Lawsuit over Blue Buffalo dog food carbs versus wolf diet

A dog owner filed a class action lawsuit claiming that consumption of Blue Buffalo dog food caused her pet’s obesity.

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(edwardolive | BigStockPhoto)
(edwardolive | BigStockPhoto)

A dog owner filed a class action lawsuit claiming that consumption of Blue Buffalo dog food caused her pet’s obesity. In legal documents, Shannon Walton’s lawyers claimed her seven-year-old Labrador-Beagle mix, Tucker, “gained significant weight and now requires medical attention for canine obesity.” Veterinarians also diagnosed the dog with diabetes, which Walton pays to treat. Tucker ate BLUE Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe (Red Meat flavor) and BLUE Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe (Bison flavor).

Legal argument about Blue Buffalo dog food carbohydrates

The packages of both variety feature a wolf, as Walton’s lawyers noted. They based their argument on Blue Buffalo’s marketing and labeling of its dog foods as healthy and inspired by grey wolves’ natural diets. They listed marketing terms, “[i]nspired by the diet of wolves,” “ancestors in the wild” and “Nature’s Evolutionary Diet.” Lawyers filed their complaint with the U.S. District Court in New York.

“Wild wolves consume little or no dietary carbohydrate and they do not experience high rates of chronic diseases such as obesity and cancer. In fact, these diseases are essentially non-existent in wolf populations,…” wrote the lawyers. Blue Buffalo’s “claims are deceptive because their Blue Wilderness products all contain high levels of dietary carbohydrates, which are neither healthy for dogs nor a meaningful part of the diet of grey wolves.”

The lawyers claimed that a small bowl of Blue Wilderness chicken recipe contains more carbohydrates than a wild grey wolf is likely to consume in a lifetime. Since the marketing implies that the dog food is similar to a wolf’s natural diet, the lawyers argued that consumers may assume it was likewise low in carbohydrates.

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