Wednesday, March 07, 2001

P&G's Iams unit faces lawsuit over nutrition

Bloomberg News and The Cincinnati Enquirer

        LOS ANGELES — Procter & Gamble Co.'s Iams unit faces a lawsuit alleging that the premium pet-food maker's advertising overstates the nutritional value of its dog food.

        The suit seeks class-action status for consumers who bought Iams' Chunks, Eukanuba, Less Active and other products since April 1999.

        Bryan Brown, director of communications for the Iams Co., dismissed the suits as a consumer's attempt to ride the coattails of a competitor.

        That competitor, Southern California-based Nutro Pet Products, filed a separate suit in December, challenging Iams' feeding guidelines for pets.

        “This consumer case is a me-too lawsuit from a consumer based on the same claims alleged by the competitor,” Mr. Brown said. “The allegations are false, and we're going to continue to take appropriate action to protect our reputation.”

        Iams' dog food is “insufficient to meet the nutritional needs of the average pet” and causes dogs to lose weight, according to the consumer complaint filed in Los Angeles Superior Court.

        The suit, filed by Los Angeles pet owner Karen Pollack, alleges false advertising, fraud and negligent misrepresentation.

        The suit seeks unspecified monetary damages as well as a court order that Iams must accurately represent nutritional value and feeding requirements.

        Enquirer reporter Randy Tucker contributed to this report.


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