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Surprising Statement from Blue Buffalo Pet Food

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  1. SJ Roragen

    Subscribing to comments. I will be interested to see how far they carry this…if there will be a recall.

    1. Jim W

      Thanks for reporting on this. One note….at the very beginning of this report post, the date in parenthesis is incorrect. Yesterday should be (Octpber14, 2015). Perhaps intuitively obvious but…

      1. Susan Thixton Author

        This story was posted a year ago – that’s why it says 2014 not 2015.

  2. Kristie Brewer

    What I’m concerned about is the fact that Blue chose to use a supplier they clearly hadn’t done the research on. Or they did, and chose to use a disreputable company as a supplier. This is exactly how pets wind up getting sick or dying. I’m very surprised at Blue Buffalo.

    1. Mandy B

      Thank you! Yes! BB chose to use a supplier who has a history of issues. This is on Blue Buffalo just as much as it is on the supplier. They played the same blame game in 2007.

      1. mark

        Clearly Blue is at fault for not doing their homework, etc. They clearly have the ability to check the product PRIOR to it being placed in stores.
        What other petfoods are made at this Texas plant?? Are they premium foods, or store brands?? Need to find out !!

    2. Jo Singer

      It seems to me also Mark that if Purina is testing competitors’ products why doesn’t Blue Buffalor test theirs before advertisely falsely. While it is the “fault” of their supplier, the buck stops at the manufacturer of the food- products as far as I am concerned.

      We as consumers then are lulled into a false sense of security thinking we are giving our pets a nutritious, appropriate species specific diet- when if fact that ain’t the case. I feed Darwin raw chicken to our cats, so thankfully this doesn’t apply to me- but I do recommend higher quality cooked- canned food to folks who don’t want to switch their kitties to a high quality safe raw diet. It is a darned shame that BB is failing their consumers.

  3. Reader

    Clearly BB’s responsibility and passing the buck makes it look even worse! It’s not like this dispute has only been in the news the last 4 weeks. This started in early Spring (if not well before, considering behind-the-scenes allegations), and BB had plenty of time to test their OWN product, and announce that they were being proactive about searching for an explanation. Obviously BB has been pushed up against the wall by Purina, and was found to be without sufficient defense, except to blame a supplier. It is always the company’s responsibility to know what the supplier is delivering, period. That means periodic (routine) testing (verifying) should be the norm. Obviously it hasn’t been. Instead time and diversion was spent on pushing back at Purina (which is no innocent party either). Just very adept at making an obvious point. That mis-steps can happen to any company. And BB being “holier than thou” about it’s advertising campaign deserved to be taken back a notch. Welcome to the rank and file, Blue Buffalo.

    The PFI is such a sad state of affairs.

  4. Ellen

    “When will federal and state authorities step up and protect pet food consumers?” This is what
    is needed. Otherwise we can expect the buck passing to continue while our pets continue to be at risk. Shame on BB for not doing the due diligence!

    1. Gail

      Considering that most of the human food industry is now supposed to regulate itself (blame congress for this ingenious idea), I wouldn’t hold my breath on them stepping forward to protect the pet food consumer. In all actuality, my cousin took food science in college, and said that the pet food processing plants were actually cleaner then the human food processing plants!

  5. PJ

    Personally, after all of this time and the back & forth btwn Blue & Purina, I believe that Blue has used that time to concoct this story. I also personally believe that they knew full well that the ingredient(s) in question were of an inferior nature but, guess what, they got caught. For some time, after seeing Blue “condemn” other foods in their comparison chart for not having those silly “bits” (also comparing their product to products more inferior in quality), I wrote them off. This goes back to the time frame before they mounted the broadcast media advertising campaigns & further reduced the quality of their products to reduce the cost to fit the requirement (I’ve heard) of the chain stores having to have a full 100% profit on what they sell.
    This latest turn doesn’t strike me as an “oh my gosh, those bad people at W-E.” I believe they signed up with them, knowing their reputation, but they were the lowest cost supplier. Would be surprised (no shocked) to see any recalls. They’ve kind of obviated that likelihood by suggesting that, should any of their finished products contain the by-products, it won’t hurt anybody. It’s a case of being caught with their hand in the cookie jar. Who knows, they may have even paid off W-E to take the fall. Am sure they made enough “extra” money for hoodwinking the pet food buying public to afford a payoff. I know many of my customers saw the commercials, maybe had a coupon, was confronted at the store by a “knowledgeable” Blue rep & bought it hook, line & sinker. The result I’ve seen (as a groomer), has been 99% of those I found were on Blue had itchy skin issues. In all cases (I asked), it started when changing to Blue. So, it’s no different than any of the other lying sacks; Blue just seemed on the surface to be more believable, Even with all the problems & controversies, people still want to believe these companies have their pets’ well being and health as their mission. So sad.

    1. Peter

      Blue, like most other pet food manufacturers, apparently does adhere to the “least cost mix” protocols when making choices about its suppliers. But if the food is mislabeled, it should (shouldn’t it “must”?) be recalled. Blue instead, deflects responsibility. And what about the consumers who paid for premium ingredients, but got something else, in fact, something that they may have paid extra for, to avoid.

  6. Dianne

    Interesting question. This isn’t the first time that recently an ingredient supplier or packager has not supplied what they are contracted to supply. I guess that since the pet food brand has the means to check what they are receiving and the consumer is kept in the dark and cannot, then the brand has an obligation to make sure they are getting what they paid for. But who supplies the supplier? Someone in the chain of custody has to know that they are deliberately mislabelling what they are receiving and passing it along. The major responsibility lies with the entity that knowingly misrepresents their product.

    Certainly an argument for providing the customer with the source of ingredients.

    Although, have the pet food brands squeezed the supplier so badly to lower the cost that they cannot even remain in business unless they use the cheaper products?

    1. Regina

      Great comment, Dianne. You’re right. Someone had to know. The question now is when BB actually found out, and HOW they found out.

      It would be good for customers to be able to see the source of ingredients. Granted, not all brands will need to provide this info. The cheap pet “feed” consumers won’t care, but for folks who think they are buying a more natural product, sourcing of ingredients is just as important and just knowing what the ingredients are.

