Purina, Blue Buffalo continue arguments in false advertising case
Purina expands claim to include pet treats and cat litter, Blue Buffalo disputes science of product study conducted
On September 18, 2014, NestlÃ© Purina PetCare Company filed an amended complaint in its false advertising lawsuit against Blue Buffalo, alleging additional false advertising in the marketing of the company's petfood, treats and cat litter. On September 19, Blue Buffalo posted a letter from founder and Chairman Bill Bishop disputing Purina's independent testing, saying the person involved has "dubious scientific credentials."
According to Purina, new testing showed that "Blue Buffalo's 'LifeSource Bits' actually have lower levels of some key nutrients than the standard kibble found in Blue Buffalo petfood." In addition, said Purina, Blue Buffalo's Jolly Joints dog treats have inadequate levels of glucosamine to provide the joint and hip health benefits the product claims. The company also said that "Blue Buffalo’s claims that its cat litter products have 'three times the absorption power' of the leading clay-based litter, and '1.5X-8.5X More Odor Control' than leading clumping litter, are also false and misleading against Purina’s litter products."
But Blue Buffalo has called into question Purina's independent testing by Windsor Laboratories, saying that the research "does not even come close to meeting the basic requirements of a scientific test, let alone being something to use as support to make their outrageous, malicious allegations." The lab, said Blue Buffalo, is actually a single individual with "dubious scientific credentials" who works out of a home lab. The analysis was performed "with a rudimentary microscope under less than optimal conditions with questionable methods and record keeping." The company has conducted a report on the research, via Vinayak P. Dravid, PhD.
According to Purina, "Windsor Laboratories is a well-recognized laboratory specializing in microscopic analysis for the agricultural and other related industries, including the petfood industry. Its owner, Dr. James V. Makowski, is the author and lead editor of Microscopic Analysis of Agricultural Products (4th Edition, 2010), a training resource on the subject of microscopic analysis of agricultural products used by the US Food and Drug Administration."
The case in question is NestlÃ© Purina PetCare Company v. Blue Buffalo Company Ltd., Civil Case No. 4:14-cv-00859.
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