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Blue Buffalo Files Countersuit Against Purina Pet Foods

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The Blue Buffalo Company today formally filed a countersuit against Nestle Purina in response to Purina’s claims that the pet food company was using false advertising, mislabeling products containing grains as grain-free, and claiming that their products contained no by-products despite a Purina-hired analyst finding poultry by-products in their pet food.

Blue Buffalo vehemently denies all claims by the pet food giant and is now countersuing on grounds of defamation, unfair competition, false advertising and trade-practice violations.

Blue Buffalo’s Founder & Chairman Bill Bishop wrote the following letter to pet parents to explain:

Dear Pet Parents,

I just wanted to let you know that today we formally addressed Nestle Purina’s unfounded attack on Blue Buffalo’s integrity and product quality by filing a lawsuit against this multinational giant. In our lawsuit we demand that Nestle Purina be held accountable for their actions, and that they stop their carefully orchestrated P.R. campaign designed to erode the trust that pet parents place in our BLUE brand. Product quality has always been at the center of everything we do at Blue Buffalo, so we are not about to let Nestle Purina make derogatory and unsubstantiated claims about our company, our people and our products.

Legal technicalities may allow them to refuse to provide any details about their so called “independent” research, but the simple truth is that a product reflects the ingredients it is made with, and I can assure you that we’ve never purchased one kernel of corn or one ounce of poultry by-product meal…two ingredients that Nestle Purina claims to have found in our food.

Unlike Nestle, who has a history of favoring litigation over fair and open competition, this is not the way Blue Buffalo likes to do business. We’d much prefer an environment of transparency in which pet parents know the ingredients of every pet food, and decide for themselves which one they want to feed their dog or cat. This is exactly why Blue Buffalo’s advertising urges pet parents to compare ingredients, and why our products are only available in pet specialty stores, where an owner, manager or store associate is capable of providing shoppers with educated guidance on brand selection.

Nestle Purina, on the other hand, believes in “happy dog” advertising and is focused on selling their products in grocery and discount stores where no knowledgeable sales associate is available, and where impulse purchases are driven by pretty package designs that avoid the truth of what’s actually in the bag. Their Beneful brand is a great example of this type of sleight of hand, as the front of the bag features real beef, chicken or fish, while the ingredient listing features corn and chicken by-product meal as the leading ingredients…but, to be fair, salmon finally shows up as the 6th ingredient listed on their Beneful Healthy Radiance dog food…right after animal fat!

While the courts will be handling this matter in a deliberate way, we intend to remain very proactive in defending our company’s integrity and our product quality. The truth is on Blue Buffalo’s side, and we’re not about to let Nestle Purina’s big-time PR team spin their false claims without responding.

All of us at Blue Buffalo appreciate your continued support, and we love hearing how well your pets are doing on our BLUE foods. That’s the kind of proof that money can’t buy.

May the Buff be with you,
Bill Bishop
Bill Bishop
Founder and Chairman
Blue Buffalo

Nestle Purina continues to stand behind their claims and denies these allegations against them.

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42 Comments

42 Comments

  1. Avatar Of Peggy Churchill

    Peggy Churchill

    says:

    I am so very disappointed. I spent days studying different foods before choosing Blue and I am even apart of the recall information Blue puts out. I decided on Blue grain free because I wanted to give my dog (my best friend, who trusts me for the best care possible) the best food available so she would be a healthy baby for many, many years. I have stuck to Blue for her treats and I average around $200.00 a month in food and treats. Now I don’t know what to do, My Vet told me to change to Pro Plan Grain Free after he showed me an article about the items put in Blue food. Do I throw out all her treats and food or do I believe you. How am I to know the truth? I am so disappointed, I have argued with others in support of you. I do not let people feed her anything but Blue. I am changing brands until someone can convince me that Blue is best. My dog is 10 years old. I can’t believe this happening, I trusted your company.

  2. Avatar Of Roberta Morgan

    Roberta Morgan

    says:

    I feed my dogs the canned Blue Buffalo. I was reading an article about allergies that dogs have. It said that some are allergic to chicken. My boxer had constant ear infections. Read the article, read labels and chose Blue Buffalo without chicken. No more ear infections! Blue Buffalo may cost more, but over all it is cheaper than medicine all the time.