  7. MikeL

    Well now isn’t this a completely foreseen conclusion hmm? Not to belittle the significance of this turn of events but one could see this coming from waaaay off. Anywho, the thing I’m finding interesting and significant in the BB quote is this:

    “you may rest assured that this mislabeling poses no health, safety or nutrition issue.”

    Now that seems a pretty curious statement coming from a manufacturer that claims that bi-product meals are inferior and, therefor, an issue for them, at least. Here’s what the BB website has to say:

    “real chicken meat is a higher quality protein source than chicken or poultry by-product ”

    So if bi-product meal is an inferior source of protein and not worthy of inclusion in any BB recipe, how is it that there is no “nutrition issue” when it comes to bi-product now found in some BB? Okay so maybe I’m being a bit picky here but I’m finding it a bit much to swallow from BB. On top of that they use a manufacturer proven to have a variety of serious quality issues and yet boast about the superior quality of their product .. it just doesn’t add up.

    Sorry BB, I wanted to see you come out on top of this one but your lack of caring (by selecting an inferior manufacturer to partner with) proves that you are just another pet food company lacking in integrity.


    1. Bugg

      I agree completely, MikeL. “Lacking in integrity…” The question is whether they didn’t already know. I’m sorry but I do not trust pet food companies anymore. I too would have liked to see BB come out on top over Purina but deep inside I had real reservations. And my cat, Nutmeg, made it very clear she did not like their food. I am very glad this is coming out. That is the only way real change begins.

    2. Dianne

      I wish there was a like button. Good points. Is there a class action lawsuit in this?

      1. Pet Owner

        Well you would think. Because consumers were sold a product under false pretenses.

        And BB certainly went out of their way to promote a very particular product image at the expense of its competitors.

        Any Lawyers out there interested in picking up the bait?

      2. Tina Clark

        My vet told me that there was talk of a class action lawsuit against BB, but she wouldn’t elaborate. I’ll ask again next time I get a chance to talk to her.

    3. L

      I wholeheartedly agree. I feed my dog a low fat, grain free version of BB due to her pancreatitus. I pay A LOT of additional $$$ for premium pet food. Shame on BB. Ready to go “homeade” on my dog food. Pathetic

  8. Dana

    Meh. Chicken by product meal or chicken meal; they’re just going to say it’s all healthy stuff and their only concern is your pet’s welfare. Betcha they’re madder than a hen they paid for chicken and got by product!

  9. Dana

    Madder than a wet hen, that is.

  10. karen

    Thank you fir keeping us informed.

  11. Peg

    The folks who had no problem letting melamine get into the bags marked wheat gluten.
    I need to look back and see if Blue had any tainted food issues back in 2007……..why would you continue to do business with questionable suppliers…..

    1. Mandy B

      Blue DID have tainted food issues in 2007. My cat, Noella, nearly died because of it. They had tainted rice protein / gluten in some of their cat food cans. They pointed the finger at American Nutrition for “adulterating” their food and vowed never to use American Nutrition again… Except in an unrelated 2010 recall (different issue), they were still using American Nutrition as per the information provided on the FDA’s website. What’s worse is that Blue didn’t step up to the plate to reimburse consumers in 2007. There was eventually a class action lawsuit (much much smaller than the Menu foods one). I despise Blue Buffalo and their shady business practices.

  12. Pacific Sun

    Okay, so BB’s statement posted on their website under “About Us, What’s New” in response to the ongoing controversy. And thanks to TAPF’s monitoring effort, now 14 of us know the outcome, but does the general public (who are the ones that really count?) Stated by BB, in their effort to remain transparent, is the following: ” …..the fact that any Blue Buffalo food could include a mislabeled ingredient is totally unacceptable. As a result, we have stopped doing business with this plant.” Certainly a saving grace explanation that will continue to appeal to the “Believers” and a non-admission of guilt statement aimed at their “critics.”

    Skillfully executed, wouldn’t you say? Much more refreshing it would be refreshing if they put as much thought and excellence into the genuine quality of their product, as they do into their public relations (advertising) agency.

    Perhaps it was collectively decided to end the dispute (both legally and publically) with this kind of statement so both Purina and BB could go forward and stop burning their money in the hands of lawyers.

    Check Mate!

  13. Bugg

    The quote by BB blows me away: “This mislabeling poses no health, safety or nutrition issue?” EXCUSE me?? (caps emphasis only) Byproducts ARE a HUGE nutritional matter and if BB doesn’t believe that is the case then they need to have their heads reexamined. Furthermore, they have elicited more questions as to what they consider qualifies as good pet food. The fact that they use Wilbur-Ellis who have had prior violations to the degree they have leaves me deeply questioning BB’s ability to make wise choices with their choice of suppliers. And lastly, BB just can’t accept this expose without feeling the need to expose others: “FDA has been notified of the ingredient problem and clearly implicates numerous other pet food manufacturers are involved (purchasing a chicken meal ingredient that is actually a lesser quality by-product meal).” Sorry but it reminds me of little children who get caught with their hands in the cookie jar… “but mom, Sallie did it, and so did Johnny!!” Just as I would tell my kids, I say to BB: “YOU deal with your own company and your own poor choices first. Only then do you have the right to begin pointing fingers after you have cleaned up your own mess.”

    1. Laurie Raymond

      Actually, the pet food industry is gearing up now to “turn the tables” by promoting by-products as “healthful, nutritious and environmentally responsible.” The big pet food makers are tired of catering to us ignorant consumers’ preference for real, unadulterated ingredients, and they’ve decided the best way is to come at our concurrent convictions about environmental responsibility and recycling. Watch for the slogan “by-products are recycling” and other propaganda claims that by-product meals prevent XXXgazillion tons of toxic waste from ending up in landfills, by converting it, through science (and magic?) into healthy nutrition fit for our beloved companion animals by the selfless, dedicated environmentalists who own the pet food companies. This is why I, as a retailer opposed to the industrialization of food, including pet food, subscribe to pet food industry publications. This campaign to proudly stand up for by-products came from those sources. Just watch!

      1. Susan Thixton Author

        You are exactly right Laurie. I’ve seen this move towards promoting sustainability too. You’re right – it is in the works right now.

        1. Dianne

          We need to make buttons saying I feed my dog garbage to save the environment. If we got it out ahead of their campaign, it could be interesting. Or proudly buying from the dump to feed my pets and save the environment.

