**Update February 20, 2016**
Customers can finally reclaim their portion of the $32 million dollar settlement from the class action lawsuit against Blue Buffalo for false advertising.
If you have a receipt, you can go to the website Pet Food Settlement and get a refund of up to $200. If you do not have a receipt, you can receive a $10 refund.
The makers of Blue Buffalo deny any fault on their part. In a recent statement, the company’s founder, Bill Bishop, said:
More than a year ago, we informed our Pet Parents about the misconduct of a former ingredient supplier and a broker. While we will continue to pursue our claims against them, we decided that it is in the best interest of our Pet Parents and our company to resolve the class actions now. All of us at Blue Buffalo continue to work tirelessly to make pet food with the finest natural ingredients for our furry family members.
**Update December 11, 2015**
Blue Buffalo has settled a class action lawsuit for 32 million dollars. The lawsuit claimed that the company was guilty of false advertising because they claimed that their foods did not include by-products. As part of the settlement, the company will pay individual customers a monetary amount based on the number of Blue Buffalo products they have purchased.
Representatives for the company say that this settlement is not an admission of wrongdoing. Founder Bill Bishop says that the issue is with the company’s suppliers:
More than a year ago, we informed our Pet Parents about the misconduct of a former ingredient supplier and a broker. While we will continue to pursue our claims against them, we decided that it is in the best interest of our Pet Parents and our company to resolve the class actions now.
The Nestlé Purina Petcare company, who also has a lawsuit against Blue Buffalo for similar claims, released a statement on the settlement:
Blue Buffalo’s announcement of a $32 million consumer class action settlement – the largest pet food class action settlement ever – comes a full seven months after Blue admitted mislabeling products and 19 months after Purina sued Blue Buffalo for false advertising and misleading pet parents. Purina is pleased Blue Buffalo is beginning to accept responsibility for its false advertising and mislabeling. Purina’s separate false advertising case against Blue Buffalo continues.
We will continue to update this story with more information if it becomes available.
In May of 2014, dog food makers Purina filed a lawsuit against Blue Buffalo for false advertising.
Keith Schopp, a spokesperson for Nestlé Purina Petcare, says:
“Through a $50 million annual advertising campaign that flooded airwaves and pet food aisles alike, Blue Buffalo told consumers over and over, emphatically and without qualification, that its products never contain poultry by-product meal.”
Blue Buffalo’s website does indeed claim that they do not use by-products:
“At Blue Buffalo we use “Chicken Meal” or “Turkey Meal” made from the whole meat of the birds, not by-products. Poultry or chicken by-product meals cost a lot less than meals made from whole meat. At Blue Buffalo we think the cost is well worth it to know exactly what’s in our food.”
Purina also alleges that this advertising campaign directly attacked the integrity of their company and others like them.
This is backed up by information on Blue Buffalo’s website:
“Some brands cut corners by using protein from chicken or poultry by-product meals, or even worse, from corn, corn gluten meal, soy or soybean meal–not Blue.”
Blue has repeatedly denied claims that their food contains meat by-products, but the company made a startling admission in court on Wednesday. According to a press release from Purina, Blue acknowledged that their products contained a “substantial” and “material” amount of by-products.”
It’s important to note that Purina’s claim is not that meat by-products are bad for consumers, as by-products can be nutrient-rich ingredients.
The Pet Food Institute notes that:
“The by-products used in pet food are an important source of protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and essential amino acids. Like all pet food ingredients, by-products from animals or grains are safe, nutritious and approved for use in pet food by federal and state government agencies.”
The website Ask A Vet A Question explains:
“We don’t like the idea of eating chicken feet, but really, they are mostly bone with a small amount of muscle covering them. It is good to have a certain amount of bone in dog food. It is important for maintenance of proper calcium and phosphorus levels. There is no difference in the nutritional quality of a chicken foot bone vs a chicken wing or breast bone.”
And even though we don’t like to think about it, hoomans eat meat by-products all of the time in products like sausage and hot dogs. Plus, chicken feet are a delicacy in some parts of the world!
For Purina, this is about honesty and giving pawrents as much information as possible so that they can properly decide what to feed their pets.
“Offering a variety of pet foods allows consumers, along with their veterinarians, to decide what’s best to feed their beloved pets. What’s in the bag, should be on the label to allow pet parents to make those informed decisions.”
Blue Buffalo could not be reached for comment at this time. We will update this article as news develops.