  3. Avatar Of Frederic

    Frederic

    says:

    When we adopted our pup 4months ago
    He is now 6months of age it was HIGHLY
    SUGGESTED WE FEED OUR PUP BLUE BUFFALO
    and we did some research and we read and read
    PURINA’s Brand and a few others . And we decided
    To go with BLUE BUFFALO. our puppy is doing very well
    And we will not change Brands.

  4. Avatar Of Kathy

    Kathy

    says:

    Besides the ingredients and WHERE the dog food is made I have learned to look at the websites of the brand before I buy it and convert my dogs to a healthier kibble. Carna4 and Nature’s Logic…my dogs love the taste and I like what I’ve found/read on their websites. I believe these 2 healthy brands have cured some of my dogs from their runny stinky poop.

  5. Avatar Of Miltapher

    Miltapher

    says:

    They are probably targeting Blue Buffalo because they advertise on television. The other brands are quiet and not seen on television. Some of these smaller dog food companies are making high quality products and have a lot of respect in the dog world, unlike Purina.

    With the internet people can do their own research and find a better pet food. I guess they need to attack the most visible alternative to their crap products.

  6. Avatar Of Jon Landre

    Jon Landre

    says:

    I’ve looked at bags of BB and they all say, “distributed by …”, which indicates it is not made by BB but by another company or companies. I tried to find out by talking with them and emailing them, but they would not tell me. In fact, when I got too nosey for them, one of their field sales managers was told to ignore me. It is important to me to know who makes my dog’s food. I know their food is made by another company who makes other supposedly lesser brands of pet foods. Cross contamination is likely and could leave traces of grains and chicken by-products. Why doesn’t BB make their own food? Is it because they care more for $$$ instead of your dog’s/cat’s health? Simply wondering….

  7. Avatar Of Brenda

    Brenda

    says:

    Blue Buffalo brand dog food is the ONLY commercially prepared pet food we feed our dogs, and that is how it will remain. We trust this company, whereas other companies broke that trust long ago.

    Please keep doing what you do so well. My dogs and I love you for it!

  8. Avatar Of Jamie

    Jamie

    says:

    Years ago Purina pet food was bought out by nestle. So it is a large box brand. I feed exclusively purina to my horses which is a different company all together. I do feed Blue Buffalo to my dog. What I find interesting is purina was threatened enough to attack Blue Buffalo and single them out. Blue must be taking away some business from purina and they feel threatened. Next they will try to buy them out. That’s how it works.

  9. Avatar Of Mary

    Mary

    says:

    I feed my dogs Blue grain free and they are very healthy. Both of them have allergies but they are not food allergies. But that is the ONLY thing I have had to take them to the vet for and one of them is 10 years old. You really can’t argue with that. He wouldn’t be that healthy on chicken by-products and corn or feathers. He loves the food and unlike some dogs I don’t have to switch every few months because he gets tired of it. I use both the dry and canned. I think it is outrageous that Purina of all companies would go after Blue. It is a travesty.

  10. Avatar Of Laura Salvatore

    Laura Salvatore

    says:

    What I feed my dogs is my business and I DESPISE anyone telling me that if I feed Purina products I am “killing my dogs”. I have fed Pro Plan successfully for well over 20 years and have very healthy, long lived dogs. Excellent condition, beautiful coats, and they have never turned up their noses at it.
    There is a reason that top winning dogs in all venues are fed Pro Plan.
    And calling pet owners “pet parents” feeds straight into animal rights activist agendas.

    • Avatar Of Jaye

      Jaye

      says:

      I wouldn’t make a broad statement that the top winning dogs in all venues are fed Pro Plan because that isn’t factual. Purina sponsors but that doesn’t mean that all the dog owners feed them that food. I fed my dogs with Purina for years and when I switched to Blue Buffalo they were much better off physically, MY choice.

      • Avatar Of Laura Salvatore

        Laura Salvatore

        says:

        I did not say THE top winning dogs, but rather “top winning”. And that IS a fact. The #1 Dog in the country in 2010 – The Smooth Fox Terrier “Dodger” was and is fed Pro Plan. The #1 Dog in the country 2012 -The GWHP “Oakley”. This year’s BIS at Westminster – The Wire Fox Terrier “Sky”is fed Pro Plan. Many of the top winning field, agility and obedienceare, as well. And it is NOT just a sponsorship. The dogs ARE fed the product. I can attest to that having worked for the handlers of the #1 dogs in ’10 and ’12, as well as seeing other top handlers (and winning breeder/owner/handlers) feeding Pro Plan on the bigger circuits.

