Purina: Where Honesty Is Our First Ingredient

UPDATE

October 15, 2014

BLUE BUFFALO FINALLY ADMITS ITS PRODUCTS MAY BE MISLABELED

ST. LOUIS, MO, October 15, 2014 - Last night, Blue Buffalo publicly revealed facts that prove the central allegations in our false advertising lawsuit against them. Contrary to prior assurances, for the first time Blue Buffalo has had to admit that ingredients from at least one of their suppliers contain poultry by-product meal. Click here for link. This is despite the fact that Blue Buffalo has repeatedly stated – in their TV commercials, their advertising, and to consumers on their website – that they never use this ingredient.

Blue Buffalo admits this is “unacceptable” and it is, but Blue Buffalo is not being as “transparent” as they claim. Remarkably, it was Purina – not Blue Buffalo – that unearthed the truth through its scientific testing and, more recently, from documents it obtained through the legal process from one of Blue Buffalo’s ingredient suppliers. Without Purina’s filing of this lawsuit, the truth would still be untold. Blue Buffalo’s approach since May was to deny everything – until Blue Buffalo was forced to admit it was wrong. Changing your story only after the facts are revealed is not transparency.

What is the real truth here? Blue’s Chairman, Bill Bishop, repeatedly told their pet parents, “I can assure you that we’ve never purchased one kernel of corn or one ounce of poultry by-product meal.” Why isn’t Blue Buffalo telling pet parents now that Wilbur Ellis is the same supplier that Bill Bishop blamed for ingredient problems in years past? Click here for link.

Why does Blue Buffalo always have someone else to blame? Remember Blue Buffalo’s angry protests, their countersuit against Purina, their charges of a “smear campaign,” their claims of “voodoo science”? Those are tactics, not truth.

The truth is that this is not someone else’s problem, it is Blue Buffalo’s problem. It is Blue Buffalo’s responsibility to know what is in their products. Amazingly, Blue Buffalo’s Chairman has publicly stated: “Slap on a good label, come up with a slogan, and off you go.” It is this cavalier attitude that is the problem -- an attitude that led Blue Buffalo to make irresponsible allegations of a “smear campaign” against Purina instead of promptly determining the facts. These facts show that there never was any smear campaign. If Blue Buffalo’s latest version of their story is to be believed, Purina knew more about Blue Buffalo’s ingredient suppliers than Blue Buffalo did.

At Purina, we have not used the Texas plant of Wilbur Ellis, formerly known as American By-Products, Inc., in several years. This plant was unable to meet the strict quality control standards we have in place for all of our vendors.

Blue Buffalo owes consumers an apology for all the false statements, false labels, and false advertising. More than this, it is time for Blue Buffalo to be honest with the public and the “pet parents” they profess to care so much about. A half-admission that Blue Buffalo products ‘may’ contain undeclared by-products is simply not acceptable. Pet owners deserve to know what’s truly in Blue Buffalo pet food.



UPDATE

September 19, 2014

As part of our continuing effort to ensure that honesty is the main ingredient in the marketing of pet products, ​late yesterday we ​​​filed an amended complaint ​against The Blue Buffalo Company Ltd., ​expanding the claims of false advertising to include Blue Buffalo's pet treats and cat litter. In addition, new testing shows Blue Buffalo's “LifeSource Bits” actually have lower levels of some key nutrients than their standard kibble.​ ​In​ our​ amended complaint, ​we also make public the results of earlier independent testing that revealed the presence of poultry by-product meals, grains and corn in some of Blue Buffalo’s best-selling products.

View the full press release.

View the Second Amended Complaint.



UPDATE

Statement of Purina Regarding New Blue Buffalo Lawsuit

Blue Buffalo’s lawsuit today is exactly what we expected: a distraction from the real issues in the case and an attempt to stop Purina from being honest with the public about the ingredients in Blue Buffalo’s pet food.

Not only are the allegations in Blue Buffalo's complaint false, the case itself is redundant: we already asked the federal court in St. Louis – three days ago – to review our website and our public statements and rule as a matter of law that they are true.

We stand by our complaint. As detailed in our lawsuit, independent test results show that Blue Buffalo is not being honest with pet owners about the ingredients in their pet food.

And we are not alone in making this claim. Twice over the past several years the National Advertising Division (NAD) of the Council of Better Business Bureaus has recommended that Blue Buffalo modify its deceptive and misleading advertising – related to both their product ingredients and their competitors.

