Have you been following the heated lawsuit that Purina filed against Blue Buffalo accusing the company of falsely advertising the ingredients in their pet food? I think the case is especially important if you have a dog or cat with special needs because good nutrition is so important to maintaining their health.
The suit was first filed on May 6, 2014 after tests by Purina found poultry by-product meal in some of Blue Buffalo’s top selling foods. Blue Buffalo’s CEO called the test “Voodoo Science” by Purina and continued with its normal production of food for another year. Bill Bishop, founder of Blue Buffalo reassured customers that they do not use: chicken by-product meal, poultry by-product meal, ground corn or artificial preservatives in any of their food.
One year later the story from Blue Buffalo has changed and on May 7 they admitted in court that a “substantial” and “material” portion of their products were found to contain poultry by-product meal. The company has now asked the court for time so they can bring charges against the suppliers of their ingredients. Blue Buffalo is blaming the suppliers for adding poor nutritional ingredients without their knowledge.
Keith Schopp, who is a spokesperson for Purina, wasn’t happy with Blue Buffalo’s new defense. “A manufacturer is responsible for knowing what’s in its product, and a simple audit of its supply chain would have revealed what we discovered after reviewing the documentation,” said Schopp.
I wholeheartedly agree with Mr. Schopp. Blue Buffalo has the duty to know what suppliers are adding to their recipes. They put dogs like my Cody who has Inflammatory Bowel Disease, a condition that makes it hard for him to absorb nutrients, at risk for an entire year.
But what exactly is poultry by-product meal?
Poultry By-Product Meal
The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) says that poultry by-product meal is “ground, rendered, clean parts of the carcass of slaughtered poultry such as necks, feet, underdeveloped eggs and intestines, exclusive of feathers.”
It costs less to produce and it lacks nutritional digestibility.
The rendering process which cooks meat at high temperatures or for long periods of time reduces the nutritional content of the food and the parts selected such as chicken feet, are among the least protein dense portions.
If you are curious there are actually Protein Efficiency Ratio (PER) tables that list how much protein is in each part of the chicken. Bones and feet have the lowest PER while organs have the highest.
Purina thinks Blue Buffalo owes an apology to consumers for their “false statements” during the year of the lawsuit and for their “false labels and advertising.” What do you think Blue Buffalo should do?