        • Avatar Of Mary

          Mary

          says:

          Purina is horrible. End of story. So many people say they have fed their dogs crappy food for years and their dogs are top notch healthy and have never had problems. Sorry, but you are wrong. If you feed a dog or cat anything that doesn’t list a meat (and not a meat by-product)as it’s first ingredient, it’s complete crap food. As a pet nutritionist, I can tell you this. I’ve done so much research, fed so many dogs various different diets, and every study was the same.

          I do not for one second believe that your dogs coats looked horrible when you started feeding them holistic food. Ask any GOOD vet, and they will tell you the same. Purina (whether it’s Pro Plan or not) is absolute garbage. You may as well feed them table scraps.

  11. Avatar Of Daniel Simpson

    Daniel Simpson

    says:

    I used to haul into Nestle/Purina plants, and I want you good folks to kow that what they put into their dog food would NOT be considered a safe dog food by ANY stretch of the imagination. Their food is total garbage, and will kill your dogs. I would NEVER EVER EVER give any dog the garbage that comes from Purina. Their commerials touting their sage dog food are LIES!!! They DO NOT care about your dogs, only the dollar in your pocket. They spend MILLIONS to drop BS claims against good pet food manufacturers, but won’t spend a damn dime to improve the garbage they call food. I feed both og my girls the Blue, small breed crunchy and the moist. They love it, and have done so great on it. PLEASE, PLEASE, don’t buy into Purina’s lies, they will say anything to steal money from you. Blue is the best food for my dogs, and for any dogs ON THIS PLANET. Anyone that has a derrogatory comment against Blue can just go f-ck themselves. They are scum, just like Purina. I would LOVE to see Blue smash the Purina scum in a court of law, and be made to publicly apologize and admit they made false claims against Blue for monetary gain, and be made to compensate Blue for any and ALL nies spent to defend themselves against this ILLEGAL AND DEFAMATORY crap from Purina. Blue is the BEST food available, HANDS DOWN, & I would still buy it for my girls if it were $5.00 a can!! You can’t pay people to buy Purina sh1t….

    • Avatar Of Laura Salvatore

      Laura Salvatore

      says:

      Your foul language does little to support your position and frankly makes one wonder if you are a disgruntled ex employee who may have been fired.

      • Avatar Of Skip

        Skip

        says:

        Laura I used to haul into Purina at St. Louis and what I hauled was chicken by-product, namely Feather meal, cooked ground feathers. Give your dog a handful of feathers and see if they eat them. This man is telling the truth.

        • Avatar Of Laura Salvatore

          Laura Salvatore

          says:

          Thank you Skip. I appreciate your verbiage.
          All I can say is that people need to feed what their dogs do best on. I have in fact tried another”holistic, grain free, all meat” food and while the dogs liked it at first, within 6 months they wouldn’t eat it, coats looked awful, stools were terrible, and overall condition decreased. I went back to Pro Plan. Took several months to get my dogs back to where they looked fantastic, but they never turned their noses up, are VERY healthy, long lived (Goldens and Pointers – 14-16 years is typical for us) and other than routine care (I include annual eye exams, other clearances, and vaccinations as being routine) we rarely see our vet.
          Everyone compares these grain and by-product free foods to how wild carnivores eat, but cherry pick out the fact that they will eat “by-products” and even grains. My dogs would happily scarf down some pretty nasty stuff – road kill, garbage, dead fish, etc. Much of what is marketed today for pet foods is simply to make pet owners feel like better “pet parents”. Again, top winning dogs in all venues have been thriving on Pro Plan. My show dogs sure have. I really don’t care what anyone feeds their dogs, but when mine ate demonstrably healthier, fitter, and longer lived than many dogs I know are fed holistic/all natural/ and even raw diets, I take offense when told that I feed.them “crap” and am killing.them.

      • Avatar Of Marlena

        Marlena

        says:

        I agree! A disgruntled ex-employee or someone from the brand in question spouting off, using profanity to make it look like a ‘trucker’ wrote it. As I was married to a truck driver I know they all don’t speak like that to make a point. That post is highly questionable.

