Science Diet vs Blue Buffalo again

25 Comments

For a second time, Science Diet Pet Food takes aim at Blue Buffalo Pet Food through the Better Business Bureau’s National Advertising Division (NAD). Here’s the complaint from Science Diet and what NAD decided.

Science Diet Pet Food has a history of arguing with competitor Blue Buffalo.  Science Diet challenged Blue in 2009 for advertising claims, and they have challenged Blue again recently.  For the most current argument between these two pet food manufacturers, Science Diet feels Blue Buffalo’s advertising is less than truthful and shows competing brands in a bad light.

Here is a sample of what Science Diet takes offense to…

 

 

Science Diet felt these ads were unfair because they convey “the same falsely disparaging and inflammatory message – that ‘big name’ pet food manufacturers (including Hill’s) are actively try to conceal the fact that they include chicken by-product meal (instead of real meat) as the first ingredient.”

The NAD agreed that Blue Buffalo “has not provided any evidence that “big name” pet food manufacturers (or, at the very least, the companies listed in the True BLUE Test which includes Hill’s) are actively concealing the truth about the ingredients in their products.”  And “while real meat is undisputedly a high quality ingredient and nutritious, the advertiser has not provided any evidence that meat by-product meal is not a high quality ingredient or that it is not nutritious, or that products which include meat by-product meal are less nutritious than BLUE’s or similarly positioned products that do not.”

And below is another complaint of Science Diet – from the Blue Buffalo website – the “True Blue Test”.  One of the complaints Science Diet has with Blue’s pet food comparison is the lighter shade check mark when a competitor pet food (in this case Science Diet) does meet the Blue comparison method.

BlueCompare

Science Diet also had complaints with the “ALWAYS” and “NEVER” comparison used by Blue Buffalo.  Feeling that this comparison does not take into consideration that some foods of a competitor do include ‘real meat as the first ingredient’ and some do include ‘veggies and fruit’.  The NAD stated “There are wide disparities in the nutritional profiles based on the given brand. For example, with respect to the question of meat as the first ingredient, some brands have no products that contain meat as the first ingredient but others have meat in 50 percent and, in some instances, over 90 percent of their products.”

After the NAD ruling, Blue Buffalo agreed to edit their True Blue Test and edit their advertising.

I thank the NAD for holding Blue Buffalo accountable for their advertising claims, but there is a larger issue that perhaps the NAD needs to be aware of.  The use of rejected for use in human food meats, vegetables, grains, and fruits in pet foods – pet grade ingredients – with no warning to the consumer.   One manufacturer might source 100% USDA certified human grade ingredients, while another uses 100% pet grade ingredients which could include diseased animal tissues, filth contaminated grains, and/or pesticide contaminated fruits and vegetables.  And again – the consumer is NOT provided with a clear understanding on the label of which is which.

To date, the only assurance to actual quality/grade of ingredients pet food consumers have is the Pledge to Quality and Origin – a pet food transparency effort from our consumer group Association for Truth in Pet Food.  Pet food manufacturers can argue all they want through the National Advertising Division of the Better Business Bureau, but the real truth in pet food lies in actual grade/quality of ingredients.  Are they pet grade or are they certified human grade?

“Big name” pet foods mentioned in the Blue Buffalo advertising as well as Blue Buffalo itself has not provided pet food consumers with full transparency to the grade/quality of their ingredients…

 

Provided Pet Food Consumers with Pledge to Quality and Origin
100% transparency to grade of ingredients (USDA inspected and approved certified human grade)
Country of origin of all ingredients including supplements
Signed as truthful and accurate

Blue Buffalo

Xmark-e1366300177237

Science Diet

Xmark-e1366300177237

Iams/Eukanuba

Xmark-e1366300177237

Royal Canin/Nutro

Xmark-e1366300177237

Purina

Xmark-e1366300177237

DelMonte/Big Heart

Xmark-e1366300177237

 

But as of today (4/1/14) – 22 pet food and pet treat companies have provided their Pledge to Quality and Origin.  Click Here to view those companies and Pledges.

 

Thank you to the National Advertising Agency for providing me the report (there is typically a fee charged but the fee was waived because I report to pet food consumers).

 

Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,

Susan Thixton
Pet Food Safety Advocate
Author Buyer Beware, Co-Author Dinner PAWsible
TruthaboutPetFood.com
Association for Truth in Pet Food

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25 Comments

  1. Shelly

    Science diet is junk food always has been. Science diet sucks

  2. Jean-Pierre Ruiz

    “When you love like family, you want to feed them like family.” The problem is no one cooks home-cooked meals anymore. We’re too busy running around seeking the “golden ring.”

