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Blue Buffalo Agrees to Pay $32 Million in Settlement

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  1. Mandy B

    I believe that Blue Buffalo is solely responsible for this cost. They decided to use a questionable supplier who burned them in the past. Presumably they were using that supplier because of cost. It’s BB’s responsibility to have proper testing procedures in place to prevent problems like this from occurring. I’m glad they have to pay a huge lawsuit. Although I’d be surprised if they’ll change their practices.

  2. Nina Wolf

    you, the highest settlement in history – and let’s not forget these are SETTLEMENTS, which implies that the defendant was worried enough about the final verdict to put out a lot of money without a judgement of guilty.

    Re: suppliers – I am quite sure that 99% of Americans would be horrified if they knew what was provided to manufacturers to include in food. I am sure the public would be horror struck by the things that make it into the pet food supply under AAFCO standards and FDA neglect of compliance and regulation. The fact that even the horrible stuff these manufacturers do provide can be even further tainted, without the pet food manufacturer knowing it, is beyond the pale.

    1. Karen

      Blue Buffalo should be held accountable for their actions of false advertising. It is the manufacturer’s responsibility, not the supplier’s to inspect the ingredients before being allowed into the manufacturer’s plant. Who’s name is shown on the bag anyways? The manufacturer or the supplier? Obviously, the manufacturer, Blue Buffalo, therefore they SHOULD be held responsible. By settling out of court, Blue Buffalo knows that they are guilty! Instead, the scandal is swept under the rug to avoid exposure.

  3. Damiane de Wit-Guzman

    BB being called out by Purina: pot, kettle

  4. Sara Haney

    My daughter has fed blue buffalo to her pets; can she be included in this settlement?

    1. Susan Thixton Author

      I don’t know Sara – you or your daughter will need to track down one of the law firms that is involved in the settlement and ask them. And I don’t know who those law firms are.

  5. traci

    It is the final responsibility of the food manufacturer to have lots tested all throughout the process. It is their name on the label and they are the ones getting the money from the consumer. As for the state and federal law and responsibility the consumers can file a class action and a civil suit against the employees of the federal and state offices who are complacent and culpable due to their lack of knowledge, refusal to enforce, repeated occurrence under their supervision. It is obvious the consumers can show pattern and intent or depraved indifference knowing their action may result in harm, death, suffering, and catastrophic financial loss. I am not an attorney but all offices are bound under code of ethics and law and every employee can be sued civilly. Also consumers have the option to file liens on personal property, bet that gets their attention!!! The consumers should contact the Animal Legal Defense fund to speak with attorneys who fight all the deep pocket companies and corporations. They may be able to help find an attorney who specializes in filing the first ever class action lawsuits and to file civil suits against all employees as well. IF we are gonna get this fixed we have to come out swinging and everyone has to go after them civilly.

  6. Brigitte

    Purina needs to accept responsibility for selling inferior products. I would never feed their junk to my pets.

  7. Cheryl Mallon-Bond

    It is hard to say why this particular law suit is for a higher momentary amount than those previous that caused intense pain , suffering & even death. It is hard to know the intention of the decision makers. It feels like it is so wrong that a mislabeled food that caused no illness or death, would garner such a significant higher compensation amount. The horror caused by the pet food recall, in my eyes, should have been a much more significant compensation than the recent Blue Buffalo law suit.

    I am annoyed at Blue’s decision to not voluntary recall their pet foods once they fully knew that they contained by-products. They should have been more concerned with doing right by the consumer than their bottom-line. They could have easily re -couped their losses, through not only their lawsuit against Wilbur Ellis, but they could have donated the foods voluntarily recalled to shelters, rescues, & food pantries, & gotten a substantial tax right-off for it as well. They never even would be in this mess with this lawsuit from Purina, if they had chosen to do the right thing from the start. Now, they have lost millions, & tarnished their reputation. Sounds to me like they need to fire whomever chose to make that assinine decision!

    Purina is unbelievable! It’s the old “pot calling the kettle black “!!!! They have the audacity suing Blue for false advertising, yet THEY poisoned & seriously hurt, maimed, & killed! millions of pets, between their toxic Beneful & jerkey treats. Seriously! have they no shame?!!!!!!!!!!.

    I am also furious that the FDA did not demand a legal recall. What the hell is going on that the law, is no longer the law, across the board! The FDA gets to decide whether they CHOOSE to follow the law or not!? This agency needs to really be gutted! They should be under investigation & the higher-up’s fired, hell! they should be brought to legal action if you ask me! But, no, that won’t happen, will it?! they will get away with what they always do!

