Last Thursday, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) announced that it had settled with Mars Petcare US, Inc. (“Mars Petcare”) concerning allegedly false advertising claims relating to its Eukanuba brand dog food. Specifically, the FTC alleged that Mars Petcare falsely touted the health benefits of Eukanuba dog food by citing to a “study” that was never actually conducted. Although no monetary penalty was assessed against Mars Petcare, the terms of the settlement agreement restrict how the company may advertise its products in the future.
What are the Settlement Terms for Falsely Advertising Eukanuba Dog Food?
FTC Settles False Advertising Claims with Mars Petcare
According to the FTC’s false advertising complaint against Mars Petcare, in May and June 2015, Mars Petcare advertised its Eukanuba dog food by claiming that a 10-year long study of dogs that were fed Eukanuba demonstrated an increase in their respective lifespans. However, the FTC maintains that these claims were unsubstantiated and false.
Pursuant to the terms of the settlement agreement, Mars Petcare is prohibited from making the specific claims at issue in the FTC’s complaint, and further prohibited from making any claims about the health benefits of its products unless such claims are substantiated by reliable scientific evidence. Mars Petcare will be subject to future FTC monitoring and compliance.
Last month, the FTC announced settlement agreements with four separate companies concerning false “all-natural” advertising campaigns. Over the past several years, the FTC has been aggressive in cracking down on advertisements touting the health benefits of products that are false and/or misleading. With the prospect of significant regulatory and legal liability at stake, it is important to speak with an experienced attorney before launching any health benefit-related advertising campaign.