Two lawsuits seeking class-action status have been filed against Petsmart for selling hemp products unapproved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
In both lawsuits, which took place within four days of one another in Florida in late April, the plaintiffs say they purchased similar products that were advertised to treat, mitigate or prevent diseases and ailments in dogs.
Each lawsuit was filed by an individual but seeks class-action status. Both seek damages in excess of $30,000 each for deceptive marketing, alleging the products did not measure up to their expectations.
In the first lawsuit, Astoria Sassano v. Petsmart, Inc., the plaintiff purchased Only Natural Pet Hemp Seed Oil with Krill and Cod Liver. According to the suit, the product’s packaging states, "Only Natural Pet Hemp Seed Oil with Krill & Cod Liver provides a concentrated source of Omega 3 & 6's to support the immune system, cardiovascular health and vitality. Hemp seed is packed with phytonutrients and antioxidants while krill & cod liver oil delivers a healthy dose of phospholipids and astaxanthin, all which work together to support overall health and wellness."
In the second lawsuit, Newell v. Petsmart, Inc., the plaintiff purchased Only Natural Pet Hemp Calming Support soft chews. Its packaging says, according to the suit: "Hemp Seed Oil Balanced source of Omega 3 & 6 supports healthy brain function."
“The Product's packaging, as well as Defendant's advertising and marketing of the Product, makes clear that the Product's contents are intended to treat, mitigate, or prevent disease and/or are intended to affect the structure or any function of the body,” both lawsuits state.
Because the labelling violates the Food Drug & Cosmetics Act (FD&C Act) as an “unapproved new animal drug,” the suit says, it is illegal to sell.
The suits go on to allege that because Petsmart sold the products, it was “aware and disregarded these laws,” resulting in “false and deceptive conduct.”
When contacted for comment, Petsmart said: "As a practice, PetSmart does not comment on pending litigation."