Skip to main content

No Enforcement of Law is Why the Evangers Recall Occured

Related News


  1. jodi cohen

    This is beyond tragic – thank you Susan for getting the facts out there. I thought Evanger’s was a quality food; it was sold in all the high end “wholistic” pet stores in my area. I count my blessings that my two Frenchies were spared and am sad beyond words to hear about little Tula. Until the FDA can do it’s job, I will home cook for my babies from here on out.

  2. Leanne S.

    This pet food company really screwed up. They’re supposed to poison the pets slowly enough that the cause of death can’t be linked to them.

  3. Donna Frano

    This is why I am now giving my girl ONLY home made food using meat that is good enough for ME to eat (along with Honest Kitchen Base Mix for the vitamins and minerals). I don’t trust ANYONE any more.

    1. Leanne S.

      This is also among the things I occasionally feed my dogs, just in case they need vegetables. It’s much more affordable than HK foods that include organic dehydrated meat.

    2. Rhonda Gillespie Floyd

      Yes but I want to know how can we trust the supplements to be good and safe. Mine are loving their $9 a pound organic fish and $11 a pound grass fed organic beef and organic chicken breast. But I still don’t have any supplement other than Dr. Harvey’s freeze dried veg to bowl. And I don’t know how to be sure the Vitamin and minerals are ok cause they’re not human grade. Guess I will be sourcing human grade supplements when I can find out what they actually need. Sigh.

      1. Jeri

        Google Spark by Dr. Patricia Jordan, and “Soul Food” and “Green Min” by Dr. Peter Dobias. Also – Dr. Will Falconer thinks highly of Transfer Factor – which includes minerals and vitamins as well as some serious immune help.

      2. Reader

        What’s wrong with The Honest Kitchen? It has all the nutrients and you can add your own protein. Try the Preference recipe. THK is one of the few products fit for human consumption products for dogs.

        And no, I don’t sell anything or profit from referrals.

      3. S. Yvonne

        I agree w/ Barbie. There is so much we don’t know and it is easy to burn Evanger’s. I did call the FDA to find out who the supplier for Evanger’s is, but have not received a reply back. In response to Rhonda’s comment, there is a lot of controversy regarding human grade supplements, too. Did you know that they are not held to the same standards as pharmaceutical companies? The problem is not just pet food it is ALL manufactured food sources. I worked in a grocery store office many years ago. You should have seen the food products that were returned. Just off the top of my head I can recall a Sara Lee pie w/ a rat baked in it, a liter bottle of Coke w/ a paper towel that floated to the top when the cap was turned and the carbonation pushed it to the surface, and several food items w/ band aids. Let’s keep our heads and get all the facts. In the meantime, it never hurts to visit the local farmer’s markets and cooking fresh foods for ourselves…and our pets.

      4. Jeri

        Get a copy of Susan’s list each year. One of the requirements is the company must provide the source of every ingredient. It’s very time-consuming. Check out her list of companies which have signed the “pledge” but recognize that they must update their info. each year because things change…. What was true last year may not be true still this year (and some companies don’t update, so they don’t make the list – and then there are the new guys on the block.) Susan’s list is the only sure way to know what is what.

  4. Nora

    I don’t know the answer. I would b interested in finding out what the employees of the FDA and AAFCO and employees of the major big name manufacturing companies feed their own pets???? Surely they must know the poison thats going into the product!!! Maybe just start feeding our cats and dogs homemade food….raw if they like it or human cooked food appropriate for their animal. Going back years ago I remember my parents had a cat before all this “junk” was even thought of and she survived beautifully…raw as nature intended! My dad would throw her a chunk of raw hamburger. I also feed my cat raw and good canned food if I can find it. She was feral and survived on moles, voles, squirrels, chipmunks, birds before I managed to make her domesticated. What to do????

  5. Adriana

    This will only get worse, as it relates to animal welfare. Already started with the USDA…FDA could be next. Any semblance of transparency may be gone soon…ugh

    1. Jeri

      There was never any transparency. Business as usual.

