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What’s the Deal with Blue Ridge Beef?

DepositPhoto/TomWang

 

I’ve been hearing unflattering rumors about Blue Ridge Beef for a few months and when someone posted their thoughts in Raw Dog Food Chat, I decided to do my own digging.

Rumors about Blue Ridge Beef

  • The meat allegedly comes from inferior or questionable sources
  • They allegedly won’t share the names of farms where they source their meat
  • They are allegedly in business with a company that collects dead/diseased animals
  • They’re allegedly unprofessional in their correspondence with customers
  • They allegedly won’t share what’s in their food

Forum Discussions about Blue Ridge Beef

All I could find are forum discussions about Blue Ridge Beef. They typically start with someone asking about them (apparently, they’re prices are affordable, which is attractive to raw feeders) and the discussion devolves into a lot of allegations that attack the brand’s integrity.

This list represents the forum discussions I found on the first 2 pages of my Google Search for “Blue Ridge Beef.”

When I added “complaints” to my search, I didn’t find anything. Given the rumors, I was surprised that someone hadn't created a Blue Ridge Beef Sucks website to raise awareness.  I didn't see any complaints with the Better Business Bureau or one of those sites that list scam businesses.  But I may have missed them.

Also, given that a portion of the veterinarian community speaks regularly about the dangers of raw feeding, an unscrupulous raw brand would give them an opportunity to drive their points home. But nothing.

I’m not saying the rumors are false; I’m saying that I couldn't find proof that they're true.

Why I Want to Know the Source of Proteins

I can understand why Blue Ridge Beef wouldn’t share the name and address of their sources. My immediate thought was that either it’s in their contract or it’s simply not done in this industry.

I can also understand why this would raise a red flag (or at least an orange one) for dog owners.

Pet owners have trust issues thanks to the chicken jerky treat fiasco and the various videos online warning us about what’s really in our pet’s food. Being stonewalled doesn’t help build trust. Questioning a brand’s integrity without cause doesn’t help either.

Protein sources are important to me, because I want to make sure that the meat is coming from local, humane farmers. That the animals aren’t grain fed (which may lead to an intolerance in dogs).  And that there aren't mixed proteins (turkey isn't mixed with chicken or beef) due to protein intolerance in 2 of our dogs.

Why I Want to Know the Ingredients

When I read through the forum discussions, I have to admit that if a brand wouldn’t disclose their recipe (for proprietary reasons) or share where they source their foods beyond “in the US.” I would be less likely to buy from them, because 2 of our dogs have a protein intolerance.

By not sharing the Blue Ridge Beef recipe, are they protecting themselves from others copying the ingredients? Do raw food brands regularly disclose the specifics of their sources and recipes?  I checked with other raw feeding brands and some had no problem sharing the details of where they source their meat with me; others didn't respond to my query.

My Thoughts on Blue Ridge Beef

I’m reserving judgment, because I have found no proof that the rumors are true. Is this all just fear mongering and, as Blue Ridge Beef stated below, the work of “internet bullies?”

If Blue Ridge Beef was sourcing their protein from diseased animals, wouldn’t we have heard about it beyond forum discussions?

I wrote this post, because I think it’s important to step back from emotionally charged online discussions and examine the facts that are available.

This is my take on what I learned this week.

  • Blue Ridge Beef’s choice not to disclose the names of the farms where they source their proteins doesn’t equate to them processing diseased animals.
  • Blue Ridge Beef’s choice not to disclose the details of their recipes simply means that if you’re raising a dog with a high level of food allergies, Blue Ridge Beef may not be the brand for you.

My Correspondence with Blue Ridge Beef

I did reach out to the 3 representatives listed on the Blue Ridge Beef contact page (on their website) hoping to gain clarification of why they don’t share their sources or ingredients. I thought that maybe this was due to privacy agreements and copyright/trademark laws. I received one response and I did let them know that I would be publishing their response in this blog post.

This response has not been edited or changed in any way.

“Kimberly

We have been defending ourselves from these internet bullies and ridicules posts for years.

We will no longer address this stupidity with a response

We stand behind all our products 100% and will let the quality of our products speak for itself.

Fortunately there are enough common sense customers that realize these bullies attacks for what they really are, and business is going well.

Have looked at your site and wish you all the best in your business

Thank you” ~ Steven Lea, Blue Ridge Beef

 

Although I was taken aback by the email, because I really thought that they would be more forthcoming; I can’t say that I blame them for shutting the door on this topic.

I’m sorry that I don’t have a definite conclusion for you about Blue Ridge Beef. Discussions with fellow dog owners can be invaluable, especially when it comes to raw feeding, because we’re all learning on our own.

While we should look to our fellow dog owners as a resource, it’s important to weigh what we learn against the facts available. It’s okay to be wary, but remain open-minded until your questions are answered. And what if you never get an answer? Well, that lack of an answer may be the answer you need.

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