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Evanger’s Sues Meat Supplier but makes a BIG Disclosure

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  1. Mary Lynch

    Evangers wants $20 million in damages because their supplier lied to them. How much do consumers get in damages for Evangers lying to us?

  2. Peter

    Frustratingly, the problem is two-fold: there seems to be no legal consequences to the deception that the Sher’s pursued as their ordinary course of business, with respect to promotion and labeling. Beyond that, there are still consumers who hold the company in high regard… and steadfastly continue to clamor for their products.

  3. Ellie

    It appears that consumers need to create their own law suit against Evanger’s and other pet food companies who lie about their products.

  4. Cannoliamo

    I (for one) would like to see BOTH Evanger’s and Bailey go out of business. I don’t think either company respects or really loves the animals they feed. Another case of “profits” trumping “ethics.”

    1. Michelle

      I TOTALLY agree with you!

    2. Cheryl Bond

      Evanger’s knowingly took advantage of customer’s who trusted them! Besides a lawsuit from consumer’s the FDA should be bringing them up on charges for the purposeful intent of deceiving consumer’s & on the disgusting & dangerously un-sanitary enviornment of their production plant! If they get away with either, it’s going to let other manufacturer’s know that it’s ok to do the same! & that will only help to bring down standards even further, industry wide!

  5. Leanne

    Can’t trust any pet food company. Make your pets’ food yourself from real “human grade” foods that come from the grocery store! It may cost a little more, or not, because fancy cans are very expensive, but the quality will be 20 times what they give you. Get it into your heads, people, all processed food makers, whether for pets or for people, use the cheapest crappiest ingredients they can get away with and add tons of fillers and flavour enhancers to cover up the fact. Everything is about profit. Don’t believe any of the bull on a website or side of a bag. I cringe whenever I hear someone feeding a commerical pet food say “Oh, it’s a really good quality food”. Of course it isn’t. It’s commercial pet food.

    1. Cindy T

      What does human grade grocery store meat really mean? It means arsenic laden chicken, hormone and antibiotic laden beef, etc.

      1. Jeri

        Not necessarily. CAFO meats are not the only ones available.

      2. Leanne

        …and a heck of a lot better than what is in pet food. Really, when I read of people who say they are buying grass fed beef and organic free range chicken for their dogs, I’m pretty sure they are lying.

        1. Jeri

          Nope. There are those of us who do, believe what you will.

        2. Michelle

          I buy organic meat and veges for my boy. If I can eat it so can he.

      3. Kay H

        … making them a class apart from their fellow shed members that died from diseases, were mangled in agricultural accidents or whose feathers, sinews & skin were left to rot before being processed?

        1. Jeri

          Yep. Absolutely. Humane certification is exactly that.

      4. Michelle

        I use only organic meats for my boy.

    2. Reverend Jane Eagle

      I agree 100%. I was buying “really good, premium dog food” for $2 per pound, when I woke up. I can buy fresh meat at the market for that price. Making their food does cost a bit more; but the cost is more than outweighed by the savings in vet bills! I saw an immediate decrease in illnesses; but sometimes it doesn’t show up until later in their lives when they are NOT dying of cancer.

      1. Leanne

        Amen

      2. Michelle

        Well worth the investment in the long run. At least YOU KNOW what they are really eating.

  6. Casey

    Wait, I thought that the FDA DNA testing revealed that horse was less than 2% of the product? Are we now saying that the horse meat was the source of the pentobarbital? If so, that horse meat must have been absolutely drenched in the stuff. Something’s not adding up…

    1. B Dawson

      That was my “Huh?” as well. The FDA didn’t even mention the non-beef DNA in the original report. A followup report acknowledged the 2% contamination with horse and pork DNA but stated that was consistent with cross contamination at facilities that process multiple species.

      This is pure conjecture and I have no evidence that it has occurred, but I wonder if there is any collusion between Evanger’s and Bailey Farms. I’m not a legal eagle but how hard would it be, given the shadow world of meat processors and pet food manufactures, for there to be an agreement to sue and then either settle out of court with a non-disclosure agreement or quietly give any settlement money back to Bailey. What sort of commercial damage would Bailey actually suffer from that? Everyone on that side of the industry knows what goes on and most wouldn’t think less of Bailey’s.

