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Blue Buffalo pet food ads draw fire

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Blue Buffalo Company, which makes Blue cat and dog food, was accused March 25 of unfairly disparaging its competitors in some of its advertising.

The National Advertising Division, part of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation, said it found no basis to Blue Buffalo’s claim that “big name” pet food companies hide the fact that their first ingredient is sometimes chicken by-products instead of "real meat." The division also said that Blue Buffalo failed to show that byproducts, such as internal organs, are not nutritious.

Blue Buffalo should modify the ads "to avoid any express or implied references to competing manufacturers 'fooling' or otherwise misleading consumers," the division concluded.

Blue Buffalo expressed disappointment with the recommendations and plans to challenge them before the National Advertising Review Board, an advertising industry appellate body, the division said in a news release.

The division weighed in on the TV commercials and other ads in response to a complaint from Hill’s Pet Nutrition, which makes Science Diet pet food.

Hill’s spokeswoman Edisa Chacin declined to comment on the announcement, saying the division's "rules do not permit Hill's to comment on the decisions." Blue Buffalo did not respond to a request for comment.

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