          Odd isn’t it. We aren’t supposed to feed our pets people food and yet we are supposed to feed them discarded people food.

          1. Peg

            Excellent idea Dianne!!!!

            Sign me up for 10 dog buttons and we need to make the same in a version for cats and perhaps ferrets as well.

            I think the impact would make people really open their eyes!
            These buttons would be the truth behind the pretty pictures on the bags and cans.

      2. Dianne

        In that case they should be happy to eat it themselves. Or are they saying our pets are to be used as cogs in our efforts to get rid of garbage. I bet they could do much better by looking at their own manufacturing processes.

        I saw an article in a newspaper sometime in the past number of years discussing the environmental impact of feeding our pets human quality food versus recycled garbage.

      3. Interested Party

        I can see an argument being made that while there are plenty of people who don’t have enough healthy food to eat, within that context then, the question can be asked, do we have the right to be serving our pets human food that should otherwise be going Shelter Pantries? It’s a question of priorities, perhaps.

        But this is such a slippery slope. Because when you preface the argument for using PF based on environmental sustainability, or so-called responsible recycling, then it gives the “green light” to consumers for looking the other way and never expecting or asking for any safeguards or improvements in the PFI! Consumers will forever continue to believe that human food waste will be magically transformed into “feed” suitable (enough) for animals. Unfortunately the problem is, that consumers don’t (or won’t) understand how that transformation happens which is really a matter of chemical corrections and synthetic augmentation. (Hardly natural, being that it is nutrition thrice removed from food’s original state.) Pet Owners will be paying at the other end, when taking care of their companion’s chronic issues and ills. Consumers will not understand that there is no distinction between using (or having control over) the use of formerly human edible waste and the inclusion of toxic, diseased and purely rendered garbage! Simply to increase profitability. And THAT’s where the real truth lies.

        So, our task is to keep on harping on the deceitfulness of the industry, and in this case, apparently their newest ultimate strategy, while ensuring reliance upon heavy, nearly mythological level advertising in order to keep disguising a very ugly business. It’s good that this point has come out here early in the discussion, so that Readers won’t ever be fooled by yet another marketing ploy! Maybe buttons would be a good idea, to trigger discussion and “out” the industry’s real intentions early on!

  14. Natalie

    Who is Purina, to sue anyone over ingredients? They are a terrible company who uses byproducts AND synthetic ingredients, including that nasty “vitamin” spray that they call “nutritional”. Hypocrites should not be allowed to sue someone for the same thing they do!! Blue screwed up, I get it, but, lets look at the bigger picture, here. Purina is just twisted up that Blue became a more popular food and are just throwing themselves a little pity party by _____ on a smaller company.

  15. Kathryn Smith

    Manufacturers should be able to trust the source of their ingredients — but where does it stop? Wilbur-Ellis should certainly have known that the product was not what the buyer had ordered – but … if W-E was purchasing from secondary suppliers – it is up to them to be sure that the products THEY buy are as purported — they could have been ‘scammed’ as well – especially if they were purchasing Chicken parts n’ pieces from a third party.

    If we had to verify that cans of applesauce actually contained apples prior to purchase/use ??? no different —
    and I’m reasonably sure that canned applesauce may well contain a pear, a banana, grapes, etc. or leaves/twigs off the tree — unless you purchase the raw product yourself — i.e. Apples at the market, and make your own applesauce you will never be 100% that it is nothing but apples.

    Pet food is no different.

  16. Phred

    My 2 Yorkies would have died if I had not taken the BB away when I did…Bought in on a Friday morning and all day Saturday they both had diarrhea and vomiting. Early Sunday morning I googled Blue Buffalo complaints and was blown away with what I found…Told the people at Pet warehouse about it and threw the rest of the bag in the trash. They need to be out of business….good example of biting the hand that feeds you…if they kill our pets, we won’t buy dog food from them or anyone else…

  17. Gitta

    Blue has gambled away my trust. All of it. Permanently.

    1. They did not do due diligence to make sure they are doing business with a reputable merchant.
    2. They obviously never invested time or money in actually testing the product they received. They seem to have a lot of money for TV commercials though.
    3. They are now coming up with bs stating there is no health concern about by products. Really? They can’t came up with anything that would remotely come close to damage control? How about reimbursing ripped-off customers? They paid premium price for junk they could have bought cheaper from Purina.
    4. They don’t have the backbone to say: WE screwed up. They have to make sure they point the finger at OTHERS. What cowards. Take the heat for your failure and don’t try to dilute it by saying “yeah, but look at those brands, they are bad too.

    Never, ever again will I buy anything that carries their brand name. Never. I thought I wait and see how the law battle turns out. No need for that. Turns out Purina was right. At least partially.

  18. B Dawson, the Furry Herbalist

    This perfectly illustrates the problem with handing over your formula to a massive kibbling facility and allowing them to make your pet food with no oversight from your company.

    Let’s face it, mislabeling happens in all industries – the FDA recalls plenty of human products because ingredients were left off labels, products have the wrong labels and so on. It does happen. Given the massive food manufacturing industry I see no way to 100% guarantee this won’t happen again.

    If Blue had a company rep on site double checking how the production line was cleaned between formulas and watching over ingredients, the likelihood of this happening would be greatly reduced. Alternatively, if Blue would purchase their =own= ingredients and have them shipped to the kibbling facility instead of purchasing what is bought in huge quantity and shared out across multiple companies, they would have the opportunity to spot check samples to make sure the ingredient is as purchased. Both of these alternatives cost money. The cost of your own kibbling plant is huge as well.

    Blue does bear responsibility for this snafu. Why aren’t they pulling samples of the finished product and doing QC themselves? They should have discovered this issue, not Purina. Of course there is the question of how Purina found out. Could there have been a spy or disgruntled ex-employee who discovered the paper trail showing Blue was aware of the problem and tipped Purina off to look at specific lot numbers? More likely, Purina simply went on a fishing expedition because they know the industry has a problem with mislabeled ingredients and hoped to get lucky finding one of the holistic foods that trash them with contaminated ingredients.

    No matter how much homework you do, the company you contract with can still have problems. That’s why you have to be on site supervising the manufacture of your pet food.