  7. Christine

    I’m in no mood to be fair to this company, especially because this meat made its way into Party Animal food which is meant to be certified organic- I strongly believe this means there should be repercussions for them from those that regulate certified organic manufacturing. But I’m wondering what the language should have been on USDA inspected and approved beef that’s headed to a pet food manufacturer? Is something like charcoal required to be applied to human quality meat before shipment for pet food? I’ve heard this but have no idea if it’s true. If so, is the name changed to something else to designate that it’s not for a human food purpose? Just wish I knew more about these sorts of regulations concerning pet food language.

    1. B Dawson

      Meat that has been condemned (declared inedible for humans) is usually denatured with finely powdered charcoal or some other agent to render it inedible for humans and to make it visually obvious that it is so. Ground meat products can be denatured with coarsely ground bone, I believe 4% is the required amount. So, that means that the denaturing agent was ALSO in that food.

      Here’s one section relating to denaturing meat and poultry from the Cornell Law School (https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/9/325.13):

      (1) The following agents are prescribed for denaturing carcasses, parts thereof, meat or meat food products which are affected with any condition that would result in their condemnation and disposal under part 314 of this subchapter if they were at an official establishment: Crude carbolic acid; cresylic disinfectant; a formula consisting of 1 part FD&C green No. 3 coloring, 40 parts water, 40 parts liquid detergent, and 40 parts oil of citronella, or other proprietary substance approved by the Administrator in specific cases.

      1. Cheryl Bond

        Using charcoal as a denaturing agent is one thing, but DYE! & CITRONELLA! DETERGENT?! WTH!

        The dye’s have been proven as a neuro-toxin & I know for a fact that it’s TOXIC to cats!, I’m not sure about dogs, but even if not technically “toxic”, there’s no way it can be “good” for them! Detergent is made with petrochemical’s! There’s no way that’s good either!

        Using these denaturing agents should be outlawed & the use of charcoal ONLY as standard procedure!

        The more I find out about petfood, the more DISGUSTED! I become!

  8. Mary Sue

    I find it shocking that stores, even some small independent ones, still have Evanger’s products on the shelves, including ones that say they contain beef.

    1. Jan

      You are so right. Even small chain stores that claim to sell quality pet food. I mentioned to one gal at the store about the Cocolicious “organic” recall. She knew of it, had taken steps to remove the affected items but did not know that they were sourced by the same company as Evangers.

  9. Concerned for gullible humanity

    I think Evanger’s is being attacked by the large corporations who want those profits for themselves. I don’t trust any of this media PR that is trying to ruin the reputation of a company that was well liked by their customers. There was a supplier problem with euthanized horse meet. Do you understand what that means? This is a sad situation and anyone who believes the stories are probably also believing everything you watch and hear about in the news as well. You are being manipulated by an industry who is skilled and well educated in changing your opinion is a second. I don’t trust any of this information. Evanger’s was a trusted brand and they were doing very well. Who’s to know the truth, it seems that we are lied to most of the time because those who are in the position to print, post or broadcast information to the masses are sanctioned liars who are paid to manipulate. That’s the way it is, and most people just lap it all up and respond exactly as predicted by the ‘trend setters’. Think for yourself. Question everything.

    1. B Dawson

      Take a look at the legal chaos that continually surrounds Evanger’s. It dates back decades, all of which is verifiable by court documents. Here’s a short list:

      – A file drawer full of local violations for unsanitary conditions, animal parts rotting in dumpsters, noxious smells and body fluids that generate complaints from neighbors,
      – Indictments for stealing power from the utility company, directing employees without electrical knowledge to re-route cables to bypass the meters,
      – Attempted witness bribery in the utility case,
      – Multiple lawsuits from employees.

      If this was an isolated case then they would be due some slack, but it’s not. I stood by Evanger’s for years until the evidence was just undeniable. The Sher’s continue to show themselves to be marketing Houdini’s – bait and switch is the air they breathe. Your comment shows that same approach. Focus on the tainted meat that was delivered. “It wasn’t our fault, the supplier duped us! We’re victims too!” But that’s the equivalent of saying “pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!”

      They advertise – on their website – HUMAN GRADE ingredients. Period. Yet the invoice they accepted, signed and paid clearly says “Inedible. NOT FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION”. How could anyone misconstrue that and think the shipment was human grade? The document is attached to FDA’s report, not posted by bloggers-with-an-agenda.

      Evanger’s has a legal obligation to make certain that what they purchase is the product they ordered. Failure to check the quality of the shipment is not an excuse. Regardless of the DNA contained in the shipment, it was NOT human grade meat of any kind.

      Evanger’s has a legal obligation to be truthful in their advertising, marketing and labeling. Using inedible, “not for human consumption” meat and putting it in cans marketed as “human grade” is the lie, not the reporting of the incident.

