Purina: Where Honesty Is Our First Ingredient

UPDATE

For Immediate Release:

PURINA EXPANDS CLAIMS OF FALSE ADVERTISING AGAINST BLUE BUFFALO TO INCLUDE PET TREATS AND CAT LITTER

In an amended complaint, Purina makes available results of new testing and earlier independent testing that showed presence of poultry by-product meals, grains and corn in many of Blue Buffalo’s best-selling products. The new testing shows Blue Buffalo is not being honest in claims for dog treats, cat litter and its LifeSource Bits, as detailed in the amended complaint.

ST. LOUIS, MO (September 19, 2014) – Amid continued questions about the honesty of Blue Buffalo’s advertising practices, Nestlé Purina PetCare Company (Purina) last night filed an amended complaint in its false advertising lawsuit against the company, alleging additional false advertising in the marketing of Blue Buffalo’s pet food, treats and cat litter.

In a follow-up to Purina’s original May 6 false advertising lawsuit, the amended complaint includes new testing showing that:

  • Despite intensive advertising to the contrary, Blue Buffalo’s touted “LifeSource Bits” actually have lower levels of some key nutrients than the standard kibble found in Blue Buffalo pet food.
  • Blue Buffalo’s claims that its cat litter products have “three times the absorption power” of the leading clay-based litter, and “1.5X-8.5X More Odor Control” than leading clumping litter, are also false and misleading against Purina’s litter products.

In addition, the amended complaint highlights the fact that Blue Buffalo’s own ingredient listings show that its “Jolly Joints” dog treats contain inadequate levels of glucosamine to provide the joint and hip health benefits they claim.

“Pet owners deserve more than just ‘smoke and mirrors’ when it comes to the food they feed their pets,” said Steven Crimmins, Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of Nestlé Purina. “Sadly, the closer you look at Blue Buffalo’s advertising claims, the more you realize that it’s not about an honest relationship with pet owners.”

“Testing shows the nutrition in the LifeSource bits isn’t what Blue claims it is,” Crimmins continued. “For many key nutritional components for their pets, owners would be better off without the LifeSource Bits.”

As to dog treats, the amended complaint alleges that a medium-sized dog would have to eat hundreds of Jolly Joints treats a day to get the health benefits Blue Buffalo promises based upon published research. “There’s nothing ‘jolly’ about that,” Crimmins said.

In conjunction with the filing of a second amended complaint in U.S. Federal Court in St. Louis, Purina also released the results of earlier independent testing of Blue Buffalo pet foods, which showed the presence of poultry by-product meals, grains and corn in some of its best-selling products. The preliminary report, by Windsor Laboratories of Mechanicsburg, Pa., can be found on a website Purina created to provide information about the lawsuit: petfoodhonesty.com. Windsor Laboratories is a well-recognized laboratory specializing in microscopic analysis for the agricultural and other related industries, including the pet food industry. Its owner, Dr. James V. Makowski, is the author and lead editor of Microscopic Analysis of Agricultural Products (4th Edition, 2010), a training resource on the subject of microscopic analysis of agricultural products used by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The new amended complaint comes just weeks after an appellate panel of the National Advertising Review Board (NARB) upheld the March 25, 2014, NAD decision determining that Blue Buffalo's advertising claims targeting other pet food companies were unsupported and recommending Blue Buffalo discontinue and/or modify such claims. In response, Blue Buffalo stated that it will abide by the NARB and NAD recommendations in future advertisements and has already revamped its “True Blue Test.”

Purina’s complaint estimates that Blue Buffalo spent approximately $50 million in 2013 – and will spend that or more in 2014 – to advertise its claims that Blue Buffalo ingredients are superior to competitors. Blue Buffalo is majority owned by Invus Group, a $4 billion private equity firm with offices in New York, Paris and Hong Kong.

Purina has been a leading provider of pet food and pet care products for more than 85 years, and Purina pet food is quality- and safety-checked multiple times before it is sold. Purina also maintains strict quality control over its manufacturing process – 99 percent of Purina pet food sold in the United States is manufactured at Purina plants in the United States.

