PET Food Processing - October 2020 - 53

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and truthfully labeled. Over the past 10 years, the number of both individual claims and class actions based on
alleged mislabeling have continued to rise. The types
of lawsuits range widely, from those based on certain
words used on labels such as "natural" and "real," to the
stated origin of the ingredients, and even disputes over
the imagery used on the food label.
Pet food labeling is regulated at two levels. At the first
level, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is
responsible for enforcing the Federal Food, Drug and
Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) for what can be referred to as
identification information. FDA regulations require
proper identification of the product, a net quantity statement, manufacturer or distributor's name and address,
and proper listing of ingredients. In addition, some
states enforce their own labeling requirements, many
based on a model promulgated by the Association of
American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), which has
been adopted by some states.
At the second level and besides identification information, the FDA reviews labels to determine whether
specific claims are in fact truthful. Claims such as "main-

Although it is the FDA and state agencies who enforce
regulations, it is the private civil lawsuit that may consume more of a manufacturer's time and legal budget. A
labeling lawsuit may be based on allegations that an animal was injured because its owner relied on information
on the label that turned out not to be true. A class action
lawsuit may be based on allegations that consumers paid
more for a particular product because of a claim on the
label, which turned out not to be true. This article discusses types of lawsuits that are arising more frequently,
as well as trends which seem to be developing in the
way courts have been handling those lawsuits. Because
animal food labeling claims mirror human food labeling
claims, trends in both will be discussed.

The buzzword lawsuits
Numerous class action lawsuits have been brought
against pet food manufacturers for using certain terms
on product labels and in advertising. These class actions are usually based on state consumer protection
acts, which prohibit the use of any terms that could
mislead a reasonable consumer. The lawsuits allege that

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PET Food Processing - October 2020

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http://digital.petfoodprocessing.net/sosland/pfp/2020_10_01
http://digital.petfoodprocessing.net/sosland/pfp/2020_09_01
http://digital.petfoodprocessing.net/sosland/pfp/2020_06_01
http://digital.petfoodprocessing.net/sosland/pfp/2020_03_01
http://digital.petfoodprocessing.net/sosland/pfp/2019_12_01
http://digital.petfoodprocessing.net/sosland/pfp/2019_10_01
http://digital.petfoodprocessing.net/sosland/pfp/2019_09_01
http://digital.petfoodprocessing.net/sosland/pfp/2019_06_01
http://digital.petfoodprocessing.net/sosland/pfp/2019_03_01
http://digital.petfoodprocessing.net/sosland/pfp/2018_12_01
http://digital.petfoodprocessing.net/sosland/pfp/2018_09_01
http://digital.petfoodprocessing.net/sosland/pfp/2018_06_01
http://digital.petfoodprocessing.net/sosland/pfp/2018_03_01
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