      And, I’m curious….who exactly sanctions the liars? Is that an official government department?

      1. Cheryl Bond

        Amen to ALL your points you made B. Dawson!

    2. Donna Zirkle

      The source of pentobarbitol is very likely from euthanized shelter dogs and cats and not from horses. It has been a huge concern for awhile now.

      1. B Dawson

        The testing by FDA via USDA labs indicated beef DNA with “less than 2% pig and horse”. No mention of any other species.

        I don’t think FDA would have been shy about revealing dog or cat DNA had it been found.

      2. Elizabeth Kramer

        Pento is used for dogs, cats, and horses. But never beef – completely It’s illegal. The volume to put a dog or cat down is minimal. A horse? Significant. Either way, the food supply is tainted. Pento is ALSO used to put execute people. Is this Soylent Green?

    3. Kay H

      It’s abundantly clear where the PR money is in this industry. It’s PR that led to this company being “well liked” and “trusted” despite using inedible raw material.

      And this company’s role isn’t even the major issue. The problem is the way the whole industry works and the role of regulatory authorities in enabling illegal practices. That’s a matter of public record.

  10. Adrianne

    Is there a list of every product/brand/label that was or is manufactured/canned/labeled at Evanger’s facilities?

  11. Peg

    These skanks all belong in jail
    They should be fed whatever crap they tried to call food for our pets
    I would be happy to oversee this for no salary

    1. Cannoliamo

      I second the motion. All in favor say “Aye” The motion is carried.

      1. Reverend Jane Eagle

        AYE.

        1. Billy Budd

          Aye

    2. Cheryl Bond

      Aye!!!!!!!!!! Let the punishment fit the crime!!!!

  12. B Dawson

    Since a class action suit by consumes might be difficult – how many of us really keep all of our pet food receipts – I wonder if a few brave independents could start a class action. Stores have the invoices to prove purchases after all and based their purchasing decisions on Evanger’s marketing which was fraudulent. If I were still selling pet food, you better believe I’d be talking to a lawyer about product mislabeling and interstate commerce fraud.

    There needs to be consequences for Evanger’s. It is in-your-face obvious that human grade ingredients were advertised and not delivered. This is a totally separate situation than a meat processor providing horse meat instead of beef.

    Herbal supplements are regularly sued by Attorneys General (especially the New York AG) for making unsubstantiated claims or failing to contain the plant material that is on the label. Where is their zeal when it comes to pet food fraud? They need to start paying attention. Since about 2014 claims of horse and pig meat finding its way into fast food’s ground meat supplies and pre-made frozen grocery patties had been on the rise.

    1. Reverend Jane Eagle

      “Evanger’s knowingly purchased “inedible beef” and told consumers and retailers (through marketing materials) the pet food was made with “Human Grade” meat.
      What about that lie? Will Evanger’s be held accountable for lying to consumers?”
      Since the FDA has already written to TAPF to decline enforcing the laws we pay them to enforce, nothing will be done unless consumers and pet food sellers bring a lawsuit.
      We might also make a complaint to:
      https://www.ftc.gov/faq/consumer-protection/submit-consumer-complaint-ftc
      and:
      FOOD
      Meat and poultry Labeling:
      Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS)
      U.S. Department of Agriculture
      1400 Independence Ave., S.W.
      Washington, D.C. 20250-3700
      Phone: (888) MPHotline (674-6854)
      http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Contact_US/index.asp

      Advertising:

      Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
      Consumer Response Center
      600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
      Washington, D.C. 20580
      Phone: (877) FTC-HELP (382-4357)
      https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/

      1. B Dawson

        My point was that in order to be compensated in a class action suit (which is what hurts the defendant), consumers would have to prove they had purchased the product. That means receipts. Stores have been harmed as well as consumers. They offered a product for sale and put their reputations behind its quality. With the amount stores have invested in inventory, they could make a major dent with a class action. Prove damage to reputation resulted in lost business and the settlement could be huge. I’m not a lawyer so I have no idea what the potential for a retailer lawsuit would be, I’m just supposing.

        Certainly Evanger’s should be held accountable to consumers, but it will take a ton of individual letters, emails or phone calls for the powers-that-be to do anything. In other words, someone needs to lead the charge, organize the effort and build the momentum.

      2. Cheryl Bond

        Would you consider, if you have the time, to write–up a petition that we could all sign to be sent to all of these agencies?

        I think it would be more feasible for folks to be able to object to what’s going on. Many people just don’t have the time to write full letters & a petition is much more doable.

