Wilton-based Blue Buffalo Pet Products Inc. is one of 16 dog food brands cited by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as being a probable contributing cause of canine congestive heart failure.
Blue Buffalo, which was bought by General Mills in February 2018 for $8 billion, did not issue a public response to the FDA’s report.
The FDA did not call for any of the dog foods to be recalled, nor did it warn dog owners to avoid the brands, but instead asked dog owners to “work with their veterinarians, who have the ability to consult a board-certified veterinary nutritionist, to obtain the most appropriate dietary advice.”
In July 2018, the FDA began to investigate whether canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) could be linked to dogs eating certain pet foods, including many that were labeled as “grain-free” and whose main ingredients contained high proportions of peas, lentils, other legume seeds and/or potatoes.
While the FDA acknowledged in a statement that “the potential association between diet and DCM in dogs is a complex scientific issue that may involve multiple factors,” it nonetheless noted that many of the 524 cases of DCM reported to the agency included the dog food brands that contained this ingredient formulation.
The FDA said it received 31 reports of DCM involving dogs that were fed the Blue Buffalo brand, which was the sixth highest number of DCM-related deaths among the 16 brands under investigation.
In addition to Blue Buffalo, the brands cited by the FDA are Acana, California Natural, Earthborn Holistic, 4Health, Fromm, Merrick, Nature’s Domain, Nature’s Variety, Natural Balance, NutriSource, Nutro, Orijen, Rachael Ray Nutrish, Taste of the Wild and Zignature.
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Brewer, Reuben Gregg. “General Mills Is Still Paying for All That Dog Food.” Motley Fool. May 1, 2020. https://www.fool.com/investing/2020/05/01/general-mills-still-paying-for-all-that-dog-food.aspx.
Venugopal, Aishwarya. “General Mills Moves Into Pet Food With $8 Billion Blue Buffalo Deal.” Reuters. Feb. 23, 2018. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-blue-buffalo-pet-m-a-general-mills/general-mills-moves-into-pet-food-with-8-billion-blue-buffalo-deal-idUSKCN1G7185.
“About Us: The Blue Story — It’s All About Family.” Blue Buffalo. https://bluebuffalo.com/why-choose-blue/blue-story/.
Bishop, Bill. “Blue’s Bouts With Cancer.” Pet Cancer Awareness. https://petcancerawareness.org/who-we-are/our-story/.
DeGioia, Phyllis. “Blue Buffalo Advertising Draws Long History of Complaints.” VIN News. May 9, 2014. https://news.vin.com/default.aspx?pid=210&Id=6285937&useobjecttypeid=10&fromVINNEWSASPX=1.
Wall, Tim. “Purina and Blue Buffalo Settle Lawsuits After Two Years.” Pet Food Industry. Nov. 3, 2016. https://www.petfoodindustry.com/articles/6113-purina-and-blue-buffalo-settle-lawsuits-after-two-years.
Egan, Matt. “Blue Buffalo: The Whole Foods for Pets? CNN. July 22, 2015. https://money.cnn.com/2015/07/22/investing/blue-buffalo-ipo-whole-foods/index.html.
Wall, Tim. “General Mills Pet Food Sales Hit US$368 Million in Q1 FY20.” Pet Food Industry. Sept. 18, 2019. https://www.petfoodindustry.com/articles/8511-general-mills-pet-food-sales-hit-us368-million-in-q1-fy20.
“Top Pet Food Companies Current Data.” Pet Food Industry. 2020. https://www.petfoodindustry.com/directories/211-top-pet-food-companies.
“Blue Buffalo Opens Heartland Pet Food Manufacturing Facility.” Pet Food Industry. Sept. 2, 2014. https://www.petfoodindustry.com/articles/4467-blue-buffalo-opens-heartland-pet-food-manufacturing-facility.
“Questions & Answers: FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine’s Investigation Into a Possible Connection Between Diet and Canine Heart Disease.” U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). June 27, 2019. https://www.fda.gov/animal-veterinary/animal-health-literacy/questions-answers-fda-center-veterinary-medicines-investigation-possible-connection-between-diet-and.