    1. steph gas

      b dawson, spot on. mislabeling does happen pretty often. look at how often human foods are recalled for this kind of thing. and then consider how less strict the regulations are on pet food – how much more often could this happen with pet foods that are produced/bagged in these big kibbling facilities?

      1. fantasymother

        Purina says that in response to Blue specifically comparing formula against formula in their advertising, they had BB analyzed. The lawsuit was initiated when they discovered by-products during analysis.

        The lawsuit was initiated last Spring. Seems to have taken BB an inordinate amount of time to either analyze their own food or formulate a mea culpa.

    2. Regina

      B. Dawson, excellent post. Your fourth paragraph is awesome. I love a good-natured conspiracy theory as much as the next guy, gee, maybe Purina hired someone to infiltrate Wilbur-Ellis and get the by-products in the stuff they were selling to BB, just planning ahead for the lawsuit?

      I know, this is not a laughing matter for folks who care as much about feeding our furry children the best possible foods because we want them to be as healthy as possible. But sometimes, I have to find a small bit of something to make myself chuckle in this crazy world where there are so many dishonest entities out there just trying to take advantage of any situation possible to make an extra buck.

      I’m just disgusted at all of the BS that’s going on at the expense of our pets. There are obviously entities out there that are heart-less, soul-less, uncaring bastards that are just trying to pull wool over our eyes.
      On a side note, I can’t wait until the election next month so all of the TV ads and political mailers stop, ugh. (well, at least until the next round starts!)

  19. Kat

    could be the big reason BB built its own manufacturing plant recently. Because there are no plants out there that can be trusted. Menu, Wilber-Ellis etc. Shame on the industry and overseers to protect our animals.

  20. Laurie Raymond

    I’ve been selling pet food at retail for nearly 11 years now, and I tell you, the whole industry is becoming as evil as the tobacco industry, as Big Pharma…you all need to know how to make nutritious food for your dogs and cats using whole foods, just as (I hope) you do for yourselves. It isn’t any harder to master the essentials than it is to accommodate a family member with some specific nutritional needs. The buyer for Blue has only the label to go by because no one can identify by sight, smell or other sense the product they are receiving when it is a meat meal. We can’t tell by examining the finished food whether it contains what is listed on the label. There are a few honest companies making pet food, but you have to watch them like a hawk. The pressure is on them to sell to bigger companies (and this was BB’s strategy from day 1, people! They figured it is all about marketing — anybody can make pet food!) It is very hard to identify an optimum size for a company. There is a reason business gurus say you have to grow or die. It isn’t quite true, but almost! We have to come full circle and realize we are talking about FOOD here, and we can still buy whole, nonGMO, grassfed, organic ingredients if we care to, from growers in our geographic area, combine it into meals, which comprise a healthy diet over time, and serve it to our dogs and cats and kids. We need to get to know these farmers as neighbors, and support them! We can, with just a bit of effort (and probably less expense) feed our dogs and cats just the way we feed ourselves. 99.7% of the companies are selling pure crap. We will wait forever for the FDA to safeguard petfood. They don’t even care about human food safety.

  21. Cindy

    I wonder how or if they plan to compensate consumers who purchased their products?

    1. Mandy B

      I’m sure they won’t.

  22. BC

    As a rescue who spends Bout $12,000 a year on Blie please advise me of any lawsuits.
    Blue has completely lost my business and if I see the rep Saturday all hell is Gonna break loose.

  23. g.r.r.

    BB is a group of liars. They KNOWINGLY use ingredients from China and then lie about it.
    It is no different than what is going on with this.

  24. catherine

    sounds like the president of the united states. everything is someone else’s fault.

    1. g.r.r.

      I think that you meant to post that on the GOP site. Right?

  25. Christine

    Does anyone happen to know which manufacturing facility in Texas they’ve been using?

    1. Matt

      My understanding is that they don’t make food in Texas. I think the mill that does make their food just get the chicken meal for a supplier (Wilbur-Ellis) that is in Texas.

        1. Matt

          A year or so ago I asked a BB sales person that was at the store that I buy my food from and she told me KLN makes a lot of it. She did say that they have a few others mills, so who knows.

  26. Donna Schexnayder

    So disappointed in Blue. I have been a faithful customer buying 6 cases of wet dog food & 2 – 15# bags of dry a month because they had no by products in them & now this. SMH! You can believe anyone with what they claim these days.

  27. Raymond Lewis

    This could be why our cavalier has been hesitant about eating the BB chicken for the past couple of months. He usually can”t wait for his feeding time.

    We need more answers and if BB will compensate us for false advertising, such as: “BlLUE contains only the finest ingredients, and no chicken or poultry by-product meals, artificial preervatives, corn, wheat or soy”.

  28. Deby

    BB food has made both my mini-schnauzers sick. A few yrs back I used their vegetarian food and my oldest little girl got so sick we spent days and lots of $$$ at the vet to only find that we couldn’t figure out what was wrong. Gut instinct told me to take her off that food and feed her a raw diet. Since then she’s been 100%. Her daughter, who I continued to feed dry packaged food to has been fine until buying a bag of BB 3 mos ago. Since then she became very ill and started having horrific troubles with her Gallbladder and digestive tract. I took her off the BB food 1 month ago and am feeding her a raw diet. She now has energy and her intestinal system is functioning normally again. I will NEVER buy a BB or Purina pet food product again. These little girls aren’t just Dogs … they’re our family and loved as much as our 2-legged kids. Shame on food manufacturers (both animal and human) for not being honest and forthright and showing such a lack of concern for your patrons.

    1. kat

      Blue Buffalo doesn’t make a vegetarian formula at all.

  29. Susan Thixton Author

    In a story published in a St. Louis newspaper:

    “San Francisco-based Wilbur-Ellis said it has completed a comprehensive quality review of its facilities in response to concerns about product mislabeling. “This effort revealed poor record-keeping and operational processes at its facility in Rosser, Texas, and the mislabeling of pet food ingredients that were sold to companies that formulate food for pets,” Wilbur-Ellis said in a statement Wednesday, adding that although mislabeled, the products sold were all commonly used in pet food and safe for pets to consume.”