  13. Jane

    Good catch, Susan!

    And, I know it’s a legal document and so it’s written in “legalese,” but this line caught my eye:

    “…had Evanger’s known that Baileys delivered horse meat, Evanger’s would have rejected the shipment because the meat was purchased specifically for its Hunk of Beef product.”

    Wouldn’t they have rejected it anyway – because it was horse meat?!

    According to the court document, it sounds like they got pentobarbital tainted meat from Baileys twice (in November 2015 and May 2016). Which could explain the Party Animal contamination (those cans were packed in 2015) – although that would mean that they were putting conventional meat in their organic product and/or not using separate equipment, etc. as Party Animal originally claimed.

    Have you heard anymore on that investigation?

    Thanks for keeping us informed!

    1. Christine

      You’re right Jane – the contamination of organic certified food is more than concerning. In fact, I have already written a complaint letter to the USDA using this link (https://www.ams.usda.gov/services/enforcement/organic/file-complaint) about this issue exactly. I’m also upset with Party Animal – as a retailer I can tell you that Party Animal did not handle this situation well at all. The very next day after Susan posted the Pug owner’s test results for Pentobarbital, I spoke to someone in the company, begging them for a letter that I could show my customers explaining why we should feel comfortable still carrying Cocolicious in the light of this Evanger’s incident. I distrusted Evanger’s already but truly relied on the more rigorous safety, cleanliness, sourcing and segregation standards that Certified Organic allegedly requires. When a can manufacturer wants to be able to make organic foods, they (allegedly) have to meet certain specifications in order to keep this certification.
      Not only did this employee (and not just a rep in the company) not know what pentobarbital was (I was also unpleasantly surprised when Evanger’s said openly that they didn’t know what pentobarbital was before this incident – anyone in the pet food industry, especially those that are in a position of responsibility overseeing pet food should certainly know about this drug and its implications if found in pet food – my employees learn that word within the first month of working for us). Anyway, after I told him what the implications were for how Evanger’s might have been sourcing their meat, he agreed that a letter explaining the additional layers of safety that organic certification requires might be an important thing to write right away for all retailers, and that he’d have something to me by the end of the next business day. I told him that if I didn’t get that letter right away that I would be forced to remove Party Animal/Cocolicious products from my shelves. No letter came. I emailed, I called, etc. No response (they also have to sign off on a return of the cans to my distributor in order for me to get any sort of refund for them). Still today they’ve never responded to my letters, calls, and calls from our distributor on our behalf, which is upsetting as a retailer – I can’t support a company that isn’t transparent, doesn’t support our efforts to support their product and doesn’t follow through with its promises and leaves us hanging for so very long.

      Here’s the B.S. letter Party Animal wrote a full month later to retailers. Please note the second sentence when they say “another manufacturer”. This really stuck in my craw as it makes it sound like it’s not their manufacturer at all. Isn’t that weird? Anyway, please note the standards they list for why PA products wouldn’t be affected, and the part about how important transparency is to them:

      February 28, 2017

      Dear Valued Distributors and Retailers,
      For a decade, Party Animal has taken great pride in producing organic-based products so that pet owners can be confident in feeding their four-legged children.
      We are committed to the purity and safety of our products, and want to assure you with total confidence that our products have not been affected by the current recall experienced by another manufacturer. We know that this manufacturer’s recall concerns our valued channel
partners who have come to trust Party Animal to provide the highest quality pet food available.
      The premium quality of Party Animal’s entire product line remains unchanged. Party Animal continues to have the most strict manufacturing standards, and produces the highest quality pet foods with the purest ingredients available. Party Animal has established itself as being an organic-based pet food company since its inception 10 years ago.
      In order to ensure that our products meet the highest quality standards, our raw materials are sourced independently and stored separately for our recipes. For example, our organic beef is hormone-free and antibiotic-free, and stored a certain distance away from non-organic beef in order to prevent any likelihood of confusion and co-mingling of raw materials. Furthermore, our organic beef does not contain steroids or other growth stimulants, and is sourced from a beef supplier that is certified organic by the USDA – National Organic Program. Additionally, the machinery used to manufacture our full line of products is entirely separate from the machinery used to manufacture the hand-packed food that was associated with the recall in question.
      The current manufacturer’s recall was unfortunate, and serves as an example to why we founded Party Animal in the first place. We believe that organic ingredients and strict manufacturing standards are essential to protect pets from harmful chemicals and sub-standard ingredients in their food.
      As pet parents ourselves, we wholeheartedly understand that the products you offer your customers have to be consistently superior. Furthermore, transparency with our customers and vendors is a central part of our mission.
      Party Animal is a family-owned company, and we are proud to say that it has never been part of a pet food recall. The quality and integrity of our company has always been at the very heart of what we do. Rest assured, all of our products remain healthy, clean and safe.