  6. JeffW

    I’m not sure why it is that anyone’s surprised that the government does not enforce the law. In this particular case 1 dog is dead, who knows how many more are sick, and six months from now no one will remember the incident except those that are directly involved.
    Until we hold our government officials accountable for the enforcement of ALL laws, then we the people are directly to blame.

    1. Pacific Sun

      Imagine this. If everyone who is lamenting the fact that our government is NOT doing anything, did just two things? One, email the link of the article being read right now. Which is a PERFECT summation of the problem. And two, email the Evanger’s Recall link to their local media!

      Imagine the power, through publicity, of pointing out to the powers that be, what’s really going on.

          1. Jeri

            Considering that he’s the only president willing to take on the vaccine industry, I’d say odds are better with this president than any other that it WILL help.

      1. Pacific Sun

        Finally! Our Local Media Affiliate is covering this story. If people want the link, let me know, so that you can copy your Stations too!

  7. T Allen

    What’s really terrifying about this is people are known to eat canned pet food because it’s “cheap”. If it’s falsely advertised as human grade that means people would be more likely to eat it! Heads should roll!

  8. Louise

    The scary thing is how long has this been going on and pets have been dying from supposedly “unknown” causes and it was not linked back to the food.

  9. S. Yvonne

    It may not be Evanger’s fault. They do source from facilities that provide beef for human consumption, as well. It is possible that the facility that processed the beef to be sold to Evanger’s made the mistake on their end. I am interested in hearing all of the facts in this case. Speculating based on other data is not helpful. Do we know which facility the beef came from? That is worth looking into. There could be broader serious safety implications depending upon where this processing plant sells their beef. Thanks for the background info, Susan.

    1. Susan Thixton Author

      Evangers is responsible for quality control of their ingredients and suppliers. They are responsible for this situation. As stated in this post – these types of ingredients are illegal. They should have had quality control measures in place to prevent this type of ingredient. If they had that – it failed miserably.

      1. Peter

        Evanger’s is pulling a well-worn move from the Blue Buffalo playbook: blame the supplier.

  10. Leslie Kuhn

    I’m sorry but I don’t understand how anyone can still think this is a quality food. Years ago when the Sher’s had not owned it long yes . But honestly after years of legal & food quality issues ,not to mention their questionable brand of customer service & being sued by their own employees , I don’t get it. Full disclosure ;I am the person whose Chihuahua was poisoned by them. When I gave them test results & asked for a refund I was chased all over the internet by their shills & called an extortionist . I may not be a genius , but I learned after $ 15,000 in vet bills and a dead dog not to trust pet food companies. This is all public record btw & a check of any of the older pet websites will show it .

  11. Jeri

    This needs to be blasted everywhere the apologists for pet food whine about unfair treatment. And the pressure needs to mount to test the DNA. Considering that this particular company has been warned before by the FDA for not having correct proteins listed on the label, it stands to reason this may not be beef. The only way to get law enforced is for pet owners to STOP FEEDING commercial pet food. Consider that no such favorable treatment is given to raw food companies — who are pursued relentlessly by the FDA for SUSPECTED contamination — or to alternative supplements like HEMP, while the kibble and canned food companies get a “see no evil, hear no evil” approach. Yes, I think we all understand that money is the big motivator here. Time for pet owners to put their pets first. If they don’t, assuredly the pet food industry will not.

    1. Leanne S.

      I wondered about protein DNA testing on this food as well. Are they really sure it was a euthanized cow that made it into that food, or was it pets?

      1. Jeri

        That is the golden question.

