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FDA Responses to Blue’s By-Products Issue

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  1. Marco

    Let’s keep making noise and put these manufacturers out of business with bad practices and continuous recalls. Blue Buffalo denied for months. Lied. They don’t even know what is going in their food. They tried to pass the buck too. Stop buying Blue Buffalo. I returned my products last week.

    1. charlotte

      Is Blue Buffalo the bad one here. I don’t think so -they were scammed. They ordered one thing and got another.

      1. Janine

        I don’t think they were scammed – I think they’ve always used it and were laughing all the way to the bank.

  2. BC

    I am furious at Blue. As a $1000 a mo consumer who has been ripped off and cheated with being sold a bill of goods for an over priced pet food – not to mention the animals health in my care which I thought I was paying for – where is the consumer lawsuit I can sign onto.

  3. Gayze

    Thanks for following up with this issue, Susan. However, I suspect, considering my own past experiences, that Blue Buffalo will not respond to your inquiries as to how they discovered the issue, other than with a canned response of some sort. I stopped using all BB products a couple of years ago when I was attempting to get accurate information on some claims that were floating around, they did not answer their phone numbers, and any attempts to email them simply got me the same canned response (“excuse”) over and over again. I stopped trusting Blue at that point and switched to other foods.

    Best of luck, and I’ll be following this (as I do most of your research articles) in the hopes that I’m wrong! 🙂

  4. Gitta

    This sounds more like a civil lawsuit/small claims court action for affected customers. After all, they paid a hefty price for something they did not receive. It may be a question as to who is going to be responsible. Blue Buffalo or their supplier. In my mind, Blue Buffalo failed to establish any quality control measures that would have discovered this. They had no problem taking customer money. And in light of their aggressive marketing, there is no excuse.

    I do see why the FDA is not the authority to get involved here.

    1. Interested Party

      I can see where an Agency would draw a line between intentional misrepresentation / labeling and unintentional. Probably because BB (seemingly) had an “explanation” for the mistake, and “claims” they will no longer do business with WE, then BB isn’t facing a penalty.

      Now if there’s a long standing problem, then that might be another matter. Unfortunately the real issue is the fact that there’s no consistent testing (or sampling) unless there’s already reason for suspicion. The only way Evanger’s mislabeling was called out was because they were already on the “radar” with other infractions. (My personal opinion) is that BB was probably shocked to actually be caught since they weren’t even testing the supplier until they needed their “explanation.” It was probably planned this way all along.

  5. Wolf

    What qualifies as a serious health concern? For animals with GI issues and/or allergies, mislabeled products are a big concern. Not to mention the general fraud for the rest of us.

    1. Peter

      Wolf, you have made an ESPECIALLY IMPORTANT point. It COULD be life threatening. (Sorry for the shouting).

      That the FDA apparently will not become involved in an issue when products are mislabeled, and, the supplier may have sold the mis-labeled ingredients to other vendors, we don’t even know the reach of this problem. Yet, we cannot rely on the FDA, which is charged with “administering” the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, to intervene.

  6. Christine

    The FDA. What a joke! The FDA will NEVER allow a study of a natural substances that have the ability to cure cancer so what does that tell you? It’s about money people. It is not about our companions health or human health. I would truly like to know how Blue Buffalo missed this ingredient. Do they test ALL incoming ingredients or not? Now, if there was deceit from this Wilbur-Ellis company, true deceit, we have a double fold issue. That company should be shut down! Any other company getting ingredients from them should drop W-E like a hot stone. I’m sure many companies won’t even care. Perhaps even consider a lawsuit if that is possible? People/companies need to be held accountable. But, if Blue Buffalo dropped the ball then they need to take some responsibility and be honest with the public and not give a canned answer. This is one reason why I NEVER believe what I read on a label but will call the company and ask for documented information. That goes for organics as well. We put our trust in the market and while many companies are excellent and provide clean products, many do not because the average person is ignorant. It all goes back to educating ourselves, asking our questions and getting our answers and then making our informed choices. Don’t look to any government agency to have you or your companions health interest in mind.

  7. Suzanne

    I recently bought six cans of Blue cat food — all grain free in different flavors and varieties (Wildnerness, Indoor, etc). The two I opened smelled horribly; looked worse; and my cat which is a rescue and not all fussy; turned up his nose at both attempts. I returned the unopened cans to Petsmart and told them that the quality was very different from the last time I purchased Blue cat food. I also mentioned that I didn’t like their response/lack thereof with respect to the mislabeling story. Definitely not the company they started out as nor the company they claim to be.

    1. Peter

      Many of the “big names” have reformulated their recipes over the last couple of years (“improved” them, they say). “Least cost mix” protocols that most manufacturers integrate into their recipes and manufacturing processes dictate that they must constantly search for lower cost alternatives as they source ingredients. Consumers are at a disadvantage, since products can change but the manufacturer is not required to re-label the package for months. You may not be getting what you think you are paying for, and the seller has no obligation to inform you. Theoretically, you could be purchasing “mis-labeled” goods over and over… provided the 6-month labeling rule was adhered to. And it could hit you every time you “change brands” for whatever reason. What other industry has parameters of notification to the consumer that are so meaningless?

  8. Sarah

    Thank you so much for making this information public. So so important for people to understand that the system is not working for our beloved four footed companions.

  9. Mikki

    I’ve been using BB for years! I always thought it was considered the ‘best’ quality and was willing to pay extra for it. Does anyone have any alternative recommendations? I don’t mind paying more for bette quality food, but BB is clearly a big ripoff!.