The case is Nestlé Purina PetCare Company v. Blue Buffalo Company Ltd., Civil Case No. 4:14-cv-00859.

A copy of the amended complaint, and other key information regarding the lawsuit can also be found at www.petfoodhonesty.com.

About Purina

Purina promotes responsible pet care, humane education, community involvement and the positive bond between people and their pets. The North American headquarters for Nestlé Purina PetCare is located at Checkerboard Square in St. Louis, Mo., where the company was founded more than a century ago.

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MEDIA CONTACT: Keith Schopp
Nestlé Purina PetCare Company
(314) 982-2577
Keith.Schopp@purina.nestle.com
For more information: www.petfoodhonesty.com



For Immediate Release:

PURINA SUES BLUE BUFFALO FOR FALSE ADVERTISING AND DISPARAGEMENT

Independent testing shows Blue Buffalo is not being honest about its ingredients

ST. LOUIS, MO (May 6, 2014) – Nestlé Purina PetCare Company (Purina) today announced that it has filed a lawsuit in federal court in St. Louis against The Blue Buffalo Company Ltd., for false advertising, disparagement and unjust enrichment – including violations of the Federal Lanham Act (15 U.S.C. §1125(a)).

A copy of the complaint and exhibits can be found at a website Purina has created to highlight its concerns: www.petfoodhonesty.com.

“This is not an action we take lightly,” said Steven Crimmins, Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of Nestlé Purina. “We believe consumers deserve honesty when it comes to the ingredients in the food they choose to feed their pets.”

“Our commitment to owners and their pets is not a marketing ploy or advertising slogan,” Crimmins added. “At Purina, what goes in the bag goes on the label.”

Blue Buffalo’s promotion, advertising and packaging repeatedly and unequivocally state that its pet food products contain “NO Chicken/Poultry By-Product Meals.” In its complaint, Purina alleges that testing conducted by an independent laboratory revealed that several of Blue Buffalo’s top-selling “Life Protection” pet food products contained significant percentages of poultry by-product meal. Testing was done from samples of multiple formulas of Blue Buffalo pet food purchased at retail stores on both the East and West Coasts. Further details on the testing can be found in the complaint.

Further details on the testing can be found in the complaint.

The complaint also alleges that testing shows 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.”

The complaint estimates that Blue Buffalo spent approximately $50 million in 2013 to promote its claims that Blue Buffalo ingredients are superior to competitors. As a result, Blue Buffalo charges premium prices for its products – significantly more than the pet food products they use for comparison purposes on the Blue Buffalo website.

The lawsuit follows a March 2014 decision of the National Advertising Division (NAD) of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, which found that Blue Buffalo is engaging in misleading advertising practices with respect to its claims about competing products. The NAD decision recommended that Blue Buffalo correct its television ad campaigns by removing all of its allegations that Blue Buffalo’s competitors are misleading consumers.

A copy of the NAD decision was attached as an exhibit to the Purina complaint.

Purina has been a leading provider of pet food and pet care products for more than 85 years, and Purina pet food is quality- and safety-checked multiple times before it is sold. Purina also maintains strict quality control over its manufacturing process – 99 percent of Purina pet food sold in the United States is manufactured at Purina plants in the United States. By contrast, 100 percent of Blue Buffalo pet food is outsourced to third-party manufacturers.

Purina’s lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri in St. Louis. The case is Nestlé Purina PetCare Company v. Blue Buffalo Company Ltd., Civil Case No. 4:14-cv-00859.

About Purina

Purina promotes responsible pet care, humane education, community involvement and the positive bond between people and their pets. The North American headquarters for Nestlé Purina PetCare is located at Checkerboard Square in St. Louis, Mo., where the company was founded more than a century ago.

###

MEDIA CONTACT: Keith Schopp
Nestlé Purina PetCare Company
(314) 982-2577
Keith.Schopp@purina.nestle.com
For more information: www.petfoodhonesty.com