  30. Regina

    I had been feeding my babies BB with chicken … one had been bleeding out her rectum … the vet couldn’t figure out what was wrong … maybe this is why … she soon after that had a tumor removed … and it was ok … as she had been itching I changed to lamb and rice … they don’t seem to like it very well … I had just said that I don’t want to make their meals … but I may have too … this is very disturbing to me … I just bought a new bag yesterday … lamb and rice … now should I return it ???? What should I trust now ???? I wanted to make sure their food was made in America … and now this !!!!! I thought I was feeding them a good choice of food … now I’m even more confused … I pray nothing happens to my babies or anyone else’s … VERY DISAPPOINTED !!!!!

  31. kat

    If what they say is chicken meal had by products, then if you were feeding the Basics it would not contain chicken or by products. Canned wouldn’t either. Its too bad in this day and age you can’t trust your doctor, mechanic or feed suppliers. I’d like to know the sourcing of the chicken meal w the by products since Blue won’t use anything sourced except US or europe. Did the meal come from ??

    1. g.r.r.

      3-5 years ago, I contacted blue buffalo. I Specifically asked what nations they were sourcing, and I esp. Asked if they were NOT using China. I was assured by the girl that not only where they sourcing from China, but that everybody else was as well.
      Obviously, I do not believe her that ALL others are sourcing from China, but I have no doubt that they do.

  32. Barb

    After being a faithful Blue user for several years (as well as recommending to everyone), I’m sad to say I’m finished with Blue. I have lost all trust and respect for/with Blue products. Cleaning up dog barf from at least 2 of my dogs (we have 4) was not fun, easy OR necessary. For several days, too. My poor fur-babies were miserable for no other reason than eating Blue. ‘Bye, Blue! We’ve already started a BETTER(!) Food than Blue.

  33. Col. K. Dale Frazier

    I am so VERY disappointed with Blue Buffalo . So; if they mislabeled their dog foods , no matter who was responsible … Blue Buffalo should allow anyone with their receipts to send them in and receive a full REFUND on those Dog Foods, considering that ingredients were MISLABELED .

  34. foodguy

    This is all very easy to track. What was the timeline of the mislabeled products being purchased? What are the production codes and expiration dates?

    A massive recall SHOULD have already begun, and hasn’t. Blue Buffalo has pulled a bait and switch. They advertised one thing at one price, and sold a different, inferior product at the same premium price.

    I believe besides a huge monetary gain, there are serious health concerns for pets. Those particular formulas are created in a vacuum with very precise measurements. Chicken by product meal and chicken certainly require different formulations, otherwise- protein levels are off, and you will likely need more preservatives with the by product meal vs. actual chicken due to the ingredient quality.

    None of these concerns are being addressed by Blue Buffalo. The clock is ticking.

  35. Carol Wright

    This is why I buy whole chiickens/sweet potatoes/green beans to feed my girls: Border Collie/Cattle Dog mix and Maine Coon cat (she gets only chicken). The Coon is over 15 years old. BC is 4.

  36. Roy Blizzard III

    I used Blue Buffalo one time and my Siamese cat got so sick we had to take him to the vet and we are still dealing with his diarrhea and vomiting problems two years later. I don’t really know what they supposedly put in their food all I know is I’ll never buy another bag of it and have told all my friends to not buy it either.

  37. read up on ingredients people

    This statement is a blatant lie: “this mislabeling poses no health, safety or nutrition issue.”

    How stupid do they think consumers are? By-products are horrible.

  38. Marijai Miller

    I’ve been thinking lately about the Blue Salmon & Potato dog food. I feed it daily to my cocker for 3 years. Had to put him down because he was having seizures and very agressive behavior. I could not trust him anymore after him biting me a few times. My Vet also witnessed this violent behavior. Thinking now that maybe there was to much chemicals and probably produced in China with all the contaminants that they have in their products that was causing neurologic problems. I now have new puppy and feed her different brand.

    1. Poodle Lover

      My observation and response is absolutely unscientific, but because of shared circumstances, and for the benefit of other readers coming across these comments, it’s worth sharing anyway. I do believe there can be a link between commercial PF and triggering an issue with a dog that is already predisposed with one. My guess is there can be artificial (or a high concentration of) disturbing additives in commercial PF (especially kibble) that over long term aggravates a dog’s condition, such as towards seizures. It could be also there’s not enough broad nutrition (vits & mins) in the food either. Studies have already been done in humans (for example) calling out dyes and flavorings that can aggravate ADHD or other conditions. So why not in PF where the dog is eating the same diet or meal, 365 days a year?

      My puppy came from a line predisposed to seizures, and word came of his litter mates being affected, and definitely was the litter’s sire. He also had a problematic temperament issue, even being returned by the original owner. The seizure problem was so prevalent that his line was shut down, and all were spayed and neutered. I worried for years that mine would manifest, and it’s said that if the dog passes the age of 5 years without a problem, then it’s usually clear. During a part of those years unfortunately, I had been feeding NB’s Sweet Potato & Fish, and something in the back of my mind said I should be wary, and so began reading and researching. Many, many years ago it wasn’t even popular to be questioning a commercial PF, and TAPF had only been out for about a year. Luckily I came across it, and found out (that at that time) NB had been using a very undesirable ingredient. It blew my mind that I would have to be worrying about my dog’s diet! NB seemed to be a premium product at that time, and was being personally (?) endorsed. However, I switched, and was very vigilant about his diet from there on, because I so wanted to avoid those seizures ever developing.

      My dog is (happily) much, much older and because I wanted to continue giving him the best chance for a quality life (avoiding chronic conditions, arthritis, and other issues) I make his food. His temperament has definitely improved towards being compliant and cooperative and more confident. (He had been highly anxious.) He goes wild over the combination of whole food ingredients in the meal (eats better than myself) and truly is thriving with (apparent) enthusiasm, energy and appears to be feeling free of a lot other aging issues.

      No matter what commercial PF product is chosen, I would encourage at least augmenting that diet with plenty of whole foods. Your new puppy is deserving of the best start possible!

