Purina sues Blue Buffalo for using a by-product ingredient but recent court documents state Purina used the same ingredient from the same supplier. And a recent court decision dismisses misleading advertising claims; bad for consumers.
On May 6, 2014 Purina filed a lawsuit against pet food rival Blue Buffalo for false and misleading advertising. A few days later (May 14, 2014) Blue Buffalo counter sued Purina with a false and misleading advertising lawsuit. On June 15, 2016 consumers learned that Judge Rodney Sippel dismissed many of Purina’s claims for false advertising against Blue.
From Reuters: “A federal judge in Missouri has dismissed the bulk of Nestle Purina Petcare’s false-advertising case against rival pet-food maker Blue Buffalo, finding most its claims of consumer deception at times “border on frivolous.”
One significant excerpt from Tushnet.com (legal information website): “Family Favorite Recipes: Mom’s Chicken Pie, Shepherd’s Pie, Backyard BBQ, Turkey Day Feast, and Turducken flavors have photos on the product labels depicting the traditional title dish, allegedly misleading consumers into thinking that the can contains human-grade meals comprised of identical ingredients and ratios of ingredients as those in the traditional dish, in combination with the “family favorite recipes” tagline.”
“The court found these allegations to “defy credulity. No reasonable consumer would expect these cans of dog food to
contain whole turkeys, turduckens, or pies. Nor would any reasonable consumer believe that the Family Favorite Recipes’ references to traditional American meals mean that the same, human grade ingredients are in the cans of dog food.”
The above is a very concerning statement from a federal judge. For Judge Sippel to allude that consumers are not “reasonable” if they believe pet food labels is bad, bad, bad for consumers. Why have pet food labeling laws meant to prevent misleading labeling if a judge dismisses those laws? While the decision could have been made because both pet food brands were making misleading image claims, it remains a disservice to pet food consumers.
In another court document of the original Purina versus Blue Buffalo trial filed June 17, 2016, Blue Buffalo makes some enlightening statements. From the Preliminary Statement of Blue Buffalo’s Opposition to Nestle Purina’s Motion to Dismiss (bold added): “After years of concealment, Nestlé Purina’s Vice President of Purchasing has admitted under oath that his company procured and used the same Wilbur-Ellis “chicken meal” that Blue Buffalo purchased—and, thus, that Nestlé Purina’s own products were mislabeled for the same reason that Blue Buffalo’s were. Blue Buffalo has already acknowledged its inadvertently inaccurate statements and agreed to make restitution to affected consumers. Nestlé Purina, however, will apparently stop at nothing to avoid taking responsibility.” (Full document provided below.)
That is a big question answered. When it was announced that Blue Buffalo had purchased inferior chicken by-product meal included in their pet foods sold as chicken meal, consumers questioned who else did Wilbur-Ellis sell to? Turns out – it was Purina.
While Purina and Blue Buffalo fight each other, while a judge decides misleading images are not misleading, while ingredient suppliers lie to pet food manufacturers, and while pet food manufacturers don’t quality check those ingredients – consumers and pets are being cheated. Where’s the judge standing up for consumers and their pets?
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
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