  12. Anthony Hepton.

    As Susan writes “Pet food ingredients are required to have a legal definition through AAFCO or certified as GRAS (Generally Regarded As Safe). FDA’s Center of Veterinary Medicine Has an office of Surveillance and Compliance responsible for the safety of pet food.The Director in charge of this agency, Dr Daniel McChesney published a report titled “Regulation of Food-waste Feeding, The Federal Perspective”, here is a significant section:
    “Expert opinion that the substance is GRAS would need to be supported by scientific literature and other sources of data and information. General recognition cannot be based on an absence of studies that demonstrate a substance is unsafe; there must be studies or other information to establish that the substance is safe ( see U.S. V. An Article of Food***Coco Rico, 752 F.2d 11 (1st Cir.1985)). Furthermore, if there are studies and other data or information that rasis questions about the safety of the use of the material,this conflict -just like a conflict in expert opinion -may prevent general recognition of the substance. This conflict in expert opinion can result in an ingredient on longer being categorically regarded as safe (62 FR 552-566).
    Susan has already identified information published by USDA that raised questions regarding the safety of animal byproducts from rendering, which contain endotoxins that can cause disease. The pet food manufactures do not test their ingredients or the end products for endotoxins, so they have no studies or other information to show that their products are safe.
    Clearly FDA/CVM is aware of this deficiency and choose to do nothing, even though they have conceded there can be product lots (which they call outliers) that can be problematic. The Pet Food Institute and major pet food manufacturers will not discuss any aspect of these product safety issues.
    Regarding the diseases related to endotoxins I would refer readers of this comment section to “STROMBECKS SMALL ANIMAL GASTROENTEROLOGY (3RD ED) where the section on Bacterial Toxins discusses the adverse effects of endotoxins on the intestine and liver. They conclude that any level of endotoxin can damage the liver. More detailed information can be found in COMPREHENSIVE TOXICOLOGY (2nd ED) 2010. Pages 613-625.

  13. Laurie Raymond

    The pet food industry is evil, period, and the regulators are scofflaws, abetting it. But it is BECAUSE of that fact that it is so important not to go off the deep end before all the facts are known. Besides the refusal to enforce the law by USDA/FDA, what about the refusal of local law enforcement to pursue the possibility of product tampering? Evangers has immediately fired the supplier from whom all the beef in that batch was obtained, again without any proof that it was at fault. As far as I have been able to determine, there was NO care to preserve evidence. The can should have been thoroughly examined and been held in a proper evidence custody, as should the necropsy records. The fact that Hunk of Beef is not a rendered product (and rendered products are the ones which have been found with pentobarbital in the past) makes the lack of quality control testing for it unsurprising. It would not be surprising to learn that Dinty Moore beef stew is not tested for pentobarbital either. The rush to blame before learning who is at fault is tempting, but wrong. Evangers is wrong to throw their formerly trusted supplier under the bus without any evidence of wrongdoing, and we are wrong to assign blame to Evangers without such proof. The beef going into that product was USDA inspected and approved. Feedlots do not euthanize animals. In the case of a downed cow that was injured and slowing down the line, a feedlot would shoot or stun her, because those are tools on hand. One might euthanize a pet cow on a farm, but then how would the carcass end up among the hundreds mass-processed at a feedlot, from which it would go to be butchered and sold for various products? The fact is, the outcome was tragic and obviously the result of a crime. It is far from clear at this point what kind of crime it was, and who is responsible.

    1. Jeri

      Keep in mind that “human grade” has a LARGE list of specific requirements which must be met to be labelled as such. I know of only one company which has met that requirement legally — and it’s not Evanger’s. – although they may have as well, but just because they “say” they do, doesn’t make it so. Here is more:

    2. Pet Owner

      It would be easy to argue straight-up but let’s find a solution instead. And for the moment, ignore the “personality” of Evanger’s.

      The point about Dinty Moore Beef Stew is that it would need to be VERY frequently sampled for supplier integrity! Any mistake, whatever the fault, would be fatal to the company! Few people remember, Ocean Spray’s tainted cranberries. Or Burger King’s fatal eColi hamburgers. However both companies dealt swiftly with the mistakes, without any “passing-the-buck” excuses. They barely recovered.

      Instead of the FDA, what about designating another point of investigation. With published guidelines. That validate the grounds for a suspicious product. Whether it’s a violation of regulation or one that could’ve been tampered with. Use a facility for managing evidence and product custody. Assign an information contact for total transparency. Assign a contact to a distressed pet owner to insure the process is followed fairly. For the sick pet, immediate treatment and Vet diagnosis. Relevant product testing done, based on the animal’s diagnosis. All reports filed. Including a signed affidavit from the pet owner. About the pet’s prior health, relevant circumstances, purchase) and the responsibility for immediate expenses.