  39. Karen

    This occurance of mislabeled ingredients being shipped to the plant was years ago. Not recent. It was just uncovered by Blue doing investigation of their own. And yes. They started building their own production facility and now have got it open recently. And its chicken by products. Do you know what that is. Gizzards, hearts, livers, feet etc. Nothing bad. Just not what they want in their product. This hysteria was really expected. Rumors and lack of info takes off as usual. Not saying that an oversite didn’t occur but no Chicken by product isn’t that bad. I just paid money for chicken feet. Turkey necks. All by products. It helps if you understand first definitions and second, know whats going on without hysteria and going off half informed. This isn’t Menu melamine all over again. It wouldn’t cause medical conditions. Yes we need better oversite of human foods and animal food but know what you’re talking about first. Read. Never debate without more facts, or current information. Again this didn’t happen recently. It was just discovered that the facility did this. I do not know if they knew or not. I use Blue and have for 8 years and never had a problem. Do I trust manufactors? Not completely. Human or animal. We do the best we can. Educate yourself with the correct info, not a snowballing bunch of rumors and hysteria going off half cocked. Feed whatever you want. But my background in nutrition and the industry tells me alot. Most people don’t even read a label. They grab the cheapest crap and if the dog lives fine, if it dies oh well. Go find another pet food company that uses Human grade ingredients, doesn’t source from China, does’t use preservatives or fillers or allergen products etc. Go ahead. Try. And has their own facitlty because they want quality control. Not relying on others like this facitly. Go on… find one. keep looking… cause I’ll wait. I know where productes are produced for the most part. I’m waiting. Nope no luck? Hard to find isn’t it?

    1. Karen

      *ages ago, not years but quite some time ago*

    2. Reader

      A lot of provocative (meaning really disturbing) articles are written on TAPF. Some barely get any reaction. But the BB Surprising Statement has received 72 comments so far! Keeping this issue in perspective the lesson here is this. Be careful what you preach if you’re not in control of your own reality.

      The “hysteria” was created by BB. Their TV commercials were ridiculous! Pet Owners in tears for being duped by “Big Name Brands” as if‘by-products were the end of the world. [The SNL version of this commercial was spot on!] The question is would BB have determined their supplier was delivering by-products if they hadn’t been put into a position of needing to defend themselves? Because if all things were equal, then they would have discovered the mistake independently, admitted it on their website, reassured their “loyal” customers, and moved on productively speaking. I don’t think anyone here is working off a bunch of rumors. That’s not what TAPF journalism is all about. It’s about bringing things to the attention of Consumers that they would otherwise never hear about, or notice. Most people here DO read labels. But the general public (whether they read them or not) still deserves to have the truth. If by-products can’t be screened out of a formula 100% accurately, then include the variation on the label (as in, “this product may contain by-products from time to time”) just like products with potential allergens state on their labels. I don’t think people care that much, but they do when they’re paying for a so-called premium product that states a specific exclusion! And that’s what BB’s advertising was all about. In reality, they were creating the hysteria by pushing some, dumb “test” – instead of educating the public as to what the definition of various ingredients really means.

      Unfortunately what BB was actually admitting to (indirectly) is the fact that the use of by-products doesn’t mean using lovely little giblets, hearts, and gizzards. It is (in the PFI world) a catch-all term for remnants and discards not fit (at least for retail resale). If it’s so useful and beneficial, then why not just make it an ingredient, identify it, explain it, and stop harping on the competition just to increase BB’s sales?

      For a change, wouldn’t it be refreshing for a company to take all that advertising money (do you have ANY idea how costly prime time advertising is?) and put it into 1) quality assurance testing & screening before mistakes are made and not after? And 2) reaching out to Consumers with truthful education. Pretty novel approach huh …. ? Because the next time any “mistake” is made, it might NOT be so innocuous.

      And that’s the point of THIS article.

      In terms of Brands doing it right?? The Honest Kitchen, Just Food For Dogs, and several others on The 2014 List. It’s certainly worth a donation!

  40. Jolene

    I recently purchased a bag of Blue for my Chinese crested because it was touted to be a good food for them. My dogs get bored with the same thing so I change occasionally to keep them interested. My dogs all broke out in acne on their skins, after I had just gotten it all cleared up, and three of them ended up with yeast infections in their ears, one so horribly that it was foaming out of her ears and when she would shake her head it would go all over. The only thing different was that Blue grain free that I just bought. I have returned it to the store for a full refund, but now have to deal with the skin and ear issues. I am not a happy camper at all.

    1. Mark Feiner

      This has nothing to do with the topic.
      Just a bad coincidence.

      1. Pet Owner

        The “topic” has to do with undisclosed ingredients in a labeled PF. Forget whether BB is guilty or not. Forget about the controversy over by-products and concentrate on the idea that whenever an owner doesn’t know what they’re buying then they can’t avoid the issues arise. Some pets ARE terribly sensitive to ingredients that aggravate yeast production. My dog had a terrible reaction to chicken which manifested within 20 minutes of eating. I know another friend who can’t use any chicken either. Also Chinese Cresteds have VERY sensitive skin, which can be affected by the sun, and they can be easily sun-burned. Acne (or in other words, bad skin eruptions) is an allergic reaction period. And the only “proof” an owner requires as to whether the PF is the culprit, is when they stop using the brand, the issue goes away. Duhhh!

  41. HW

    Ugh. So tired of all these shenanigans. I’m going raw. I mean my dogs stand a better chance if I just feed them McDonalds hamburgers! So tired of having to check up on dog food companies. I have been a die hard BB user but this is getting ridiculous.

  42. Steve

    Another example of Blue Buffalo not seemin to hold to their “healthy” standards is why they are continuing to source their salmon/fish products from the Pacific???? EVERYTHING out of the Pacific is now tainted for human or animal consumption. ALmost every sample of fish, plant life, wildlife has shown higher than safe levels of cesium 137 & (Fukashima)134 all along the Calf coast up to Alaska. Official gov projections put it at 54 years before radiation level increases have maxed and begin to decline.(and this projection is only based on the ORIGINAL meltdown & release – and DOES NOT INCLUDE the 400-600 metric tons of highly radio active water that the Japanese gov finally has admitted has been being released into the ocean EVERYDAY SINCE UP TO THIS VERY DAY.) these underestimated projections clearly show highest radiation levels accumulating the entire west coast to Alaska. Shortly after the event governments, including our own decided to raise “safe” limits by income cases hundreds of times to fit the “new safe levels” to avoid liability and cleanup costs.

    Seems as though Blue Buffalo is in the midst of abandoning its focus on “health” for more lucrative corporate profit and trying to milk their prior reputation .

