On Monday, news broke that Rachael Ray‘s dog food company Nutrish is being sued by a man claiming the products contain the herbicide glyphosate and are therefore not “natural,” as advertised.
Markeith Parks of New York filed the class action suit, alleging that glyphosate has a “potent biocide and endocrine disruptor, with detrimental health effects that are still becoming known.” The legal documents, obtained by PEOPLE and first shared by The Blast, go on to say that tests conducted in an independent laboratory revealed that glyphosate is present in the products, and that by not disclosing the information on its packaging, Nutrish is guilty of false advertising and charging customers more for a premium food that is allegedly not natural.
The documents also note that while the “exact source of glyphosate in the products is known only to Rachael Ray Nutrish and its suppliers,” crops like peas, soy, corn, beets and alfalfa are often sprayed with the chemical “in order to dry them and produce an earlier, more uniform harvest — a practice with no health benefits, meant only to increase yield.”
“We are in the process of reviewing the details of the claim but strongly stand behind the quality of our products, ingredients, and sourcing practices,” Bobby Modi, vice president of pet food and pet snacks for The J.M. Smucker Company, Nutrish’s parent company, said in a statement to PEOPLE.
“As animal lovers and humans, it goes without saying that we do not add pesticides to our products as an ingredient,” he continued. “We plan to aggressively fight these claims. Pet parents with questions about our pet food recipes or treats are encouraged to contact us directly by calling 1-800-323-7738 or via nutrish.com.”
“Rachael herself has always championed the great lengths Ainsworth Pet Nutrition and now The J.M. Smucker Company take to create and provide the highest quality and safest pet food products on the market,” a rep for Ray added. “This is why she does, and will continue to, feed Nutrish to her own dog Isaboo and her extended pet family.”
Ray created the Nutrish line of pet food in 2008; a portion from each sale of the brand is donated to The Rachael Ray Foundation, which helps pets in need through Rachael’s Rescue. As of September 2017, Rachael’s Rescue had donated more than $21 million to pet charities and other organizations that do good for pets, dispersing funds for food, medical supplies, treatments and more.
Last August, the foundation gave $1 million toward the rescue and recovery of animals affected by Hurricane Harvey.
Parks is seeking “relief including actual damages, interest, costs, reasonable attorneys’ fees” and an injunction to halt Nutrish’s marketing and sale of the products, as well as corrective advertising.