      Finding out recently (thanks Susan!) about the Party Animal pentobarbital immediately made me feel like Evanger’s (and perhaps Party Animal) should be held accountable – Organic Certification is supposed to mean something, especially concerning sourcing, handling and segregation of ingredients. I think Evanger’s should lose their organic certification or face fines for obviously and completely failing these important standards. As Party Animal said in this letter, “We believe that organic ingredients and strict manufacturing standards are essential to protect pets from harmful chemicals and sub-standard ingredients in their food.” I’d like to believe that too. If they had immediately moved their manufacturing to another co-packer, I would have put their products back on our shelves right after their move. Now I certainly won’t, especially because they seemingly were not overseeing the production of their products. (Or maybe Evanger’s has become so proficient at covering their tracks?)

      1. Jane

        Thanks for posting this, Christine! I’ve been disappointed in the way Party Animal is handling it, as well. They’ve been responsive to questions in the past, but seem to have circled the wagons since the Evanger’s recall. I contacted them about another matter recently and never even got their standard “Your email has been received – Have a tail waggin’ day!” reply.

        The letter they sent to retailers sure paints a different picture than the FDA description of the conditions at Evanger’s plants. It makes me wonder if they ever visit or are just being reassured on the phone that everything’s fine. (“Don’t worry – we keep YOUR meat in the refrigerator that works.”) I wonder where Oregon Tilth (their organic certifier) is in all of this, too. They haven’t responded to requests for information, either.

        It was interesting to read in the court document that there has been “a significant loss of retail stores that will sell any of Evanger’s products.” I imagine the same might happen to Party Animal if they don’t get out in front of this. I’m still hoping they’ll find another manufacturer – and increase their oversight. Our cats love their food, but as long as they’re associated with Evanger’s, I don’t feel confident using it. And there aren’t a lot of other organic options out there.

  14. Andi

    Forgive me if you addressed this already elsewhere – but wasn’t Evangers on your 2016 List of trusted pet foods? Thank you.

    1. Miko

      I don’t think that’s even possible. There have been articles on this site for many years about Evangers skirting the law. (Back to the stolen electricity I think?)

    2. Andi

      Finally found last year’s list that I bought. Not sure why I thought Evangers was on there – I was incorrect. Bought this year’s list too. Thank you for all of your hard work Susan!

  15. Sonotaliberal

    Perhaps they didn’t lie. Perhaps the language is required; by law, or by regulation, or as a condition of acquiring the meat at a reduced price.

  16. Ian

    and here come the Evanger’s apologists again…. really??? Now Evanger’s problems are the result of an orchestrated smear campaign by “Big Pet Food” ??? Really ???? I’d laugh but I can’t, at the expense of pets.

  17. Terri Christenson Janson

    If Evangers had any quality control in place this tainted meat would have been discovered… Obviously NO quality control.

  18. NY

    I cannot believe that over time how few if any employees from any of these terrible manufacturers/co-packers/canners has ever gone public with their personal experience in a big way to shake this industry and trusting public! How I wish that one of them had the courage to take a stand and speak up about the behind the scenes immoral, deadly, illegal administrative and/or manufacturing departments/practices. They must sign their lives away with nondisclosures? I would hope that more would post some helpful information anonymously with the intention of helping the concerned public and suffering family members make some strides here and there. How can not one disclose where manufacturers who aren’t forthcoming about where their processing takes place? It is mind boggling how many workers must witness terrible acts and do not voice. No one of the thousands of employees over decades can get some kind of word out about behind the scenes operations anywhere…ugh. It is really sad that so much can remain a mystery to this day about all these large and small pet food companies and their sourced big manufacturing facilities. It is almost impossible to even get a list of foods manufactured by Evanger’s who will undoubtedly change their signature curved stamp any day now…

    1. Cheryl Bond

      It really is pretty unbelievable! that not one employee had ANY integrity to become a “Whistleblower!” This crap had been going on for so long! They could have gotten a tiny spy camera & documented it all!

      The most angering thing of all, is that the FDA has seen & documented some of these horrendous offenses, yet is not taking legal actions against them, is beyond criminal!

      We simply cannot trust anyone to do right by consumer’s! & that is a sad sad state of affairs!!!!

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