“Zakinov v. Blue Buffalo Pet Products Inc.: Class Action Complaint.” ClassAction.org. June 26, 2017. https://www.classaction.org/media/zakinov-v-blue-buffalo-pet-products.pdf.
“Zakinov v. Blue Buffalo Pet Products Inc.: Order Granting Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss.” Casetext. March 22, 2018. https://casetext.com/case/zakinov-v-blue-buffalo-pet-prods-inc.
Carmella, Victoria, DVM, and Godfrey Lee. “Blue Buffalo Sets the Record Straight on Product Safety.” Blue Buffalo Facebook Page. March 21, 2018. https://www.facebook.com/notes/blue-buffalo/blue-buffalo-sets-the-record-straight-on-product-safety/10155385963568359/.
Wall, Tim. “Lawsuit Over Blue Buffalo Dog Food Carbs Versus Wolf Diet.” Pet Food Industry. Jan. 24, 2020. https://www.petfoodindustry.com/articles/8829-lawsuit-over-blue-buffalo-dog-food-carbs-versus-wolf-diet.
“Melamine Pet Food Recall of 2007.” FDA. https://www.fda.gov/animal-veterinary/recalls-withdrawals/melamine-pet-food-recall-2007.
“Blue Buffalo Recalls Can and Biscuit Products Due to Tampering by American Nutrition Inc.” FDA. April 26, 2007. Archived at https://www.petful.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/firmrecalls-bluebuffalo204_07.pdf.
Newman, Jared. “Wilton Pet Food Company Survives Recall.” Wilton (Connecticut) Villager. May 2, 2007. https://www.thehour.com/wilton/article/Wilton-pet-food-company-survives-recall-8293383.php.
“Blue Buffalo Voluntarily Recalls One Lot of Blue Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe Red Meat Dinner Wet Food for Adult Dogs Due to Potential Health Risk.” GlobeNewswire. March 17, 2017. https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2017/03/17/940958/0/en/Blue-Buffalo-Voluntarily-Recalls-One-Lot-of-BLUE-Wilderness-Rocky-Mountain-RecipeTM-Red-Meat-Dinner-Wet-Food-for-Adult-Dogs-Due-to-Potential-Health-Risk.html.
“Voluntary Market Withdrawal of Assorted Blue Buffalo Divine Delights and Wilderness Trail Trays 3.5 oz. Cups in U.S. and P.R.” PetSmart Corporate. Feb. 28, 2017. Archived at https://www.petful.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/blue-buffalo-feb-2017-recall.pdf.
“BB Homestyle Recipe Letter.” Blue Buffalo. Feb. 13, 2017. https://bluebuffalo.com/about/news/bb-homestyle-recipe-letter/.
“Blue Buffalo Recalls Batch of Dog Food.” Seattle Times. May 31, 2016. https://www.seattletimes.com/life/pets/blue-buffalo-recalls-batch-of-dog-food/.
“Blue Buffalo Voluntarily Recalls One Lot of Cub Size Wilderness Wild Chews Bones Due to Potential Salmonella Health Risk.” FDA. Nov. 25, 2015. Archived at https://www.petful.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/ucm474573.pdf.
“Blue Buffalo Company Ltd. Voluntarily Recalls Limited Production of Kitty Yums Chicken Recipe Cat Treats Due to the Presence of Propylene Glycol.” FDA. Nov. 6, 2015. Archived at https://www.petful.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/ucm471748.pdf.
“Blue Buffalo Company Ltd. Recalls Limited Production Code Dates of Dry Dog Food Because of Possible Excess Vitamin D.” FDA. Oct. 8, 2010. Archived at https://www.petful.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/ucm228986.pdf.