    1. Peg

      I am in no way defending Blue Buffalo’s snarky way of doing business.

      I thought you might find this info on radioactivity interesting as I know there are many who feed foods with fish as an ingredient. These folks are not for profit.

      I try to make donations to Center for Marine and Environmental Radiation and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute as often as I can. We do eat fish fairly regularly in our home and even though I am on the east coast, we do get some fish from the Pacific waters.

      Much more info at the link and the abbreviated version at the link under updates.

      November 10, 2014

      Fukushima Radioactivity Detected Off West Coast

      “Monitoring efforts along the Pacific Coast of the U.S. and Canada have detected the presence of small amounts of radioactivity from the 2011 Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant accident 100 miles (150 km) due west of Eureka, California. Scientists at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) found the trace amounts of telltale radioactive compounds as part of their ongoing monitoring of natural and human sources of radioactivity in the ocean.”

  43. Victor

    Our 12 1/2 year old Golden Retreiver Ben died on March 3rd, 2015. We bought a new bag of Blue Buffalo in December which we started giving to him in January, after which he started throwing up violently. We didn’t think it was the Blue Buffalo food because we thought it was a premium food and he’d been eating it for a long time. From looking at other complaints it looks like something changed with their food at the end of 2014 where dogs were getting violently ill, some having diarrhea with blood in it, and others just kept throwing up- like our dog, and could not hold anything down. See consumer affairs for similar stories:

    The last time we gave Ben the Blue Buffalo was the end of January. When we found out about the other complaints and issues it was too late. We took him to two different vets. He was put on an IV because of the dehydration from throwing up, and he was given an antinausea medication as well as antibiotics that only seemed to help for a little bit. His body was already poisoned, he lost 20 lbs and he could not recoup. We tried to save him by spoonfeeding him chicken and rice (blended with water) for about 4 weeks to keep him alive but he started to take a turn for the worse and we sadly had to put him to sleep.

    If there is anything that can be done here we’d like to know about it. Ben was always a very healthy dog, went on two walks a day and never got sick until this happened. He was not just loved by us but by anyone that he touched. He was a beautiful guy and this is just wrong.


    1. Mandy B

      Victor – Do you still have any food from that bag of food? Do you have the Batch # / Expiration date from the bag? You may be able to have the food tested.

      1. Victor

        Unfortunately no, we took it back to Petco and got a full refund. We did manage to keep some of his throw up he did in the backyard where snow covered it. Once we saw it we put in a tupperware and froze it.

  44. Terry Dixson

    WTF?!! I have been feeding Blue Buffalo to my dogs for years, thinking I was feeding them a good quality food. Now I find out I’ve been paying over 50 bucks a bag for crap food that is no better than what is on the retail store shelves and might be helping to send my kids, YES MY KIDS, to an early grave?!!!! Ooooh Blue Buffalo, you really shouldn’t have! You are going to rue the day you screwed over this mom’s dogs!!!!

    1. Paula

      Yup, I was furious, too. I now feed them Tractor Supply’s 4Health brand. It’s half the price, had better ingredients, my guys love it, and they look great.

    2. Mandy B

      There’s a class action lawsuit pending against them. Maybe you should look into getting involved in that.

  45. Ian

    I adopted a 13 week old Husky puppy last week. Took her to the vet for her first check up, she was given a 100% clean bill of health. Three days later she died from an allergic reaction/poisoning that closed her airway and suffocated her to death. The last thing she ate…….you guessed it! Blue Buffalo training treats. She didn’t choke on the treat either, she died 10 hrs after eating it. It was the most violent death I have ever seen, heaving and gasping for air, and vomiting……..and I was in the Marines during the Iraq war!!!! Blue Buffalo, you are forever in my sights. I hope you go bankrupt and are forced to eat the poison you so readily feed our animals. Disgrace of a company. Ohhh, and yes, she has had a necropsy done and the vet is baffled because she had perfectly healthy organs and he has ruled out Parvo or any sort of genetic fault

      1. Ian

        Thank you Susan! I will report it right away!

    1. Regina

      I am incredibly sorry for your loss!!!! I can’t imagine what was going through your mind at that time, with what you were witnessing.

      As someone with food allergies, I have to read so many labels when shopping for my food, or if I’m eating out, I’ve frustrated many staffers with questions about what is in something before I even think about ordering it. There are restaurants I just won’t go to because it is such a hassle.

      That being said, if it WAS an allergic reaction that caused the death of your dog, she really could have died eating any brand of food that had that ingredient in it. I am not saying that you shouldn’t report this to FDA, but, if it was truly an allergic reaction, the brand would not have mattered.

      I am not trying to minimize your pain, I just wanted to speak as someone who has had quite a few allergic reactions that were not “brand specific”

      I have been getting allergy shots for years, and they help. It’s just a shame that they can’t do allergy testing after a dog has died.

      Oh, and thank you for serving our country. I do not feel our veterans are appreciated enough.

  46. Tina Clark

    Ian, that is horrible, I’m so sorry for your loss. My dog Lily’s death was not as painful for her as your puppy’s was, nor was Blue Buffalo as clearly the culprit, but both my vet and I suspect it had a very large part in killing her. I’m with you, the sooner BB goes out of business, the better.

    1. Ian

      Sorry for your loss as well. Since this happened I have heard from so many friends that either had problems with the food or suspect it contributing to the death of the animal. I just wish I had done my homework sooner.

  47. Lisa

    For myself, I am finding the only way to protect my pets is to make my own dog and cat food. I do not feel I can expect the government to do anything until “after the fact”. The whole “guilty until proven innocent”. Yes, in my opinion what BB did was unethical, and the owners are old enough to know better. I am sad a person of the age of the manufacturer was more interested in the almighty dollar than what his parents weren’t able to teach him. So we have at the moment in my opinion (yes, I have a lot of opinions here) we have a big expensive drama onstage with a lot of attention being paid, which translates to advertising (again money) and marketing. I do commend the dog food manufacturers who know how to read and do play by the rules.

  48. Fern S.

    What surprises me is that so many people don’t condone the use of chicken by-product meal. All that the by product is is just the meaty parts of chicken that people don’t want to eat–the hearts, spleens, etc. It’s extremely healthy for dogs to have and, while I actually work for Mars Pet Care(Nutro, Eukanuba, Greenies, etc.) I don’t see any issue with Blue Buffalo having this as an ingredient–the real concern is with the labelling and lack of attention to their ingredient sources.

