A class action lawsuit has been filed against Blue Buffalo Company by a consumer who claims that their “Blue Wilderness” dog food products are deceptively labeled as being “inspired by the diet of wolves.”
Plaintiff Shannon Walton states that the company’s Blue Wilderness dog food contains “high levels of dietary carbohydrates” which are unhealthy for dogs and not a major part of the diet of grey wolves.
The plaintiff notes that she owns a seven-year-old labrador-beagle mix named Tucker and she purchased and fed Tucker the BLUE Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe (Red Meat flavor) and BLUE Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe (Bison flavor).
Walton argues that Tucker’s weight has increased and requires medical observation for canine obesity. In addition, the Blue Buffalo class action lawsuit states that Tucker has been diagnosed with diabetes.
The Blue Buffalo class action lawsuit claims that wild wolves eat very little dietary carbohydrates and do not have high rates of diseases like obesity and cancer.
Carbohydrates are the major cause of obesity in dogs and have clear links to the morbidity of the animal. Also, the consumption of carbohydrates causes a dog’s glucose levels to increase, which could eventually cause cancer, the plaintiff states.
The Blue Buffalo class action lawsuit argues that cancer is basically non-existent in wolves, but there is an “epidemic” of cancer in the United States, which may be afflicting at least 25 percent of dogs.
“Millions of dogs in the United States — the vast majority of whom eat carbohydrate-rich kibbles like the ones sold by Defendant — suffer from diabetes. But among wolves — a species that never consumes carbohydrates — there has never been a single documented case,” the plaintiff alleges.
“And while this disease was virtually nonexistent among wolf populations, American dogs are currently experiencing an epidemic of obesity, with studies suggesting that at least 50% of dogs in the United States are overweight,” Walton states.
Walton claims that the defendant advertises their dog foods are “Healthy” and “Holistic,” but their products are made by extrusion processing, which requires ingredients that are high in carbohydrates which are unhealthy for dogs.
In addition, the Blue Buffalo class action lawsuit states that the high carbohydrate content is concealed from customers. To be sure, the plaintiff claims that the amount of carbohydrates is not even displayed on the products labels.
“Instead, Defendant markets and promotes its dog food products by focusing on the non-carbohydrate nutrients found in the products, such as proteins, fats, fiber, vitamins and minerals,” the Blue Buffalo class action lawsuit states.
The plaintiff alleges that in order to ascertain the carbohydrate content of Blue Buffalo products, the consumer has to contact customer service or by “backing out the percentages of the disclosed nutritional information from the sum of ingredients.”
The defendant also markets this high-carbohydrate dog food to veterinarians by stating that the foods will have a positive effect on the canine body.
“In one way or another, all of the marketing claims described above fail to reflect the scientifically-verified reality about the health effects that dietary carbohydrates have on the bodies of domestic dogs,” the Blue Buffalo class action lawsuit states.
In 2016, Blue Buffalo settled a class action lawsuit for $32 million whereby customers complained that the company misled the public when they claimed their pet food ingredients were free of poultry byproducts, corn, wheat, soy and artificial preservatives.
Do you give your dogs any of the Blue Buffalo products? Leave a message in the comments section below.
The plaintiff is represented by Carlos V. Ramirez and Michael R. Reese of Reese LLP and Anthony J. DiRaimondo of Rice Reuther Sullivan & Carroll LLP.
The Blue Wilderness Dog Food Class Action Lawsuit is Walton v. Blue Buffalo Company Ltd., Case No. 7:20-cv-00001, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
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