DeNoon, Daniel J. “Blue Buffalo Dog Food Recalled: Excess Vitamin D in Some Lots of ‘Blue’ Brand Dog Food.” WebMD. Oct. 12, 2010. https://pets.webmd.com/dogs/news/20101012/blue-buffalo-dog-food-recalled.
“Blue Buffalo Company Ltd. Issues Nationwide Recall of Blue Canned Dog Foods, Blue Spa Select Canned Cat Foods and Blue Dog Treats Manufactured at American Nutrition Inc.” FDA. April 27, 2007. Archived at https://www.petful.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/ucm112182.pdf.
“Blue Buffalo Company Announces Voluntary Recall of One Production Run of Spa Select Kitten Dry Food.” FDA. April 19, 2007. Archived at https://www.petful.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/ucm112171.pdf.
Has Blue Buffalo Ever Been Recalled?
Yes. Blue Buffalo has had to issue a number of pet food recalls going back to 2007. Here is a quick overview, and then we will go into much more detail below.
Most recently, in March 2017, Blue Buffalo recalled a single run of Blue Wilderness canned dog food because of potentially excessive levels of beef thyroid hormone (certain Wellness canned dog food was also recalled for the same reason).
A month earlier, in February 2017, Blue Buffalo recalled some cans of its Homestyle Recipe dog food because of possible metal (aluminum) contamination. Also that month, the company recalled wet dog food cups because of a packaging problem.
In May 2016, moisture problems and the possibility of mold prompted a limited recall of some Blue Buffalo sweet potato–flavored dog food.
In October 2010, Blue Buffalo voluntarily recalled a few products because of a “sequencing error” made by an ingredient supplier. The supplier had conducted a previous processing of Vitamin D in which some carryover may have contaminated the products.
Finally, in April 2007, as part of the larger Menu Foods/melamine recall that shocked the country, the FDA confirmed the presence of melamine in rice protein concentrate in food manufactured by American Nutrition Inc. for Blue Buffalo. Blue Buffalo denied knowledge or consent of the additive being in the product.
“The obvious question is ‘How could Blue Buffalo not know that ANI was putting rice protein concentrate into our canned food?” the company said in a press release. “The answer is, we trusted them. In business and in life, we all trust our partners to deal with us honestly.”
“This is product tampering, and it apparently has been going on for some time,” the company said.
As a result of the recall, Blue Buffalo pulled all of its manufacturing from American Nutrition, even including products not listed in the recall.
Bill Bishop lamented the randomness of the 2007 melamine recalls. Before the ordeal, the Blue Buffalo founder said he hadn’t even been aware that rice protein concentrate came from China. “If it was our fault,” he told a local newspaper in Wilton, Connecticut, “I could take it better.”
Below, we list the full details of every single Blue Buffalo recall.
Cause: Potential for elevated levels of naturally occurring beef thyroid hormone. Announcement: Company press release dated March 17, 2017. What was recalled: Blue Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe Red Meat Dinner Wet Food for Adult Dogs, 12.5 oz. cans, UPC #840243101153, best by June 7, 2019.
Cause: Packaging quality. Announcement: PetSmart announcement dated Feb. 28, 2017 (archived here). What was recalled: The following Blue Buffalo dog food cups:
Blue Divine Delights Filet Mignon Flavor in Gravy, UPC #84024312035
Blue Divine Delights New York Strip Flavor in Gravy, UPC #84024312037
Blue Divine Delights Prime Rib Flavor in Gravy, UPC #84024312039
Blue Divine Delights Rotisserie Chicken Flavor in Gravy, UPC #84024312041
Blue Divine Delights Pate Filet Mignon Flavor, UPC #84024312043
Blue Divine Delights Pate Porterhouse Flavor, UPC #84024312045
Blue Divine Delights Pate Grilled Chicken Flavor, UPC #84024312047
Blue Divine Delights Pate Top Sirloin Flavor, UPC #84024312049
Blue Divine Delights Pate Angus Beef Flavor, UPC #84024312051
Blue Divine Delights Pate Roasted Turkey Flavor, UPC #84024312053
Blue Divine Delights Pate With Bacon, Egg & Cheese, UPC #84024312057
Blue Divine Delights Pate Steak & Egg Flavor, UPC #84024312061
Blue Wilderness Trail Trays Duck Grill, UPC #84024312071
Blue Wilderness Trail Trays Beef Grill, UPC #84024312073
Blue Wilderness Trail Trays Chicken Grill, UPC #84024312075
Blue Wilderness Trail Trays Turkey Grill, UPC #84024312077
Cause: Possible metal contamination (aluminum). Announcement: Company announcement dated Feb. 13, 2017. What was recalled: Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Healthy Weight, Chicken Dinner With Garden Vegetables, 12.5 oz. can, UPC #8-40243-10017-0, best by Aug. 3, 2019.
