately we’ll have to wait to see how this lawsuit unfolds for answers.
To read the full amended Champion Pet Food complaint, Click Here.
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,