Consumer Complaint Claims Costco “Grain Free” Dog Food Contains Wheat

On Tuesday, Costco Wholesale Corporation and Schell & Kampeter, Inc which does business as Diamond Pet Foods received a class action complaint in the Western District of Washington alleging that the “grain free” dog food sold by the defendants contains wheat. 

The plaintiffs, Bradley Shaw and Thomas McCarthy, said they and members of the class are willing to pay more for dog food without certain ingredients that are used as fillers. They alleged that grains, including wheat, are “suspected to cause allergic reactions” leading to “other health problems for the dogs. They said that consumers will pay more for food without wheat, even though not all dogs have an allergic reaction, rather than risk paying later for a high veterinary bill. 

They claimed that specific pet foods, including Kirkland Nature’s Domain “Turkey Meal & Sweet Potato Formula for Dogs” or “Chicken and Pea Formula” claim to be grain free, but actually contain wheat and other various unlisted ingredients. The complaint says the “Defendants represent that the products actually include only limited ingredients, are specifically formulated for the health needs of dogs … if Defendants disclosed the material facts concerning these products, including that the supposed ‘grain free’ products contained wheat and other foods, consumers like Plaintiffs would not have purchased Defendants’ pet foods or not paid as much money for them.” 

Shaw claimed that he purchased the products for his puppy in 2019, and decided to purchase it considering that it was grain free, despite the additional price. His puppy passed away later that year. The plaintiff did say he would be likely to purchase the products again if Kirkland began confirming their products to the claims. McCarthy purchased the products for his dog, but stopped purchasing them when he learned they were mislabeled. 

The plaintiffs filed counts of breach of express warranty, unjust enrichment, and violations of the Washington Consumer Protection Act, the New York Deceptive Trade Practices Act, and New York General Business Laws. They asked the court to certify the class and award damages and injunctive relief. 

Shaw and McCarthy are represented by Terrell Marshall Law Group PLLC