The lawsuit alleged that WellPet marketed its dog food as “Made in the U.S.,” although some of the vitamins and minerals came from other countries, thereby misleading consumers.
On April 21, the judge issued the order dismissing the class action lawsuit against the pet food company. In August 2016, Dale Sabo had filed the legal action, claiming that WellPet had violated the Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act, the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act and similar laws in California, Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York and Washington.
Sabo argued that WellPet’s ingredients included vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, but the chemical had not been produced commercially in the US since 2009. Thus, the ascorbic acid must have come from abroad.
The Federal Trade Commission mandates that for a company to claim a pet food is made in the U.S. it must contain “all or virtually all” ingredients that originated in the country. Therefore, Sabo reasoned, the WellPet dog food he purchased could not be marketed as made in the USA because the vitamin C was from another country.
However, since ascorbic acid is no longer manufactured in the U.S., the Federal Trade Commission may have allowed the WellPet pet food to be labelled as made in the U.S., argued WellPet’s lawyers.
Ultimately, this reasoning was not the judge’s reason for dismissing the case. Instead, she stated that Sabo had not proven that he paid significantly more for the WellPet products than he would have if they were not labelled as made in the U.S.. Nor did he state that he would not have purchased them had Sabo known the vitamin C was from abroad.
The judge ruled that since Sabo had failed to “plead and prove actual damages,” his claim of damages was unsupported.