      Upon determination, the FDA supervises the manufacturer’s responsibility (and expenses) along with their suppliers! A public Alert is issued (print & media). Which encourages the return of unopened product. To be sent to the testing facility. At the same time, quarantine the manufacturer’s related materials, in order to motivate the company to expedite an internal investigation. Including suspected disgruntled employees or industrial sabotage. (Companies aren’t stupid about these things). Making available supporting records.. Sending unopened product for testing. Including sample testing of the production surrounding the suspicious batch.

      The reality is, when you put these kinds of controls in place, just because of the extreme expense, inconvenience and publicity, a company will avoid a really bad situation in the first place. They’ll be on top of things, to avoid criminal activity. And insure their own supplier’s integrity. But with the proper facts in place, the onus should never be on the pet owner suffering with their pet’s illness or death.

      Your comments (of evidence loopholes, feedlots, supplier under the bus) all suggest being a little closer to the situation than just the average Reader. But no matter. A far more telling statement is …. “It is far from clear at this point what kind of crime it was, and who is responsible.” A truly innocent party wouldn’t be “scrambling” for explanations. They’d be producing them!

      [Think about it.]

      1. Laurie Raymond

        Has it not occurred to anyone that this could be a crime with a targeted victim, and not the result of carelessness at all? What if the designated victim was Evangers? What if it was the dog’s owner or other family member who was the intended victim? I have enough experience with the pet food industry, long familiarity with Evangers canned products, and enough working knowledge about how the supply chain operates that I feel we are – understandably, given how horribly so many companies and the regulatory agencies fail through all manner of cheating – ignoring what seem to me to be likelier explanations for this specific contaminant in this particular product. I like your suggestion for a more thorough set of procedures for such incidents, but it is irresponsible to fail to investigate deliberate intent, to fail to secure all pieces of evidence, and to fail to involve law enforcement. My point about Dinty Moore is simply that no product is routinely subjected to testing for all possible contaminants – it only makes sense to test for those that could conceivably occur in that product. I have seen countless contents of Hunk of Beef and can attest that it looks, smells and tastes (I taste every pet food I sell) like just what it says it is: a slab of well done pot roast in its own juices. Because it is NOT a rendered product, I cannot see how pentobarbital could have contaminated it in the production or canning process. I don’t think it is reasonable to expect Evangers to produce explanations when they are baffled by this event and waiting for the investigation to be completer, like the rest of us.

        1. Jeri

          Evanger’s is responsible, which they clearly understand, having ordered the recall. Regardless of WHY it happened or HOW (I find it a very dubious possibility that they are targeted innocent little lambs), the buck stops with them. Period. The FDA allows for VERY questionable ingredients to go into pet food no questions asked. OF COURSE there are companies who will do so! As for it not being “rendered”, on what do you base that assumption? Personal belief/knowledge? Surely it’s allowed thanks to the FDA:

        2. Pet Owner

          Here are the statements, directly from the hyperlink, made by Evanger’s (on the left). The suggested discrepancy is on the right side:

