The 7th Circ. refused to revive a proposed class action alleging Champion Petfoods USA Inc. misled consumers by claiming its dog food is regionally sourced and failing to disclose the food could contain trace amounts of harmful substances and barbiturates, finding that there isn’t evidence the labels were misleading.
An unanimous three-judge panel ruled in favor of the dog food maker and held that Wisconsin resident Scott Weaver failed to produce sufficient evidence to convince a reasonable jury that any of the labels on the dog food were false or misleading.
The ruling marks an end to a proposed class action that Weaver launched in 2018 alleging Champion falsely marketed its purported premium Orijen and Acana dog foods as being “biologically appropriate” and containing “fresh,” “never outsourced” regional ingredients, while hiding the risk or presence of harmful substances such as the industrial chemical Bisphenol A, or BPA, and the barbiturate pentobarbital, as well as the fact the food is made from frozen ingredients.
His suit followed a wave of litigation lobbed against Champion after its meat supplier, JBS USA Holdings Inc., delivered food contaminated with pentobarbital in 2018 that ended up in 100,000 pounds of dog food that was sold to the public.
However, on June 30th, 2021, the Seventh Circuit panel sided with Champion on all the claims and found Weaver failed to offer evidence that shows consumers are likely to be misled by the labels to believe the dog food was completely BPA‐free.
The panel added that Weaver doesn’t have standing to sue over pentobarbital, because the dog food he purchased was not at risk of containing pentobarbital. He stopped buying the Champion dog food before the contaminated supply hit store shelves and any claim that the food he bought before 2018 was contaminated amounts to speculation.