Rachael Ray's dog food brand, Nutrish, is reportedly being sued by a man alleging that the products contain the “potentially harmful” herbicide glyphosate, and are thus not "natural" as advertised, multiple outlets say.
E! News reports that Markeith Parks of New York filed the $5 million class-action suit on Wednesday against Ainsworth Pet Nutrition and its line of Superior Premium Food for Dogs.
Per the outlet, Parks claims in the documents that while Ray's Nutrish "aggressively advertises" and promotes the products as "natural," the "claims are false, deceptive, and misleading."
"Instead, the products contain the unnatural chemical glyphosate, a potent biocide and endocrine disruptor, with detrimental health effects that are still becoming known," the documents also claim, according to E! News.
The legal documents reportedly go on to say that "tests conducted by an independent laboratory revealed that glyphosate is present in the products.
"The exact source of glyphosate in thepProducts is known only to Rachael Ray Nutrish and its suppliers," the documents continue. "However, crops such as peas, soy, corn, beets and alfalfa are sprayed with the chemical in order to dry them and produce an earlier, more uniform harvest — a practice with no health benefits, meant only to increase yield."
In addition, the documents are said to contend that "by deceiving consumers about the nature, quality, and/or ingredients of the products, Rachael Ray Nutrish is able to sell a greater volume of the products, to charge higher prices for the products, and to take away market share from competing products, thereby increasing its own sales and profits."
Bobby Modi, vice president, pet food and pet snacks for J.M. Smucker Co., which bought Ainsworth Pet Nutrition earlier this year, told Fox News in a statement, “We are in the process of reviewing the details of the claim but strongly stand behind the quality of our products, ingredients and sourcing practices.
"As animal lovers and humans, it goes without saying that we do not add pesticides to our products as an ingredient. We plan to aggressively fight these claims. Pet parents with questions about our pet food recipes or treats are encouraged to contact us directly by calling 1-800-323-7738 or via nutrish.com.”
A rep for Ray said: "Rachael herself has always championed the great lengths Ainsworth Pet Nutrition and now the J.M. Smucker Co. take to create and provide the highest quality and safest pet food products on the market. This is why she does, and will continue to, feed Nutrish to her own dog, Isaboo, and her extended pet family."
According to People magazine, Parks is seeking “relief including actual damages, interest, costs, reasonable attorneys’ fees,” and an injunction to stop Nutrish’s marketing and sale of the products, along with corrective advertising.
Per the outlet, Ray, 49, started the Nutrish pet food line back in 2008, and continues to donate a portion of proceeds from each sale to the Rachael Ray Foundation, which helps pets in need through Rachael's Rescue.