          • Nearly all product involved has been consumed, without incident – Wow, so how do they know that?
          • Only one reported illness – But the FDA doesn’t comment on pending investigations.
          • First recall in 82 years – Which implies no other business problems?
          • Been let down by their supplier – Except they also say the supplier was in compliance.
          • Evanger’s let down their customers – They say, because their name is on the can.
          • Knew dogs got sick on New Year’s Even – Because they admit investigating for the past 4 weeks.
          • They found out through Social Media (video statement) – Except we don’t know the source of that.
          • FDA lacks regulation of pentobarbital (video statement) – Throwing the FDA under the bus.
          • We will test everything (video statement) – So what does that mean?
          • This experience will make the PFI better ultimately (video statement) – What does that mean?
          • Fired supplier even though they were in compliance (video statement) – Throwing the supplier under the bus, after doing business with them for 40 years.
          • Spent 4 weeks obtaining samples – Were they curious about DNA species testing?
          • Tested for other pathogens than pentobarbital (until 1-29-17) – But why not for pentobarbital?
          • Learned of pentobarbital as of 1-29-17 – Except they found out about the problem through Social Media. The News Report and TAPF reported on 1-3-17.
          • “We were unaware of the problem of pentobarbital in the PFI because it is most pervasive in dry foods that source most of their ingredients from rendering plants, unlike Evanger’s, which mainly manufactures canned foods that would not have any rendered materials in its supply chain.” – This quote is so contradictory it really doesn’t need a comment. Except Evanger’s also makes dry food!
          • “FDA knows … the use of pentobarbital primarily in dry foods.” – Does Evanger’s test it’s dry food?
          • If an animal is euthanized, it is done so by a vet – And they have a hundred percent guarantee on that … because…?
          • No regulation to place any kind of marker on the animal (to guarantee) it cannot enter the food chain – Throwing the Industry under the bus.
          • It’s a simple task to ensure safety – So have they campaigned for the change?
          • Once they learned of pentobarbital, they spent “hours” finding a lab that would test for it in a meat substance – Except the owners had the product tested right away.
          • Most labs only test for this in humans – Because??
          • Currently they have cans being tested – How will the results become available?
          • Promise to share the results when available – And the timeframe is ….???

          The Shers’ children have posted a video congratulating their very loyal retailers and customers.

          1. Louise

            Lots of hints here that they knew more than they are admitting to . . . and since someone has to be blamed (not them) then blame the supplier as that shifts it from them and makes it appear that they are not responsible . . .

            “No regulation to place any kind of marker on the animal (to guarantee) it cannot enter the food chain”
            The animal would be dead, is that not marker enough . . . and that is why they should not be allowed to use dead animals unless they know why they died.

            In order to be confident in a pet food, a pet owner would have to be able to trust everyone along the line that produced any part of their pet’s food, which we know we can’t.

        3. landsharkinnc

          exactly — this is so illogical to me — that a particular piece of muscle meat so significantly contaminated would make it’s way into a specific can – we’ll never really know what happened here — I don’t know about Evangers purchasing or processing methods, but are they buying whole cattle or parts and pieces ready for inclusion into a cooked product? IF the product is delivered in ‘batches’ – it would not be just ‘one’ bovine – it could be parts/pieces of many – or parts/pieces of ‘meat sold as ‘beef’. Do we know, for a fact, that other cans have proven to be contaminated ? NO. Do we know if other dogs have been made ill ? NO. It is just so isolated as to be very suspicious. Just sayin’.

    3. GG

      The only test substantiating the claim of Pentobabrbital reads…. “If this sample came directly from a can…….”…Dr. Buchweitz doesn’t know if it did, nor was a DNA test done on the sample to prove what it was. Has the testing been replicated? Was the dog euthanized with pentobabrbital?

  14. landsharkinnc

    I knew the Evangers back in the 60’s when they were making the PERFECT liver bait for dog shows — this is beyond tragic for them and for the owners involved — the logistics of this incident is almost beyond comprehension — I would like to know if that ‘beef’ actually tested as ‘BEEF’ and not an animal more commonly euthanized with SP — since it was a ‘chunk’ style product and not a ‘loaf’ product ( at least that’s what I gather from the name ), I would have to assume (my mistake ) that there were whole, intact pieces of muscle/organ meat in the product.

  15. Your dedication to this issue is astounding. It seems like a losing battle but you still charge on! Thank you for your continued motivation even in the face of threats. God bless you!

  16. Pat P.

    Sadly, I believe the situation will worsen, if possible, with the new directors, of the USDA (big Agribusiness) and FDA (wealthy venture capitalists, anti-regulations, anti-efficacy evidence for new drugs, wackos, with little mention of food).
    How many vets know anything about pet “food”, other than what “prescription” companies tell them? So they, usually, will not recommend using raw food, making your own or avoiding “bad” ingredients, etc.–even when pets have digestive problems. Instead, when an animal continues to throw up, a vet will suggest prescription medicines or “prescription pet foods”, which have problems of their own. Meanwhile, the guardian will continue to, unknowingly, be slowly (at best) harming their pet.
    It is especially difficult to feed cats, with their narrow food requirements. I have been having problems for years. If I could make my own, it would be easier, but my health limits my abilities, so I have to work with commercial food and a picky sensitive cat.