    “Includes real meat”…as opposed to what?? Fake meat? Blue Buffalo “may” be “better” than some, and definitely better than most, but any kibble is far from being the best food for your dog and especially cat. The very process of creating the kibble denatures the food which is why they have to add chemicals (BTW, does anyone know if these chemicals – including vitamins – are synthetic and/or manufactured in China?) to make “wholesome.”

    Any food if better than food. Blue Buffalo seems to ignore (or wants us to ignore) that they are now one of the big name brands themselves. Too many loopholes are allowed in the labeling of pet “foods.”

  3. MaryTX

    Two of my cats lived to 14 and 15 years respectively on Science Diet, however, both suffered from diabetes, dehydration and strokes in their last year in the 90s. I have since fed all my pets Blue Buffalo and Merrick, with no similar health issues experienced thus far. I will never feed my pets Science Diet again.

    Has anyone else experienced similar issues with any of these brands?

    • Jan

      My cat that ate it lived to 18 1/2. She had been eating it since she was a kitten.

      • ellie

        Sadly, many people can claim their pets lived to an old age while eating highly processed pet food but take a look at the quality of those later years and you do find a huge list of health problems. Are we doing our pets a service keeping them alive but unable to function to their full capacity?
        There are way too many pets that are developing human like, diet oriented diseases at what is a relatively early age for a pet.
        Heart disease, obesity, diabetes, arthritis, tooth decay among others are not easy to live with. While a human would be on a long list of medications most people allow their silent four legged family members to suffer for years and then brag that their pet lived a long life eating pet food.
        I was blind to what was happening for years but when I decided to feed myself and my family a more healthy diet I also had to take a look at what I was feeding our pets.
        It is very sad to think what these greedy multimillion dollar corporations will do in order to make more money for their stock holders. Their real investment is in Madison Ave advertizing that has Americans buying any form of garbage and calling it food.

        • Jan

          I didn’t say that I thought it was a good food; she wanted to know about people’s experiences with it and that was mine. My cat that ate it died from a mass on her lung. I have no proof that the food caused my cat’s tumour; was it the food or the flame retardant in our rugs or our water or off-gassing from particle board furniture, radon in our house, electromagnetic fields, etc.? I’ll never know.

          Will the new holistic foods help our pets live without cancer and other diseases? Who knows, only time will tell; I hope so. For my current cat, I don’t feed dry food; I homecook with a recipe from petdiets.com and feed canned. He is very happy with this and I don’t have to worry about bladder blockages so it’s a win-win situation; hopefully, he lives a good, long, healthy life!

        • DENALE86

          I say become a stock holder….rather than just a stake holder. :-)

  4. Michele

    I have emailed Blue Buffalo to remind them that they have not signed the Pledge.

    • g.r.r.

      (sorry, I posted this below as well, but it belongs tied to your post).

      Michele,
      Blue Buffalo will NEVER sign that pledge.
      The fact is, that they told me a couple of years ago that they were in fact using ingredients from China. Now, at this moment, they may/may not be using it, but that would no doubt be just for a moment.

      • sarita

        Just want to give to heads up on Blue cat food. Fed our 2 cats this morning
        Blue Spa chicken canned food. With-in minutes both cats threw up.
        One of our cats has been throwing up at least 2 times last couple of days.
        Both cats just had their yearly check-up about 2 weeks ago. A+
        Went on line to see if there have been any complaints about Blue cat food.
        OMG!! Something is going on!! I have never seen such dire situations with
        pet owners and very sick animals. Threw out all of our Blue cat food.
        Seems like it started around the beginning of the year with all the complaints..
        Very scary.

  5. Martha

    People think that because their vet sells this crap in their offices, that it must be THEE best food. Most vets know nothing about animal nutrition. The folks at Hill’s capitalized on this. They provide the vets with foods that are labeled for certain conditions and the vets sells them at HUGE profit. None of the prescription foods are medicated.

    • Brandon

      So are you an expert on veterinary course curriculum? Vet’s know a whole lot about nutrition, but they do not know every single brand available in the market. Many of the bigger companies provide evidence as to why any veterinarian should recommend that particular food.

      • Martha

        @ Brandon: don’t have to be an “expert on veterinary course curriculum”. Hell, even vets aren’t experts on that. Take a look around their waiting rooms. Pets with allergies, cancer, tumors, diabetes, skin conditions. They have no clue. You are what you eat, and these animals are sick from the crappy kibble they consume. But they just prescribe a medication and hand you a bill.

