Hormel Foods sues Purina for Trademark Infringement
It appears to be another attempt at trying to make feed grade pet products seem just like human food. But this time Hormel Foods sues Purina over it’s Black Label marketing.
Filed on May 23, 2017, Hormel Foods – manufacturer of Black Label Bacon products – is suing Purina Pet Foods for trademark infringement, alleging Purina’s promotion of Beggin’ Black Label dog treats will cause “consumer confusion” and is “trading upon the goodwill” established by Hormel Foods causing the food company “substantial and irreparable harm and injury.”
Hormel Foods states they have “continuously offered bacon products under the trademark BLACK LABEL” since 1963.
In January 2017, Purina introduced it’s Beggin’ Strips Black Label dog treats…
In a YouTube advertisement for the dog treats, Purina even makes the direct association to Hormel Bacon; “Defendant depicts a cartoon dog sniffing down a grocery bacon case, including shots of Hormel Foods’s BLACK LABEL-brand bacon:”
The lawsuit also states “In addition to prominently featuring real bacon in their advertisements, Purina’s “Black Label” product has the appearance of real bacon, which Purina prominently markets floating against a black backdrop in advertisements that are strikingly similar to a number of Hormel advertisements for its BLACK LABEL-brand products:”
Is the above proof enough that pet feed manufacturers are completely out of control with their marketing? That their misleading marketing to consumers is totally unregulated? So much so that a human food manufacturer has to sue to protect their own image (not wanting the association of a feed grade dog treat to their human food product)?
“Real Meat #1 Ingredient” has a completely different meaning for a pet food or treat than it does in human food. With Purina Beggin’ Strips – the ‘real meat’ is pork – which per the legal definition is allowed to be sourced from condemned pork not suitable for human consumption. Condemned pork is NOT human grade as Purina and many others imply.
Federal law states that foods – to “promote honesty and fair dealing in the interest of consumers” shall use “common or usual name” of ingredients. But law also states “In prescribing a definition and standard of identity for any food or class of food in which optional ingredients are permitted” – optional ingredients such as feed grade ingredients allowed by FDA into pet food – “the Secretary shall, for the purpose of promoting honesty and fair dealing in the interest of consumers, designate the optional ingredients which shall be named on the label.” This is what pet food consumers do not have – those ‘optional ingredient names’. And we need those optional ingredient names to be public information, not hidden away – corporately owned by AAFCO.
We don’t have an ‘honest’ pet food industry (as a whole). There is no ‘fair dealing in the interest of consumers’. This will be a topic of discussion in our meetings with Senators and FDA in a few weeks. Optional ingredients ARE permitted, they should be clearly designated as feed grade to better inform consumers.
To read the full lawsuit – click here.
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
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