Purina must face low-bacon claim

by Erica Shaffer
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A US District Court judge denied a motion by St. Louis-based Nestle Purina Petcare Company Inc. to dismiss a lawsuit alleging the company deceptively marketed the company’s “Beggin’ Strips bacon flavor” pet treats as being made mostly out of bacon.

The plaintiff, Paul Kacocha of Duchess County, New York, said in court documents that Purina’s commercials promoting Beggin’ Strips suggest that the products “are made primarily of bacon and have bacon as their main ingredient, when, in actuality, the real main ingredients are “nonmeat fillers,” specifically, “ground wheat, corn gluten meal, wheat flour, water, ground yellow corn, sugar, glycerin, soybean meal, and hydrogenated corn syrup, plus at least five artificial preservatives.”

Kacocha also argued that product packaging reinforces the impression that the pet treats are mostly made out of bacon. Kacocha said he paid premium prices for the pet treats that he would not have paid had he known the pet treats weren’t mostly made from bacon.

Lawyers for Nestle argued that statements made about the product were “mere puffery,” and no reasonable consumer would be misled into thinking the pet treats were primarily bacon. But US District Judge Kenneth Karas said it was too early to dismiss the case on those grounds.

The case is Kacocha v. Nestle Purina Petcare Co, US District Court for the Southern District of New York, No. 15-5489.

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