  10. Lonnie

    Keep in mind – Its not just “Blue” … (perhaps the first / only to publically acknowledge the problem) The Chapman Study proves this is a wide spread problem.

  11. Nina

    Oh, for pity’s sake…it is still poultry…in this case. It’s not like they included peanuts in a non-peanut chocolate bar! There is no health concern in this instance.

    1. Nina

      Don’t get me wrong…there should be consequences for mislabeling…whatever the reason…

    2. Reader

      Nina, please expect a lot of reaction to your comment (or at least mine) for whatever it’s worth. Probably “sleeping dogs would let lie” except that BB initiated the first salvo with rather arrogant advertising. Making it sound like the end of the world for the people being duped by “big name brands.” Well if By-Products aren’t such a big deal in the first place, then why should consumers (as advertised) bother to take the BB Test?? Why pay more for a (so-called) premium product when you can just pick up anything old thing (including By-Product ingredients) from Costco or Walmart? Let’s look at it this way. When you buy a multiple thousand dollar car you expect every part of it to be quality assured by the manufacturer. Because that’s their responsibility. And that’s kind of the point here. BB needs to declare what they’re selling, and if they can’t guarantee a third party’s delivery, then they should be sure to include on their label all ingredient variations. Pretty simple thinking.

      Except for the PFI.

      1. Nina

        I am not sticking up for BB, at all. I think the “Test” is laughable. They may as well say, “If your dog food is not named Blue Buffalo”…it is not as good as Blue Buffalo. Personally, I think good quality by-products are fine. The only “test” I see as worthy…is how your pet does on any given food.
        I can purchase a car for much less than the highest price…and still get a vehicle that does everything I NEED it to do…without all the expensive bells & whistles that I don’t need.

  12. Dr. Chavez

    The very fact that one company had to sue another in order to resolve an issue like this is evidence that there is absolutely no emphasis on enforcement. We are left to deal with pet food injustices in the private sector – through lawsuits.

    There is simply no regulation.

    OC

    1. Susan Thixton Author

      Exactly! Thank you Dr. Chavez.

    2. Nina

      People want more government…they want less government..I believe once a product is “approved”, it is left up to the manufacturers-to police themselves and each other(as in this case)-and the public, to point out “problems” with products.

      1. Reader

        I like your point about minimal can be enough, (and I would add just as long as minimal can be assured). Whatever degree of government control happens to be in place or not, isn’t the point. However “which” regulations get passed, IS the point. In other words, don’t bother with them, if they can’t be enforced, and if there’s no consequence for violating them. In this case, truth in labeling IS a regulation. Which is certainly not the same as truth in advertising. So, use whatever ingredients you want, JUST make sure they’re all listed, so people can make a decision. One step further, no By-Products aren’t the end of the world, and there is minimal nutritional value in them. The problem with BB passing the buck to its supplier, is when a supplier is delivering something harmful, and yet the manufacturer has no screening process in place. Mistakes shouldn’t be after the fact, but before the damage is done. In this case, that’s what BB is indirectly admitting, as in, ooops, gosh, they had to scramble after the accusation (well not really) to come up with an explanation. Noooo, that’s not the way it should be working. If you say your product doesn’t have something in it, especially if you’re accusing others, then you’d better have a way to mean what you say. The PFI has demonstrated that not only do they have no ability to police one another, ….. they have no desire to do so, because they’re all part of the same issue. NO commercial food is perfect. It’s the nature of the process itself. A consumer simply picks the lesser of all evils.

        By the way, if it weren’t for this unbiased forum there wouldn’t BE any way to “point out ‘problems’ with products” in the first place. Everyone here takes a lot for granted, because of years of learning. But imagine where we’d be if it weren’t for TAPF?

  13. Maggie

    Susan, none of the tinned cat foods that I use list any chicken or meat or fish “meals” at all on their labels; they just
    list specific chicken/meats/fish: Hound & Gatos, First Mate, Wysong, Weruva, Halo Impulse, (Nature’s Variety) Pride
    and Wellness cubed or sliced dinners (am slowly phasing out of Wellness). If they were using “meals”, would they have
    to be listing them? And, in your opinion, can the companies I listed be trusted to be honest in their ingredient list? Thanks!

    1. Susan Thixton Author

      They are supposed to list the exact ingredients – in order of pre-cooking weight, heaviest to lightest. Emphasis: ‘supposed to’. So yes, to your first question…regulations require them to list a meat if a meat was used (instead of a meal). An exception would be if a company changed the formula. Current regulations allow a company to change a formula but not change their labels for six months. A pet food website is probably more accurate ingredient information than some labels.

      With your second questions – can they be trusted? I’m confident some can. Some would never ship out a product mislabeled. But as this instance shows and as the Chapman University study shows (and a study previous to that), others are not so honest or concerned. Food fraud is a serious issue – not just in pet food. The trouble with pet food is we have so little enforcement of regulations – and what regulations we have, have giant loopholes built into them.

    2. Nina

      If the product is received in dry form…it is called “meal”. If it is received in wet form…it is called “chicken” or “beef”, etc. ANY ingredient can have questionable quality. “Chicken meal” could very well be made from chicken breast meat. “Chicken” could be bits of skin and flesh sucked off the bones with a vacuum.

  14. Janine

    Why does Blue keep making excuses? When their food was tainted with melamine in 2007, it was the supplier’s fault, when their dog food contained excessive amount of vitamin D 2010, they said it was because “fish pellets for another company were made in the machinery before our food was put in there so it must have left some remnants in the machinery”, now it’s their supplier again. Nothing is ever their fault. People need to stop trusting them.

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