Costco Faces Class Claims Over Mislabeled Dog Food

Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel


On November 3, 2020, class claims were filed against Costco Wholesale Corporation (“Costco”) and dog food maker Diamond Pet Foods Inc. (“Diamond”) in federal court in the Western District of Washington. The suit alleges that Diamond’s brand—Kirkland Nature Domain—mislabeled its Turkey Meal & Sweet Potato Formula for Dogs and Chicken and Pea Formula for Puppies (together, “Kirkland Products”), thereby misleading consumers as to the true nature of the ingredients of the products.

In the complaint, plaintiffs Bradley Shaw and Thomas McCarthy allege that consumers shopping at Costco are willing to pay a premium price for top quality dog food that excludes certain ingredients often used as inexpensive fillers, which are suspected to cause allergic reactions and other health problems in dogs. The Kirkland Products in question are marketed as being grain-free and formulated using specific, limited ingredients. However, it is alleged the defendants’ dog food contains wheat and other unlisted ingredients.

The Plaintiffs argue that had they, and other consumers, been aware of the true ingredients found in the Kirkland Products, they would not have paid the premium price for the dog food or simply not purchased it at all. To bolster their argument, the plaintiffs present an image of a bag of the dog food in question in the complaint and highlight that the front labels of the Kirkland Products advertise specifically that the dog food is grain-free. Further, they argue that wheat is not a listed ingredient on the back of the bag or anywhere else on the product.

The plaintiffs seek to represent a class made up of all persons residing in the United States and its territories who, from November 3, 2016 to the present, purchased the Kirkland Products primarily for personal, family or household purposes and not for resale. The suit brings causes of action for breach of express warranty, breach of implied warranty of merchantability, unjust enrichment, violations of the Washington Consumer Protection Act, violations of the Washington Consumer Protection Act, violation of the New York Deceptive Trade Practices Act and violation of New York Gen. Bus. Law Section 350.

The case is: Shaw et al. v. Costco Wholesale Corporation et al., Case No.: 3:20-cv-06078, in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington. 


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