    Wilbur Ellis should be investigated by the FDA & be held accountable for violations in their handling of protiens used for petfoods. It is hard to believe that if this has happened to Blue, that it hasn’t happened to other companies as well.

    The example made by Susan about if a pet food winds up being contaminated with salmonella, should the pet food brand seller be held solely responsible, & not the ingredient provider; I feel BOTH sound be held accountable legally. In order to help keep all parties on the up -and -up, BOTH need to be held accountable, otherwise they can scapegoat each other & they will become much more lax at other future problems happening down the road unless they both will be held legally & financially responsible.

  8. Nancy

    This is a diversionary tactic on the part of Purina. Why haven’t they been punished? For all the recalls they’ve been involved in, Beneful, false advertising, etc.

  9. woofielover

    I don’t think you can financially compare the 2007 pet food recall to this settlement. Pets have increasingly garnered more importance, more of a family-member role, since then and continue to. The events surrounding the 2007 recall were a turning point for the industry. It also brought about the awareness of many consumers that they weren’t alone in how they felt about their pets and what they meant to them. The involvement of pets in their peoples’ lives is greater than ever now. Add to that the fact that more and more people every day are seeking information and learning about what’s good and bad with regard to brands, ingredients, feeding protocols, etc.. Consumers are no longer ignorant to what is and isn’t acceptable and that knowledge and information dissemination grows daily. This settlement is more of a reflection of that than anything. Blue Buffalo’s entire marketing strategy was based upon understanding what consumers did and didn’t want to see in their pet food. They don’t get to point fingers elsewhere. They implemented the “True Blue Promise” from Blue Buffalo, not from the supplier. They don’t get to accept the laurels while shirking any blame. They are ultimately responsible for the product they put out. They should have done a better job at insuring the promise that THEY made was one that THEY could keep.

  10. Pet Owner

    I’m not trying to distinguish the seriousness of either situation (2007 recall versus BB’s false advertising) but the circumstances (and therefore the guilt) are based on two different premises. For one thing actual, known false advertising is criminal, pure and simple. What happened in 2007 was sadly unfortunate but unforeseen and certainly not intentional by the USA manufacturers.

    In 2007 the ingredient of Melamine was never expected to be in PF, it wasn’t an acceptable, probable or appropriate ingredient period. And therefore the PF manufacturers were caught unaware of the Chinese import. True, PF manufacturers should have been, and should have learned since then to be testing every batch/lot for purity control. But we live in the real world, and 100% testing (versus sampling) probably wasn’t or isn’t happening. In 2007 Menu Foods was held responsible and accountable for fraudulent activity and damages. I don’t know how they calculated actual damages but (I don’t think) Menu Foods was capable of covering its total financial liability in any way.

    BB is certainly a very viable company. Just like Purina! They knowingly advertised a by-product free product, repeatedly, and in spite on ongoing challenges to the contrary. It took a Purina very pointed lawsuit to get BB to wake up, and thus to begin or publically reveal the investigation that took place. Of course Wilbur-Ellis was blamed. And I remember somewhere in the articles discussing this activity going back and forth, that Wilbur-Ellis had said (or it was claimed) via memos or documents, that if BB went after them (W-E) they would make sure a whole lot of stuff would be revealed about BB. From this exchange, you would guess that BB knew more about their supplier (even perhaps as an agreement between the highest officials of both companies in contract) than BB ever admitted. It would be very interesting to see what “would” be revealed during a public lawsuit. Thus no surprise that BB settled for what they did, and maybe they were pushed into settling for that large sum (larger respectively speaking than in 2007) exactly because they realized they had a lot more to lose if arguments were battled out in court.

    I’m not so sure BB will challenge W-E in court either, and perhaps they agreed to a back-door settlement of their own to split the difference in compensation due consumers. Neither one would do well with even more publicity or problems going on record. And actually it was both of their faults. One – the supplier should’ve been aware (according to BB’s advertising) that their product was contradicting advertising. But (two) ultimately the manufacturer assumes responsibility for what they are purchasing, and for sample testing of what they are receiving, and for what they are actually selling and profiting from. There must have been a quiet agreement between both companies for being supplied by-product ingredients, perhaps with the purpose of BB being able to keep costs down, for as long as they could get away with it. Who would’ve guessed that Purina would take them down … via the reveal?!

