Blue Buffalo Files Lawsuit Accusing Nestle Purina Of Propagating A “Smear Campaign”

We’re not going to claim that Consumerist is psychic, but last week we did predict that a cat fight was on the horizon between Blue Buffalo and Nestle Purina. Now, hot off the heels of Purina’s lawsuit alleging Blue Buffalo lies about the ingredients in its dog food, the natural dog food manufacturer has responded in kind with a lawsuit of its own.

Blue Buffalo on Wednesday filed suit accusing Nestle Purina of alleged defamation, unfair competition, false advertising, and violations of trade practice statutes.

The complaint claims that Nestle Purina blanketed the media with blatantly false ads about Blue Buffalo’s ingredients and created malicious attacks on Blue Buffalo’s integrity.

“In response to Nestle Purina’s malicious attacks against us, we have initiated a lawsuit against them demanding that Nestle Purina and the individuals working in concert with them be held accountable for their false accusations about Blue Buffalo, and that their carefully orchestrated smear campaign against the BLUE brand cease,” Bill Bishop, founder of Blue Buffalo, says in a news release.

The company is seeking injunctive relief, corrective advertising and damages for Purina’s alleged false and deceptive advertising campaign.

In a letter to consumers, Bishop goes on to claim Purina uses tricks to sell their products.

“Their Beneful brand is a great example of this type of sleight of hand, as the front of the bag features real beef, chicken or fish, while the ingredient listing features corn and chicken by-product meal as the leading ingredients…but, to be fair, salmon finally shows up as the 6th ingredient listed on their Beneful Healthy Radiance dog food…right after animal fat!”

Officials with Nestle Purina say they expected Blue Buffalo to create a distraction from Purina’s attempt of “being honest with the public about the ingredients in Blue Buffalo’s pet food.”

“We stand by our complaint,” Purina says in a news release [PDF]. “As detailed in our lawsuit, independent test results show that Blue Buffalo is not being honest with pet owners about the ingredients in their pet food.”

Last week, Purina filed suit [PDF] against Connecticut-based Blue Buffalo accusing the company of false advertising, disparagement and unjust enrichment.

The lawsuit claims that Blue Buffalo’s ads stating its products contain “only the finest natural ingredients” and “no chicken or poultry byproduct meals” are false and violate the Federal Lanham Act.

Purina alleges that testing conducted by an independent lab revealed several of Blue Buffalo’s top-selling Life Protection products contain significant percentages of poultry by-product meal. Additionally, the complaint claims the testing also found Blue Buffalo LifeSourceBits contain poultry by-products meal and corn.

Blue Buffalo Sues Nestle Purina for False Advertising and Unfair Trade Practices [Blue Buffalo]