Amended Class Action



  • What is the issue regarding pentobarbital and your DogStar kitchen?

    A class-action suit against Champion Petfoods has recently been amended to allege that some of our dog food contained a Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved animal sedative called pentobarbital. Champion was notified by one of our suppliers that a relatively small amount of beef fat that they had sent to us contained a low level of pentobarbital. We immediately removed the ingredient from production. Additionally, independent third-party lab tests confirmed there was no pentobarbital detected in our foods. We are vigorously defending all claims made in the lawsuit and are confident that our ACANA and ORIJEN dog and cat foods are among the safest and healthiest you can feed your beloved pets.

  • Does this issue affect your NorthStar kitchen as well?

    No. This ingredient was received only in our DogStar Kitchens, which services the U. S., Latin America and some regions in Japan, however, no ORIJEN or ACANA products sold in those regions or anywhere else contain pentobarbital.

  • Why is the allegation being made? What is the truth?

    First and foremost, the truth is that our products are safe for pets. On May 7th, 2018, Champion was notified by one of our suppliers that a relatively small amount of beef fat that they had sent to us contained a low level of pentobarbital. We immediately removed the ingredient from production. Additionally, independent third-party lab tests confirmed there was no pentobarbital detected in our foods. Shortly thereafter, the FDA commended our process and concluded their inspection with no corrective action required. Champion strongly believes that any legal complaints are without merit, should be dismissed, and plans to vigorously defend itself.

  • What is pentobarbital?

    Pentobarbital is an animal sedative approved for use by the FDA. In low doses, it is a safe and effective short-acting surgical anesthetic for use in animals. In higher concentrations, and in combination with other drugs, it may be used as a humane and rapid euthanasia agent in animals. We would like to reassure Pet Lovers that our standards for ingredients, including beef fat, are that they must be sourced from healthy animals.

  • What is beef fat?

    Beef fat is a common ingredient that is topically applied to the food as a finish to enhance palatability. Beef fat was only applied by Champion to a limited number of diets and in minimal quantities in our Dogstar Kitchen.

  • Did pentobarbital get into Champion’s foods?

    No pentobarbital was detected in finished foods made by Champion Petfoods. However, an ingredient used to produce a limited number of Champion’s foods was found to have contained a minute level of pentobarbital.

    Here are the facts:

    • In May of 2018 Champion was notified by a supplier that some beef fat they had shipped to us contained a minute level of pentobarbital.
    • Upon notification, Champion immediately removed the ingredient from production.
    • Following notification, we subsequently terminated our relationship with and sued the supplier, as they failed to produce and provide ingredients that met our strict specifications.
    • Independent third-party lab tests confirmed that no pentobarbital was detected in Champion’s foods.
    • The FDA concluded their inspection of this occurrence with no corrective action indicated.
    • We are requiring further evidence from suppliers that they are meeting our strict specifications.
    • As an additional precaution, we have instituted stricter testing protocols in our incoming beef fat at Dogstar Kitchen.

    We would like to emphasize that no pentobarbital was detected in the pet foods made with the tainted beef fat. However, we continue to strengthen our controls and processes to ensure, as much as possible, that our ingredients meet our strict specifications.

  • Did food made with tainted ingredients make it to Retail shelves?

    Yes, however there were no detectable levels of pentobarbital found in any of the food, and therefore no pet’s health was ever at risk.

  • Champion claims to be transparent but you didn’t inform pet lovers that there had been an issue with pentobarbital.

    The decision was made by management not to raise this matter because no pentobarbital was detected in our finished product. Extensive testing by Champion and a third-party lab determined that the food was completely safe for pets. Champion believed that there was no reason to alarm Pet Lovers over something that we clearly knew was in no way a health or safety issue. If there had been a reason to believe that the food was unsafe, or unhealthy, we would have taken immediate action to notify Pet Lovers.

  • Is there any danger to pets?