      • Avatar Of Jamieb

        jamieb

        says:

        If only that were a for sure thing. We have had foul mouthed presidents, famous leaders, famous civil rights people and more. It means nothing other than its how they like to communicated.

        Also being disgruntled is not always bad either, maybe he felt bad helping them make such crap product. Like say a engineer who quits over unsafe specs on a car. That makes you a good person, not a bad person.

        It means more, you took honor and ethics over a job.

  12. Avatar Of Gloria Violi

    Gloria Violi

    says:

    We switched our Boston Terrier Buddy to Blue food and biscuits about 7 years ago and he loved them and did very well. Unfortunately we lost our beloved Buddy on April 7, 2014. He was over 13 years old. We credit his long life on both his superior diet and the love and care we gave him. We are still grieving his death and it is hard for me to talk about him, but I have to speak out in support of The Blue Buffalo Company! We feel Blue Is a superior food. A sales associate with advanced knowledge regarding the good ingredients in Blue showed us the limited whole foods’ ingredients in the food, the life source bits and explained the company’s philosophy about nutrition. We were immediately convinced on the spot to change foods. We were feeding Buddy another “good” food at the time (not Purina) and were appalled that the first ingredient was chicken by-products. Blue Buffalo is a family company and the food was created first by Blue’s owner to help his beloved dog, “Blue” who was sick. The love and care that went into creating the first protocol for the Blue food line was very personal to the owners. We will fully support The Blue Buffalo Company in its counter lawsuit against Nestle Purina! We believe in the company and trust them.

  13. Avatar Of Debra

    Debra

    says:

    I like Blue Diamond Dog food, but do not like that they refer to pet owners as pet “parents.” This is a terminology change started by the animal radicals at PETA and HSUS. They use their donations to sponsor anti-pet legislation throughout the country. The reason this is so bad is because pet “parents” raises the position of the animal to that of a human and will cause Veterinarians to have to do unnecessary tests and procedures to protect themselves from lawsuits over the care of dogs and cats. Also, pet owners can only recover the worth of the animal, while pet parents could recover the worth of the animal and also punitive damages for pain and suffering. Pet “parents” could also lose their animals if they don’t treat them like they are children. Don’t fall into this trap.

    • Avatar Of Vanessa

      Vanessa

      says:

      I won’t argue where the term “pet parent” comes from because I frankly don’t care. When you make the decision to obtain a pet whether your adopt from a shelter or purchase from a reliable breeder you are making a commitment to care for that animal to the very best of your ability for the entirety of it’s life. That commitment is tantamount to having a human child and is best described by both the noun and verb definitions of the word “parent”. The term makes sense to me and I am not offended by it. Would you not bring your pet to the vet’s office if it were having a health issue? Humans domesticated animals and have an absolute responsibility to care for them.

      Any dog food found in a grocery store is of terrible quality. The only reason I can accept for those purchases are purely financial if one can’t afford high quality food their pet I understand. Do be advised while the short term is cheaper the long term of poor health, more vet visits and pain of losing a pet is literally not worth it.

      I am glad for those who have healthy animals that live long lives while being fed Purina or brands like it. You are truly lucky and I hope your pet stays healthy. Don’t forget aside from good physical health, shiny coat, healthy skin etc your pet’s behavior can be influenced by its diet. My dog went through a detox period when I went from a good quality food to high quality food and I was amazed by the transformation.

      I don’t understand in this day and age with all of the information we have at our finger tips how anyone does not understand how horrible unethical companies like purina/nestle are. They are detrimental to both humans and animals. A simple internet search will provide you with countless obscene examples.

      It’s one thing to promote your product it’s quite another to discredit another one’s for your own profit. It’s dirty and gross just like the “food” they sell.

      • Avatar Of Mary

        Mary

        says:

        Thank you! I totally agree. People that get offended by terms like “fur babies” or “pet parents” are beyond me. If people are loving and caring their pets, who are you to judge?

  14. Avatar Of Sue

    Sue

    says:

    Best of luck with the counter suit against Nestle Purina!! I despise huge corporations where the ONLY concern is the bottom line! I switched my dogs to a raw diet after several years of Blue…nothing against BB at all just feel raw is better than processed. Blue always had great customer service, something Purina certainly cannot claim!!!

