A man from New York is suing Rachael Ray’s “natural” dog food brand, Nutrish, for allegedly containing the “potentially harmful” herbicide glyphosate. In the $5 million class action lawsuit, Bronx resident Markeith Parks argues that it is deceiving for Nutrish to market its food as natural.
“These claims are false, deceptive, and misleading,” reads the suit, according to The Wrap. “The Products at issue are not ‘Natural.’ Instead, the Products contain the unnatural chemical glyphosate, a potent biocide and endocrine disruptor, with detrimental health effects that are still becoming known.”
The chemical, which is often used in weed killers such as Roundup, was found by tests done by an independent lab, state court papers according to the New York Daily News. While the suit says research shows glysphosate is a “probable” human carcinogen, the EPA says the chemical has “low toxicity” for humans.
Nutrish was previously manufactured by Ainsworth Pet Nutrition, but the company was recently bought by the J.M. Smucker Company for nearly $2 billion. The current manufacturer strongly opposes Park’s claims.
In a statement to NBC, the Smucker Company said they “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.”
The lawsuit states that the source of the chemical isn’t known, but speculates “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.” These foods are then used in the dog food.
A spokesperson for Rachael Ray told NBC that Ray “has always championed the great lengths Ainsworth Pet Nutrition and now the J.M. Smucker Company take to create and provide the highest quality and safest pet food products on the market,” adding that Ray feeds Nutrish to her own dog at home.
Ray is not targeted in the lawsuit.