At Purina, we believe that honesty is the most important ingredient in the relationship between pet owners and their pet food company. That is why we have undertaken our lawsuit, and it is why we established a website, www.petfoodhonesty.com, where pet owners can learn the truth. (May 14, 2014)



UPDATE

Statement of Purina

Last week Purina filed a lawsuit detailing independent test results that show that Blue Buffalo is not being honest about the ingredients in many of their best-selling pet foods. We also posted a website, www.petfoodhonesty.com, so that the public can learn more about the issues in the case.

In light of public threats from Blue Buffalo to sue Purina (and even individuals at our company) for defamation, we have amended our complaint to ask the Missouri federal court to review our website and our public statements, and rule – as a matter of law – that they are not defamatory. We are confident in the test results, which show that Blue Buffalo products contain by-products, corn and grain – exactly the opposite of what Blue Buffalo is telling consumers.

Blue, a billion-dollar company that spent more than $50 million in advertising in 2013 attacking “big name manufacturers,” simply doesn’t like that the truth is getting out. We believe consumers deserve honesty, and we are not alone. Our lawsuit follows two separate decisions of the National Advertising Division (NAD) of the Council of Better Business Bureaus recommending Blue Buffalo change advertising it found to be misleading and disparaging against competitors.

At Purina, we believe that honesty is the most important ingredient in the relationship between pet owners and pet food manufacturers. That is why we have filed this action, and that is why we believe the truth will prevail. (May 12, 2014)



UPDATE

From Fox Business News: Blue Buffalo Chairman acknowledges reliance on outside, third-party manufacturers, doesn't entirely rule out the possibility of a manufacturing snafu…

To read the complete article, click here. (May 8, 2014)



UPDATE

Statement of Purina

We've seen Blue Buffalo’s response to our lawsuit and have the following comments:

  • This is exactly what we expected from Blue Buffalo, a billion-dollar company that is not being honest about the ingredients in their pet food. As detailed in our lawsuit, it is time the truth comes out so that pet owners can make the right choice for their pets.
  • For more than 85 years, Purina has been in the pet food business, and 99% of Purina pet food sold in the United States is manufactured at Purina’s own plants in the United States. By contrast, 100% of Blue Buffalo pet food is outsourced and made by third-party manufacturers. Consumers have a right to know who is actually manufacturing Blue Buffalo products.

We are confident in our independent testing, and we look forward to proving our case in court.

We will continue to provide updates to pet owners at www.petfoodhonesty.com. (May 7, 2014)



May 6, 2014

Dear Pet Owner,

Purina believes that honesty is the most important ingredient in the relationship between pet owners and pet food manufacturers, so that pet owners can have trust in the food they choose for their pet.

In the interest of ensuring pet owners understand what is in the pet food they buy, on May 6, Purina filed a lawsuit in U.S. Federal District Court in St. Louis against The Blue Buffalo Company Ltd., for false advertising. We took this action because we believe that Blue Buffalo is not being honest about the ingredients in its pet food.

Here are some facts we’d like you to know:

  • Blue Buffalo’s promotion, advertising and packaging repeatedly and unequivocally state that its pet food products contain “NO Chicken/Poultry By-Product Meals.” As documented in our lawsuit, however, testing conducted by an independent laboratory revealed that several of Blue Buffalo’s top-selling “Life Protection” pet food products actually contain substantial amounts of poultry by-product meal.
  • Independent testing also shows that Blue Buffalo “LifeSource Bits” contain poultry by-product meal and corn. In addition, several Blue Buffalo products promoted as “grain-free” actually contain rice hulls, despite Blue Buffalo stating on its website that its “grain-free” products will “free your pet from the grains and glutens that cause allergic reactions in some dogs.”
  • Our lawsuit follows decisions against Blue Buffalo by the National Advertising Division (NAD) of the Council of Better Business Bureaus. In March 2014, NAD found Blue Buffalo’s advertisements to be misleading and disparaging against competitors’ products. NAD also found Blue Buffalo’s advertising deceptive in a 2008 decision that recommended its superiority claims be modified and its “NO Animal By-Products” claims be discontinued when referencing pet food products that actually do contain animal by-products, such as fish meal, lamb meal and/or liver.

For more than 85 years, Purina has been putting pets first and raising the standards for pet nutrition – from innovative research, to food safety, to sustainable practices. We are invested in the quality of our food because we are a company of pet lovers. Our principles have guided us to take this action to stop misleading and deceptive advertising aimed at pet owners.

We encourage you to learn more about our case, Nestlé Purina PetCare Company v. Blue Buffalo Company Ltd., Civil Case No. 4:14-cv-00859 and the NAD decisions. View the press release.

At Purina, what goes in the bag goes on the label.

– From the Pet Lovers at Purina