    No. There is no danger to pets. Independent third party testing confirmed that no pentobarbital was detected in our foods. We worked closely with the FDA throughout the incident. They commended our decisive handling of the issue and concluded their inspection with no corrective action required.

  • Why was food recalled from Distributors and not from Retail shelves?

    Food was not recalled; however, we did follow our standard procedures for when a significant concern is raised. We held all product in our inventory and pulled back all involved product at the distributor level while an investigation was conducted. At the same time, we initiated testing of retention samples with a third-party laboratory. Testing showed no detectable levels of pentobarbital in the foods and as such the food was proven safe for pets. Therefore, there was no reason to pull product back from retail shelves.

  • What is Champion Petfood doing to avoid this issue from reoccurring?

    Consistent with our commitment to being trusted by Pet Lovers Everywhere, we work to ensure that every possible precaution is taken to keep your pets safe. We hold ourselves to the highest standards of pet food safety and we undertake rigorous testing and research. When we learned of this unusual incident, we immediately worked with our scientists, nutritionists and food safety experts, along with regulators. We undertook these procedures to understand the facts, identify the causes, and take firm and decisive action. We also ended our relationship with the supplier who provided the ingredient. We will continue to hold all of our suppliers to these same standards audit all ingredient suppliers. Pet Lovers should be comforted to know that Champion will always take exhaustive steps to ensure pet and food safety.

  • Are your ingredient testing methods adequate?

    Champion’s ingredient testing methods are just one part of our quality assurance procedures included in our comprehensive supplier management and verification program to ensure ingredient safety.

    Let me explain some details of our program:

    • Initially, new potential suppliers must provide a minimum of 13 completed documents before they can qualify as a supplier.
    • Through a screening process that takes approximately 90 days for full assessment, our new suppliers are scrutinized more heavily than most involved in supplying ingredients to the human food industry.
    • Champion will only deal with suppliers whose facilities we have personally inspected, built a relationship with, and established a certain level of trust. We will not blindly purchase through brokers.
    • Of all the potential suppliers Champion considers, we reject more than we accept. During visits to their facilities, our specialists keenly watch for critical acceptance criteria such as raw material quality, ethical treatment of animals, sanitary production conditions, quality pest control, and strong contamination prevention procedures.
    • Champion’s kitchens, and supply chain have been thoughtfully designed and have implemented industry leading food safety and quality assurance protocols that are qualified by independent certifications including our SQF (Safe, Quality Food) designation. In addition, we meet the rigorous requirements from other governments to supply foods from our kitchens to over 90 countries around the world.
    • For beef specifically, Champion now only sources from fully integrated suppliers who handle and process their own cattle, so we know exactly which raw materials are being processed.
    • Many of our ingredients require an accompanying certificate of analysis from the supplier and our Quality Assurance team verify the ingredients through sensory and analytical testing depending on the ingredient. Annual audits are conducted on suppliers. Given the extensive process through which we investigate potential suppliers, Champion is confident that our ingredient safety methodology is as stringent or better than that used for suppliers in the human food industry.

    • Champion meets all nutritional and regulatory standards for pet food, including AAFCO nutrition standards in each of the markets we sell our products in.

  • How can Champion say it’s different when it uses the same suppliers as low-quality brands?

    The difference is in the specific and stringent requirements that Champion places on these suppliers for the ingredients that they send to us versus what they send to other companies, because we make the “World’s Best Petfoods”.

    • Unlike most pet food manufacturers, no animals used in our ingredients can be condemned or dead prior to arriving at the slaughter facility, and animals are required to be pre- and post-mortem inspected by a government veterinarian inspector.
    • Using fish as an example, Champion requires whole fish, while our competitors will usually only use the less desirable parts, such as the frames, tails and heads, in order to reduce costs.

    Although in some cases Champion may use the same supplier as others, in order to make the “World’s Best Petfoods” we often select the best ingredients based on higher nutritional value and related quality and cost.