Update: Blue Buffalo Suit Dismissed
After a drawn-out fight, a U.S. District Judge has ruled that the claims brought forth by the June 2017 lead contamination suit are barred by a previous settlement. Blue Buffalo in 2016 paid $32 million to settle false advertising claims over its dog food products – and while the claims made in both cases weren’t identical, the judge found that they were similar enough to prevent the most recent case from proceeding any further. You can read the judge’s order here.
A proposed class action lawsuit filed in California alleges Blue Buffalo Pet Products, Inc. knowingly makes, markets and sells dog food contaminated with material and significant levels of lead.
Which products are mentioned in the lawsuit?
The 24-page lawsuit, filed in California, claims the below products, at minimum, are contaminated with lead:
- Blue Wilderness Chicken Recipe for Small Breed Adult Dogs
- Blue Freedom Grain-Free Chicken Recipe for Small Breed Adult Dogs
- Blue Basics Grain-Free Turkey & Potato Recipe for Adult Dogs
The complaint notes each of the above products are sold by the defendant alongside claims that they contain “LifeSource Bits,” which are advertised as a “precise blend of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals” chosen by holistic veterinarians and animal nutrition experts.
What are the allegations?
The lawsuit alleges Blue Buffalo Pet Products has knowingly advertised and sold dog food contaminated with lead without providing proper warning to consumers. Blue Buffalo Pet Products’ claims, especially that some of its ostensibly contaminated food contains blends of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, for instance, is likely to deceive the public into believing the dog food is healthy and “holistic,” according to the suit.
“Nothing could be further from the truth,” the case argues, “as the contaminated foods’ inclusion of an unsafe amount of lead creates a health hazard for dogs.”
The plaintiff argues he and other pet owners paid a premium price for dog food that did not deliver on what was promised. Even worse, proposed class members bought the above dog food with the belief that the products were safe and that the labeling on the products’ packaging was accurate, the case says.
What health problems can lead exposure cause in dogs?
The complaint wages lead builds up in the body slowly over time and has been scientifically linked to the development of chronic poisoning, cancer, and developmental and reproductive disorders, as well as injuries to the nervous system.
Does the case say if any Good Dogs were injured?
The plaintiff alleges his dog, a four-year-old cocker spaniel-poodle mix, experienced kidney disease and ultimately kidney failure as a result of ingesting the defendant’s products as its primary source of food. The case describes this Good Dog’s condition as a “shocking occurrence” since it was only four years old.
(Ed. note: All dogs are Good Dogs.)
Who’s covered by the lawsuit?
The suit seeks to cover a proposed class of consumers in the United States who purchased any of the above-listed dog food for household use (not for resale) between July 1, 2013 and the present. A California subclass has also been proposed.
The full complaint can be read below.