    1. Pacific Sun

      When by-products are used the TAPF is making the point about the potential inconsistency of PF (nutrition or balance) long-term. So it would be better to identify what the by-products are (such as liver, spleen, bone, etc.) and to list them in order to indicate the relative balance of the batch or recipe. I agree that in the wild a dog would eat the whole array of available protein and would probably be better off for doing so. But using whole (we’re assuming clean, healthy) meat somehow sounds more nutritious to the consumer and justifies a higher price tag. However should consumers ever figure out that they’re still paying premium for left-overs and what can’t be sold retail to humans, they might begin to object!

      It is ironic that BB objected to Purina’s use of by-products (and boasting about BB’s exclusion) instead of explaining that IF the by-products were described they could be of nutritional value instead of a source of criticism. Certainly it’s good for your dog to eat organ meat and a certain amount of bone and it’s hard to believe that BB could be that ill-informed about doing so. However maybe it is MARKETING running the company instead of certified nutritionists. Taking that approach with customers should certainly devalue BB all the more in the eyes of the public!

      Read about by-products at

      The quote is: “The AAFCO (American Association of Feed Control Officials – the organization responsible for all animal feed manufacturing rules and regulations) defines by-products as “meat by-products is the non-rendered, clean parts, other than meat, derived from slaughtered mammals. It includes, but is not limited to, lungs, spleen, kidneys, brain, livers, blood, bone, partially defatted low temperature fatty tissue, and stomachs and intestines freed of their contents. It does not include hair, horns, teeth, and hoofs. It shall be suitable for use in animal food. If it bears name descriptive of its kind, it must correspond thereto.”

      The quote continues: “So, with respect to pet food – a by-product is a catch-all ingredient name. My guess (meaning the author’s) would be that AAFCO decided that ‘chicken lungs’ or ‘cow intestines’ listing on a pet food label wouldn’t sound very appealing to the pet owner. Probably wouldn’t sell a lot of that food. Instead, all these less than appealing left-overs are clumped into one ingredient name – by-product. There is NO certainty of what you are feeding – one batch of pet food might be more intestine by-products while the next batch of pet food might be more liver or bone by-products. There is NO consistency to what is actually contained in the pet food ingredient by-product. Without consistency of ingredients, there is no consistency to the quality of nutrition. Without consistency of quality nutrition, there is no consistency to your pet’s health. ”

      Also: “The Center for Veterinary Medicine states that ‘animal feeds provide a practical outlet for plant and animal by-products not suitable for human consumption.’ I can (meaning the author) only imagine the conversation when that decision was made…’what are we going to do with all these left over intestines and spleens? Ah, what the heck, let’s put them in pet food. We’ll call it something else – no one will know – and then we don’t have to go through the expense and trouble of getting rid of the stuff.’”

      (In my opinion) with this kind of logic the PFI does seem to be inhabiting it’s very own universe. How is over there … at Mars?

    2. Regina

      I once saw (on a pet food’s website) the description of by-product as (and I’m paraphrasing here, because I don’t remember the exact wording)
      “By-products are the part of the chicken that isn’t being processed for humans to eat so since most people just eat the flesh, then the heart, liver, etc. is considered by-products” with the implication that it’s still an edible part, just not something most humans wouldn’t eat themselves.

      I think that’s a crappy cop-out. If they are using the liver, say “liver” and if they are using the heart, say “heart” — how hard is that??? and of course, you should be able to tell what animal the organs are coming from.

      The fact is that most of those big brand out there, and I think the Mars Corporation is pretty darn big (with how many different brand of pet food now?????) use by-products that are all lumped under the name “by-product” because they don’t want to say exactly what it is. Folks who have been following this site “Truth about Pet Food” are learning (or have already learned) that a lot of the stuff that falls into the “by-product” definition is waaaaay worse than just the parts of a healthy animal slaughtered and promptly and hygienically processed into something edible for humans and our pets.

      The main word is “Truth”
      How hard should that be?

      1. Pacific Sun

        In agreement with Regina’s comment (above), and (although speculation doesn’t do us much good here) perhaps the issue is about proportion and ratio. Maybe organ parts, or the animal itself is supplied all mashed together and because ingredients must be listed in the order of weight, then how could it be determined if there was more liver present than kidney, for example. It’s probably a matter of practicality. More likely the internal organs aren’t cleaned up either (revolting to think about intestines). But for me, liver or kidney on the ingredient list is great. Organ meats are very good for dogs. It’s expensive when I buy them separately. Curiously I don’t see the selection of internal organs in the human meat counter anymore (like in the butcher’s refrigerator of the ‘60’s). I remember seeing liver, heart, brains, tongue, stomach lining, pig’s feet, and more, so to me it was just another product. In fact we reared (a probably pancreatic prone) Poodle in the ‘60’s on boiled baby lamb tongues and broth! It would be good for a brand to market a recipe/formula featuring organ meat in addition to tripe which is readily available. It’s all about canine nutritional and consumer education! Don’t people realize an animal in the wild consumes most parts of the prey especially the “unappetizing” parts?

        1. Regina

          In continuation, I would be satisfied if the label said something like “chicken organs” or “beef organs” instead of the catch-all phrase of “by-products” — and of course, saying what animal the organs come from is important to know, for pets who may be sensitive/allergic to a certain animal’s protein.

          As followers of this site “Truth About Pet Food” we just want want the truth about whats in our pets’ foods. And nowadays, “by-products” includes parts of animals, where the entire animal is not fit for human consumption, thus not fit for our pets.

  49. […] Buffalo cat food was affected by the melamine recalls in 2007. In October 2014, Blue Buffalo announced that some of their products had been “mislabeled” and that they did contain by-products, which the company had long denied […]

  50. jake

    i stopped using blue when i figured out it was owned by the same people who owned Soybe products and they did the same thing lied about what was n it and got caught and blamed it on other people when in actuality it was all the companys fault hope people stop using blue and go to better foods i personally like the specialty foods small dog care shops sell or order for you do research and buy from honest people not liars who do the same thing over and over stop being fooled by people who want nothing but more money

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