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On the same day that Natura Pet Foods announced their latest voluntary recall for possibly Salmonella-tainted kibble (please check the link if you feed Innova, EVO, California Natural, Healthwise, Karma, or Mother Nature), I received something from them in the mail…

Natura Settlement Check!

Please find attached your settlement check as payable under the Ko v. Natura Pet Products Settlement. The attached check represents your equal share of the divided “Net Settlement Amount” designated for distribution to Class Members with an approved claim.

Woah! It took me quite a while to vaaaguely recount opting in to this class action lawsuit, apparently sometime around July 2011. I was definitely not counting on a check for $43.90 coming to me for having done little other than buy a couple bags of EVO and Innova at some time in my early stages of experimenting with Bowdu’s diet.

There’s a ton of legal information available on the website set up for the case. The gist of it is:

    Ko v. Natura Pet Products, Inc., Case No. 5:09-cv-02619 is a class action lawsuit in which Plaintiffs claim Natura violated California’s Business and Professions Code when advertising their dog and cat food products. It also claims that Natura made false and misleading statements about the human grade quality of its food in its advertisements, promotional materials and labeling. The Defendants deny that they did anything wrong.

Apparently this was a civil suit settled in the Northern California District Courts. I’m not up on my legalese, but I understand that a settlement means the case didn’t go to trial, so Natura Pet Products isn’t “guilty” of anything. However, I’d like to think this settlement indicates that pet food manufacturers need to take their advertising claims seriously — because people like me pay attention, and with a healthy dose of skepticism.

If a company is going to claim that its processed foods are all natural or holistic or organic or wholesome or specifically in this case, “human grade,” they better not be slapping empty labels onto their products just to pander to the growing market of food-conscious pet “pawrents.” Back it up, provide details, show your work, and don’t evade the questions when consumers ask for clarification.

Otherwise, you’re going to get someone like Judy Ko on your ass filing a class action lawsuit.

So this was a decent payout, the most I’ve ever gotten from something like this (payments supposedly could have gone up to $200). Is it enough to put Natura Pet Products on my good side? With two rounds of Salmonella-related recalls within less than two months, the lack of corporate transparency, and my impression that the entire family of brands is overpriced relative to the quality of the products, my answer is… no.

Flossy

Though we may not like every place we’ve been, this continuous search for good food and healthier diets has taken us in too many other directions to ever revisit the land of Natura.

No need to send us a postcard if you’re ever out that way.