  11. Judie McMath

    The only way to remedy this is….don’t buy pet food. Feed your animals real food. If you love them like you say you do, don’t they deserve real food? A can of tuna for my cat is only a few pennies more expensive than a can of Friskies. She is well worth it. Feed your animals whatever YOU are having for dinner. Cats are obligate carnivores and can ONLY eat eat. Dogs benefit from having leafy greens added to their diets. It’s that simple.

    1. Vicky Carson

      Judie, I certainly hope you are feeding your cat more than cans of tuna! Obligate carnivores they may be, but cats require very specific nutrients that must be added to any raw food that is made for them. Pets should not have “whatever” someone is having for dinner – many human foods are inappropriate if not poisonous for pets, such as onions, grapes and chocolate. Unfortunately, feeding our pets is not as simple as table food. Pets also end up in the vet clinic when well meaning owners did not do their research before feeding them human food because of “if it’s good enough for me” misguided logic.

    2. Cheryl Mallon-Bond

      Judy, I agree that a well formulated home prepared raw food diet is best for all pets, but please do not think that just giving them what is on your plate is a proper formulated diet. Doing so will give your cat vitamin & mineral deficiencies & will cause health issues eventually. You must do your do diligence at fully researching the formulations if you are feeding a homemade diet, to ensure your cats nutritional needs are met. If you cannot, or are not willing to do that, then it is best to feed a frozen commercially prepared raw food diet.

      Please also note that tuna is not a good choice of food to give cats on any kind of ongoing basis, and only should be given very occasionally. The high mercury content is too much & will ultimately hurt their health.

      It is suggested that we humans greatly cut back on fish known to be high in mercury levels because mercury is a known neuro -toxin that builds up in our body, & the same goes for cats, whose bodies & organs are obviously much smaller than ours, & therefore, the Mercury can wreak havoc on their systems even quicker than our own.

      My feline only vet also recommends avoiding ALL cans of cat food that state on the label a ” fish ” based food because the fish content is much higher than on a can saying “poultry platter “, “mixed grill ” & the like.

    3. Janine

      Judie, consuming too much tuna can cause your cat to develop a Vitamin E deficiency, leading to an inflammation of the fatty tissue, a condition known as steatitis (“yellow fat disease”). Cats that consume large amounts of red tuna in particular are more prone to this painful condition.

  12. Hope

    Lots of agreement with the comments above for sure. However, one note for thought. In the pet food industry, brands like Blue who do not own their own manufacturing facility have others make their products for them and these facilities are called “co-packers”. Blue has the option of having one of their own employees present at the time the ingredients for their products arrive at the co-packer for testing as well as have this, or other, brand employee present and observing the entire product manufacturing process. All to help ensure the integrity of the finished product. As you might guess, this is an added expense to the brand, in this case Blue, and it would appear on the surface that Blue chose not to go to the additional expense but to, in my words, abdicate the quality of their product to others to save money (for advertising?). From ingredient arrival to finished product, a brand has many options to help assure quality of their finished product. I wonder if Blue’s decision to settle in this manner is to cover up their very poor choices in many other instances in the manufacturing of their products during the extreme growth of their company all the way through to taking their company public. This is a major reason why we are choosing to go with pet food brands that have their own manufacturing facilities and who are (not yet) owned by a conglomerate.

  13. Robin

    My cat got a urinary blockage. When I went to the vet, the tech already knew what I was feeding him. Blue buffalo. They see it over and over and over again.

    1. Janine

      If you’re just feeding dry, you should stop; canned is much better for this condition. Cats just do not have a big thirst drive (due to their originating in the desert) and benefit from water in their food. You may find that it never happens again if you used canned instead.

  14. Cat

    BB DOES in fact have its own manufactoring plant NOW. Probably as a result of ongoing difficulities with getting ingredients and products up to standard. It appears to be a learning curve. Fortunately the CHICKEN by product meal used was not a dangerous or deadly ingredient, unlike some other stone throwing compainies and suppliers have used in the past. It was just not up to standard for the company nor to the expectations of the consumers. Still a damn far better product then many on the shelves today. And yes W-E needs to be brought to task. Whats good for the goose…….

    1. I love my dog

      You buy a car. You’re assured the airbag is in working order. But you’re in an accident. And it fails. Are you going to sue the airbag company or the manufacturer who sold you the car with the assurances promised! This about false advertising pure and simple. And if you’re a company out there saying one thing or another, then it is your responsibility to make sure it is so, no matter how you have to go about it. W-E was fully aware what is was supplying, and watching BB advertise as they did (no by-products) therefore W-E had an ethical responsibility to clarify the terms of the contract. Which says enough them as a company. BUT if they WERE working within the terms of the contract (written or unspoken agreement) then how could the supplier even be at fault?

