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Purina sues Blue Buffalo for false advertising, disparagement

Nestlé Purina PetCare Company has filed a lawsuit in federal court in St. Louis, Missouri, against The Blue Buffalo Company Ltd., for false advertising, disparagement and unjust enrichment—including violations of the Federal Lanham Act (15 U.S.C. § 1125(a)).

Blue Buffalo’s promotion, advertising and packaging state that its petfood products contain “No Chicken/Poultry By-Product Meals.” In its complaint, Purina alleges that testing conducted by an independent laboratory found that several of Blue Buffalo’s “Life Protection” petfood products contained significant percentages of poultry by-product meal. Testing was done from samples of multiple formulas of Blue Buffalo petfood purchased at retail stores on both the East and West Coasts, says Purina. Independent testing also showed that Blue Buffalo “LifeSource Bits” contain poultry by-product meal and corn, and several Blue Buffalo products promoted as “grain-free” actually contain rice hulls, according to the company.

The lawsuit follows a March 2014 decision of the National Advertising Division (NAD) of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, which found that Blue Buffalo is engaging in misleading advertising practices with respect to its claims about competing products. The NAD decision recommended that Blue Buffalo correct its television ad campaigns by removing all of its allegations that Blue Buffalo’s competitors are misleading consumers.

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