  15. Avatar Of Sammy

    sammy

    says:

    I for one cannot afford their food anyways..By the way grains are not as bad as they say they are for dogs according to a article I read…Oh and another brands of dog food has had recalls also …my dogs hate all the expensive brands of dog food..Smart dogs!!!!!

    • Avatar Of Mary

      Mary

      says:

      Smart because it’s too expensive for you to purchase? No. When you switch a pet to a new food, it can take several weeks for them to adjust to it.

  16. Avatar Of Grace Shumate

    Grace Shumate

    says:

    Love what your food has in it, and love
    what it does not have in.
    My Sunny (cat) loves his food!!
    Thank you!!

  17. Avatar Of Cora Blankenship

    Cora Blankenship

    says:

    You wont let me comment other than what u want.BAD COMPANY,..,………
    ..

  18. Avatar Of Judy

    Judy

    says:

    I tried many different kinds of dog food when I got my mini schnauzer. I finally found one that he would eat and it was Blue Buffalo. All of the big brand name foods were eliminated and Blue Buffalo came out on top. I constantly watch for the recalls on dog food because I foster dogs as well. Blue Buffalo has not had any recalls to my knowledge, but check out Purina’s record.

  19. Avatar Of Pam Lewis

    pam Lewis

    says:

    I gave my dog beneful to see if she liked it & it landed her in the hospital for 5 days with 2 transfusion and tons of medications. She was so lucky to survive after She was give a 50% chanch. 3000 dollars later & prescription food for life. Thanks to beneful. Im glad your going after them.

  20. Avatar Of Kristie

    Kristie

    says:

    7 rescues all on BB Limited Ingredient Diet.

  21. Avatar Of Marcia

    Marcia

    says:

    My dog got sick from eating Beneful, but we’re among the lucky ones — he survived. He still has relapses from time to time. If you research the ingredients in Beneful, you will be horrified. No wonder Fred got sick from eating that!

    we advise people to avoid ALL Nestle/Purina products and to look for a good grain-free dog food, like Blue Buffalo, although there are many more.

    thank you for your excellent followup to last week’s article. It does seem strange that Nestle/Purina is happy to spend money to research Blue’s ingredients but won’t spend a dime on theirs. 100% of the last corn crop harvested was contaminated with aflatoxins, a special mold that grows on corn. We have seen quite a few deaths from Beneful’s “Healthy Radiance” already. Trying to talk to Purina is useless. Maybe legal language will catch their attention.

    Thank you for standing up for smaller dog food producers and sellers and the real winners and losers in this lawsuit – the consumers. My dog Fred was very pleased to hear this news.

  22. Avatar Of Linda S.

    Linda S.

    says:

    I will remain a loyal customer. I trust your product and Blue Buffalo offers an extensive line of options in both dry and wet dog food. It is one of the best quality dog foods on the market.

    • Avatar Of Elaine

      Elaine

      says:

      We have been feeding Blue Buffalo for as many years as they have been around. Our animals all do well on it, especially the ones with food allergies. We would NEVER, EVER feed anything with animal byproducts, meals or grains in it. My friend feeds her dogs the cheaper crap foods and always has vet bills. I try to tell her to feed a quality feed and stop paying the big vet bills! So simple, penny wise and pound foolish. Start with a great foundation and everything else will fall in place.
      I used to show cats, no good breeders ever fed junk to their animals, maybe its different in the dog world, but I cannot see any serious dog show people feeding Purina trash to their expensive dogs!
      Go Blue!

  23. Avatar Of Debra Duffy

    Debra Duffy

    says:

    I hope this works out in Blue’s favor. A giant like Nestle/Purina whose primary product is not dog food is bound to put things in their dog food products that pet parents don’t want. It’s all a matter of profit for Nestle/Purina. I think Blue Buffalo’s mistake was signing on with them in it he first place. They probably had to do it to remain competitive, but look what has happened now. Now they have to spend more money to defend their credibility.

  24. Avatar Of Martha

    Martha

    says:

    Isn’t it odd that Nestle Purina refuses to do “independent research” on the crap they sell as pet food products, but is willing to invest money into researching pet food manufacturers?
    SAD!

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