May 18, 2014— -- Two pet food companies, Blue Buffalo and Nestle Purina, have entered into a dog fight, accusing each other of false advertising and defamation.
Blue Buffalo, which calls itself one of the fastest growing dog and cat food brands in the U.S., claims its pet food is free of chicken and poultry by-products and offers some grain-free varieties.
But Purina claims that isn't true, and filed a lawsuit last week in federal court accusing Blue Buffalo of false advertising.
The lawsuit alleges testing at an independent lab found "significant percentages of poultry by-product meal" in Blue Buffalo's top-selling life-protection products and that some of its grain-free products contained rice or corn.
Blue Buffalo responded by filing a counter suit, denying Purina's claims about its ingredients and alleging defamation.
"Legal technicalities may allow them [Purina] to refuse to provide details about their so called 'independent' research, but the simple truth is that a product reflects the ingredients it is made with, and I can assure you that we've never purchased one kernel of corn or one ounce of poultry by-product meal ... two ingredients Nestle Purina claims to have found in our food," read a statement from Blue Buffalo founder Bill Bishop.
Bishops' statement added that the company would be proactive in defending its integrity and product quality.
In a statement posted to its website, Purina said it stood by its original complaint.
"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," the Purina statement said.
"It's really important that owners are getting what they paid for and that it's really accurate," said Dr. Jennifer Larson, a veterinary clinical nutritionist at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.