Blue Buffalo makes True Blue promise to settle for $32 million


Pet food manufacturer denies wrongdoing but says it wants to avoid further litigation.

Blue Buffalo Pet Products Inc. announced it will pay $32 million to settle the claims of consumers brought in class action lawsuits pending in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. The pet food manufacturer was accused of deceiving consumers with its “True Blue Promise” advertising campaign claiming its food contained no chicken or poultry byproduct meal.

“Blue Buffalo denies any wrongdoing, and has agreed to this settlement to eliminate the uncertainties, burden and expense of further litigation,” a Blue Buffalo release states.

Bill Bishop, founder and chairman of Blue Buffalo, issued a letter to customers in October 2014 saying the company had learned that one of its suppliers had mislabeled some ingredients. This resulted in poultry byproduct meal being used in its pet food instead of 100 percent chicken meal.

“More than a year ago, we informed our Pet Parents about the misconduct of a former ingredient supplier and a broker,” Bishop says in the release. “While we will continue to pursue our claims against them, we decided that it is in the best interest of our Pet Parents and our company to resolve the class actions now. All of us at Blue Buffalo continue to work tirelessly to make pet food with the finest natural ingredients for our furry family members.”

Nestle Purina PetCare Company has led the charge against Blue Buffalo, suing its competitor for false advertising in relation to the same advertising campaign's “True Blue Test.” That lawsuit is still pending, but Purina is celebrating the class action lawsuits' settlement as a win.

“Blue Buffalo's announcement of a $32 million consumer class action settlement-the largest pet food class action settlement ever-comes a full seven months after Blue admitted mislabeling products and 19 months after Purina sued Blue Buffalo for false advertising and misleading pet parents,” a Purina statement reads. “Purina is pleased Blue Buffalo is beginning to accept responsibility for its false advertising and mislabeling.”

The settlement agreement is subject to approval by the court.

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