In April of 2020, a lawsuit filed against Rachael Ray Nutrish® alleged that one of their pet food products misled customers about containing “Just 6” ingredients. Ultimately, lab results confirmed what the plaintiff thought, finding corn, wheat, soy, and beef in the food.
Beyond learning that the manufacturer and distributor misled consumers with numerous claims of providing “a limited ingredient diet,” the lab found something even more worrisome: “Just 6®” pet food contains a small amount of dog DNA.
The Lawsuit’s Origins
The plaintiff, Erin Kirchenberg, purchased Just 6® dog food monthly between approximately January 2018 and February 2020 for her dogs, Molly and Buddy. These bags of food ranged in price from $25.50 to $31.48.
Prior to her purchases, Kirchenberg had researched the food’s ingredients. According to the lawsuit, Kirchenberg opted to pay a premium price for this particular food because of the “limited ingredient” promise.
The lawsuit states:
“She was interested in sticking to a limited ingredient lamb diet that only contained rice as a grain and understood that this combination would be better for the health of her dogs. Based upon her research, Plaintiff selected a Just 6® product for her dogs.”
Many dog parents buy particular food in the interest of their pet’s health. Lying about ingredients can not only cost them money, but it can also affect their dogs’ health.
As this is a class action suit brought forth by Kirchenberg, lawyers are seeking damages for the following class affected by false advertising:
“All persons residing in California who, during the maximum period of time permitted by law, purchased Just 6® primarily for personal, family, or household purposes, and not for resale.”
DNA testing results
Surprisingly, the lawsuit’s focus remains on the misleading claims about Just 6® not containing corn, wheat, soy, and beef. It fails to even draw attention to the fact that DNA results found genetic material from dogs and horses in the food.
This table serves as “Exhibit A” in the suit. Jeremy Edwards, Professor and Chair of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at UNM, tested a bag of Just 6® from 2020.
UNM Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology
Edwards wrote in a letter attached to the suit that “Corn, Soy, and Wheat are all detected at significant levels.” He also detected deer, cattle, and pig in the sample.
Ironically, the lawsuit also quotes a statement on the Nutrish website:
“Rachael Ray™ Nutrish® demands the utmost in food safety and quality from our suppliers. We maintain rigorous testing to ensure ingredient and product safety.”
You can view the lawsuit for more information on findings here.
H/T: Truth About Pet Food