        • Pacific Sun

          Nicely said Martha! You just saved me 15 min. of trying to compose an appropriate comeback!! You would think that if all this prescription food was actually “curing” anything, then the documentation would be free and available for everyone to read and understand! More like, it’s an easy remedy instead of investigating all the variables involved in comprehensive nutrition. Or … admitting that RAW actually does solve a lot of problems (smile!)

          • Martha

            I tried to discuss the raw diet with my vet, but she “looked at me as if I had lobsters crawling out of my ears.” (to quote Ralphie from A Christmas Story)

  6. Tisha

    Just took 2 of our cats into the vet with urinary problems (one male/one female). They’ve been on Nature’s Variety dry & canned food. The vet said she’s seen an increase in UTI cases with cats on Nature’s Variety and Blue Buffalo. What the heck is in this stuff?

  7. g.r.r.

    Got to love it when one junk food company attacks another.

  8. g.r.r.

    Michele,
    Blue Buffalo will NEVER sign that pledge.
    The fact is, that they told me a couple of years ago that they were in fact using ingredients from China. Now, at this moment, they may/may not be using it, but that would no doubt be just for a moment.

  9. Pacific Sun

    This dispute is about the accusation that a PF company is “actively concealing the truth”. However, not in dispute, is the bottom line definition of the truth itself. Meaning, as in exactly what “stuff” goes into an ingredient term. SD is fighting only the “perception” of being deceitful. It’s that word “concealing” that’s poking them in the side! And not the result of what’s being concealed!. Yet somehow, it is perfectly okay for inquiring consumers to have to dig deep to try and find full disclosure. Kind of ironic isn’t it?

    I also think that BB is being charged for violating a (previously) unspoken rule where PF companies don’t challenge others directly! I have always been surprised they don’t pull out the big guns and start firing point blank at one another. Unless doing so might reveal too many dirty secrets. Once the mud starts flying there might not be any return. Unlike car companies which don’t seem to have that problem. For example, Ford has recently gone head-to-head with Honda over “features” and “value.” Curious this brand identification doesn’t apply to the PFI.

  10. Marsha

    A vet gave our dog SD for his liver problems. Thank God our dog was smart enough not to eat it! We gave it the local shelter. We instead gave him Solid Gold Holistic Blendz and in six months he was over his liver problems.
    As for BB, I have never used it nor would I.

  11. Jamie H

    I fed my border collie Blue Buffalo Wilderness. She ended up having kidney issues and was losing control of her bladder. The vet ran blood work and her kidney function was not good, she had high creatinine. Vet advised me to get her off of the high protein Wilderness food, so I switched to Blue Life Protection. Kidney function improved but then she scratched like crazy. I emailed Blue, told them of this issue, asked where their food was manufactured. I received no answers. I also tried calling. She has been on Hill’s Ideal Balance grain free food for the last 6 months and is doing well. I have researched every kind of dog food out there, and drove myself crazy trying to find the right one. Hill’s at least owns their manufacturing facilities where most of the dog food companies outsource to other companies. To me that is very scary. I don’t know if Hill’s is the right answer but for now my dog seems to be doing well on it.

    • Jan

      Jamie, Blue Buffalo food is made at 10 different plants – that’s what they told me when I emailed them a couple years ago – so no quality control whatsoever. They also had a recall in 2010 for too much vitamin d in the dog food which can harm kidneys:

      http://www.fda.gov/safety/recalls/ucm228986.htm

      I wonder if the Wilderness has too much d now or it it’s just because of the high protein, who knows. Re the Ideal Balance, it has better ingredients than Science Diet so I don ‘t see anything wrong with that and if your dog’s doing well then that’s good.

  12. Jamie H

    I also have two friends that have cats and were feeding Blue. Both cats ended up with horrible bladder crystals and their vets have told them they have seen a lot of issues with the Blue Buffalo. They advised not to feed it. Something is definitely not right about that food.

  13. ellie

    As far as I am concerned they are both in the business of boiling down questionable ingredients into a dry pasty substance with no nutritional value and then adding their China processed synthetic vitamins. Presto! You are meeting the basic nutritional requirements with fake vitamins!

    See nutritionists! You were wrong! Bodies can live on synthetic vitamins! Not a long HEALTHY life but our pets do live long enough to fill the pockets of veterinarians! Just like humans past the age of 40 make regular trips to the doctor for a long list of maladies. Keeps the medical people in business…..eating boxed, bagged, and canned “food” that is.

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