      When it comes to lawsuits against the PFI very, very few are actually “silly” because it takes a monumental amount of evidence to even get to that point. Check the history so far, and how many suits have taken place much less been won by the consumer?

      btw us: we’re all pretty seasoned commenters on the forum and I’m not so sure that pseudo swear language is even necessary to make a point. In fact BB actually had a pretty good shot for a solid reputation until this debacle and even worse that they admitted so with such a large settlement. So they knew they had a lot to lose. It could be that the BB Believers are hurting just a little. But not having accurate information on EVERY ingredient in a product is serious business, because the unknown has the potential of making a pet sick. That’s really the point of this discussion.

      1. Hope

        It’s my understanding that BB’s plans for building their own manufacturing facility started long ago and definitely before this issue ever came onto the scene. I’m going to guess that the plans were a result of co-packers not being able to keep up with BB’s demand for product. All understandable. However, when your brand has outrageous growth like BB and you do not maintain control over what is going into your products and then you allow a competitor to reveal your problems, versus yourself, something would seem terribly amiss! If you then blame the problems on a supplier and do not take full responsibility for this problem then you loose public and retailer confidence. It’s a matter of integrity. BB has lost my confidence along the way for many reasons but this was the cherry on the top of the heap.

  15. kathy n

    as judge judy would say, ‘if not for the fact that the supplier, supplied the wrong ingredient, none of this would have occurred’. i believe it is the supplier of the products fault. when you buy an ingredient from a supplier you believe that is what you are purchasing. that ingredient then goes into the final product. so, a blue buffalo rep needs to be in the ingredient suppliers factories doing their job?! and for how long? and how often should blue buffalo test what they get from their supplier? how often does purina? oh that’s right, all their food has byproducts in it. what cracks me up, is most dog foods have by products. so that answers why it was not recalled! it is everywhere. this is the dumbest lawsuit i have ever seen. litigation america. it is cunty purina trying to destroy a small start up that became just as big as them. what a bunch of fcktivity this is. laughable.

  16. I love my dog

    There was a TON of trouble with the CAPTCHA for this article. And my comment had to be resubmitted at least 7 times. In the end it was positioned incorrectly. And not meant to dispute anyone agreeing that BB was responsible.

  17. Dedra Bailey

    I have been feeding my dogs Blue Wilderness for YEARS!
    I trusted Blue Buffalo to be honest about their ingredients… I switched to them because one of my dogs has allergies and needed the grain free. I am not pleased… $60.00 a bag feeding 3 Rottweilers

  18. Vince

    Now what the heck are we gonna feed our dogs?
    Is there any other brand that is more reliable?

  19. jo shuemaker

    I sent a copy of my receipts for bb dog food and didn’t get a confirmation that you received it.
    woul you let me know if you got it?

    1. Susan Thixton Author

      Jo – this website has nothing to do with the lawsuit. You’ll need to check with the law firm handling this.

  20. jeanne holznagel

    I fed my Maltese 13 yr old, Blue Buffalo from her birth 2002, she had many problems, the Vet called it arthritis, and allergies, she had difficulty walking, ,diarrhea so she was on the chicken and rice canned Blue Buffalo, no change ,many visits to the Vet. on December 20 2015,she had to be put down, at the Emergency Clinic in Latham at 12:30 AM, she collapsed completely , extreme lathargic the Vet told me she was anemic, bleeding inside, and no treatment would help her ,now I believe all the years she had difficulty with bowels and standing may have been the food and treats she ate. She was seen by several vets at the Oakwood Vet Clinic,they didn’t know what was wrong with her, I lost my sweet baby just before Christmas, 2015.j

  21. Never using Blue

    They did autopsys on many different animals that died and there was nothing wrong with the dog it was the diet that killed them. They said the Blue Basics formula was the culprit. It is a known fact that thousands of dogs have gotten sick and died on Blue Buffalo. It is also a known fact that Purina sued Blue and it came out in court that Blue has been putting by-products in its food for years and was falsely advertising to the public that they didn’t use byproducts. They changed their ads to say no byproducts but they could not provide proof to the court that they still aren’t using byproducts in the food. It is also a fact that Blue has already paid thousands in class action lawsuits to try to keep the truth from the public as it would be the end of them. I tell you what I will never use Blue ever again!!

  22. Luke

    I received a settlement check today for $108 and some odd cents. I could not believe it was so big. I was expecting about $0.41 .

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