The Federal Trade Commission has just told Mars Petcare Eukanuba the company’s advertising claims “constitute unfair or deceptive acts or practices, and the making of false advertisements”.
“Deceptive” pet food advertising runs rampant. Pet food regulatory authorities (FDA and State Department of Agriculture) could stop the deception/misleading/false advertisements…but they don’t. All regulatory authorities tend to look the other way at misleading advertising claims. Thanks to the FTC (Federal Trade Commission), one of those “deceptive” pet food commercials are gone.
The Mars Petcare Eukanuba commercials told consumers “With Eukanuba, dogs live 30 percent or more longer than their typical lifespan; and Eukanuba brand dog foods enable dogs to live exceptionally long lives.” Below is the YouTube.com version of the television commercial FTC found as “deceptive” from Mars Petcare Eukanuba UK. (While the advertising has been stopped in the U.S., the Mars Petcare advertising continues in other countries.)
The FTC found the statements made in the advertising are “false or misleading or were not substantiated at the time the representations were made.”
FTC continues with “In fact, A. Scientific tests do not prove that, with Eukanuba, dogs live 30 percent longer than their typical lifespan; and B. Scientific tests do not prove that Eukanuba brand dog foods enable dogs to live exceptionally long lives.”
And FTC stated (bold added) “Among other things, the evidence relied on by Respondent for its representations concerning the Eukanuba brand dog food consisted primarily of results from a single study, the results of which showed no significant difference in the median age at death of the dogs in the study relative to the typical age at death of dogs of the same breed.”
In other words, the FTC found Mars Petcare Eukanuba made “false or misleading” claims in advertising based on no evidence; dogs consuming Eukanuba did not live “30% longer” as the advertising claimed.
The FTC only issued a ‘slap on the wrist’ to Mars Petcare providing this resolve to the false advertising: “The proposed order settling the FTC’s charges prohibits Mars Petcare from engaging in similar deceptive acts or practices in the future. First, it prohibits the company from making any misleading or unsubstantiated claims that its Eukanuba-brand pet food or any other pet food will enable any dogs to extend their lifespan by 30 percent or more or live exceptionally long lives. It also prohibits the company from making misleading or unsubstantiated claims regarding the health benefits of any pet food, and requires the company to have competent and reliable scientific evidence to back up any such claims.”
But…the FTC will accept public comments on the issue until September 6, 2016. If you would like to post your comment on the above issue, Click Here.
My comment sent to FTC…
As a representative of pet food consumers, I thank the FTC for their action on this issue. Misleading and false advertising runs rampant in pet food; stopping just one misleading claim benefits pet food consumers.
We ask the FTC to consider the profits made by Mars Petcare during the time frame the subject misleading advertising ran; Mars Petcare undoubtedly made significant profit based on advertising the Commission found to be false. I recommend FTC consider a financial penalty that would would be comparative to the profit made by Mars Petcare during the time frame the advertising ran in the U.S. The financial penalty could be donated to various animal shelters/animal rescue organizations.
I hope the FTC takes a close examination of the many misleading and false advertising claims in pet food. Should the Commission walk into any major chain pet store, they will find a multitude of misleading images on pet food labels. Everything from roasted meat to grilled meat images misleading consumers into belief the pet food is made from grilled or roasted human quality foods – when nothing similar is true. While we certainly thank the Commission for this action, consumers hope the FTC looks beyond this one instance. Pet food consumers deserve accurate and honest advertising in all pet food products.
Thank you –
Representing Pet Food Consumer Members
Association for Truth in Pet Food
Thanks to Kim for sending me this FTC announcement.
Shame on you Mars Petcare.
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
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