Cause: Possible mold. Announcement: News report dated May 31, 2016. What was recalled: 30 lb. bags of Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Fish and Sweet Potato Recipe dog food, best by April 11, 2017.
Cause: Potential for salmonella. Announcement: FDA report dated Nov. 25, 2015 (archived here). What was recalled: One lot of Cub Size Wilderness Wild Chews Bones, best by Nov. 4, 2017.
Cause: May contain low levels of propylene glycol. Announcement: FDA report dated Nov. 6, 2015 (archived here). What was recalled: 2 oz. pouches of Blue Kitty Yums Tasty Chicken Recipe cat treats, best by either April 24 or July 24, 2016.
Cause: Potentially too much Vitamin D. Announcement: FDA report dated Oct. 8, 2010 (archived here). What was recalled: The following packages of Blue Buffalo dry dog food:
Blue Wilderness Chicken, 4.5 lb., best by JUL2611Z, JUL2711Z or JUL2811Z
Blue Wilderness Chicken, 11 lb., best by JUL1211B
Blue Wilderness Chicken, 24 lb., best by JUL1211B or JUL1311B
Blue Basics Limited Ingredient Diet Salmon and Potato, 11 lb., best by AUG2111B or AUG2211B
Blue Basics Limited Ingredient Diet Salmon and Potato, 24 lb., best by AUG2111B, SEP2311P or OCT2611P
Blue Life Protection Formula Natural Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Large Breed Adult, 30 lb., best by SEP2211P, SEP2311P or OCT2611P
Cause: Melamine. Announcement: FDA report and firm press release dated April 27, 2007 (archived here and here). What was recalled: All of the following pet foods, nationwide, manufactured by American Nutrition Inc. (no dry pet foods were part of this recall):
Blue Buffalo Blue canned dog food
Blue Buffalo Blue dog treats
Blue Buffalo Blue Spa Select canned cat food
Cause: Melamine. Announcement: FDA report dated April 19, 2007 (archived here). What was recalled: Blue Buffalo Spa Select Kitten dry food, 3 lb. and 7 lb. bags, best by MAR0708B. Just over 5,000 bags of this kitten food were produced using rice protein concentrate procured from Wilbur-Ellis, which later tested positive for melamine.
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Our Top Blue Buffalo Cat Pick: Blue Buffalo Wilderness Chicken Recipe
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Have both grain and grain-free options.
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What food is being recalled right now 2022?
Blue Buffalo recalled some of its products, including the Blue Wilderness Chicken Flavor dry dog food, Blue Life Protection Formula Natural Chicken, Blue Basics Limited Ingredient Formula Salmon, and Brown Rice Large Breed Adult dry dog food. They found these products to contain excessive levels of Vitamin D.
Are Blue Buffalo Dog Treats recall?
April 2017. Products recalled: All cans of Blue Buffalo BLUE dog food and treats, Blue Buffalo BLUE Spa Select cat food and treats.
Are there any dog food recalls in 2022?
(WVLT) – A nationwide pet food recall has been issued due to possible salmonella contamination, according to the Food and Drug Administration. The recall involves more than 50 different products distributed to retailers nationwide and online with expiration dates ranging from April 2022 through September 2022.