    1. Leanne S.

      It breaks my heart to feed my kibble-addict cat pet food. I buy NV Ultimate Protein which is horrendously expensive, but still watch as he is slowly drinking more and more water. I know all pet food, especially kibble is really detrimental to a cat’s health. For that reason, I’ve pretty much decided this will be our last cat, unless a lifelong raw fed cat were available for adoption.

      1. Jeri

        Check out both Dr. Becker’s blog and for ways to switch cats to better food successfully. It can be done. It just takes time. Best.

  17. Paula Bruckner

    Evangers dog food has been under investigation for a very long time for many various reasons. Even Truth About Pet food posted about them. I would always roll my eyes when reading dog food reviews and I’d see Evanger’s brand in the list of “Acceptable” food with 4 star ratings. It would tell me that the people doing those reports did not investigate anything.

    * I know that Evanger’s never made your list of approved foods.

  18. Can

    I think that almost everyone has had an experience with a baby/child excitedly acting like the wonderful family pet cat/dog. Whether it be yourself, your daughter or son, a guest, children find it fun to crawl around on all fours and meow or bark. I was that child who admired a family friends dog and at a point took a delightful taste or four of the bowl contents on the kitchen floor before being caught. Of course I was immediately picked up and most laughed when I exclaimed between barks that it was delicious! As an adult I research, spend what we don’t have in quality food all around to try to avoid toxic situations and as I value the life of my family I hope that no other beings are subjected to death due to simply feeding. My heart goes out to everyone that has. Where is the feeding peace of mind that we deserve from all manufacturers that no one is going to die from food today or over time? News/findings such as this needs to go more mainstream like the 630 news. We all take an interest here in what we feed our pets. But many pet food owners innocently do not know better and trust grocery eats or who we know to be shady manufacturers with a questionable past in pet shops or vet offices. Many seniors don’t have the resources to go online, single parents have hectic schedules so they purchase their food happily and in good faith because they don’t have the time to know better. Even with all the incredible assistance here from you Susan and all the intelligent and helpful comments from readers that help narrow down choices to good ones I still have a knot in my stomach at times…will something happen today with my quality, researched commercial pet food in my pantry that is on the good list and suggested? Will it come off for one reason or another in the future? Will I miss a recall? Makes one worry about all manufacturers doing the right thing all the time, or how much is in their control truthfully, never mind the ones we expect something bad from.

  19. Jessica Mikrut

    Does anyone know what other brands evangers co packs ? What else is made at their cannery ? wouldn’t we want to stay away from those brands as well ?

    1. Jeri

      Sadly, it will be very difficult to get that information. I know that during the recalls many pet owners called to find out where their foods were made, and it was like pulling teeth to get that information. Companies consider it “proprietary” for some ridiculous reason….although I think it has more to do with what they know is happening in those facilities and the ease with which their house of cards could all come crumbling down if people could link their particular “food” to a facility having issues.

      1. Reader

        No, there was a list published a long time ago. I forget what story prompted the list. And there’s no assurance it was complete. But co-packers were at issue once before. I will try to search for it.

  20. Barby

    I have some concerns about this whole incident. From what I have been able to find out, there was only one family with 5 dogs that were involved and harmed in this situation. Have there been any other complaints or proven incidents of harm to other dogs caused by eating the food from the specified lot numbers? Has pentobarbital been found in any other cans in the recalled lot numbers or is this just a precautionary recall? Who is the supplier with whom Evanger’s stopped doing business? What other dog food companies use this supplier? So many questions still unanswered. I have used Evanger’s for several years without incident, and, of course, want my dogs to be safe. I will take precautions but at the same time I want to have a lot more information before bashing the company.

  21. Lisa

    It’s shocking that this company has been allowed to stay in business after all the major issues going back over a decade. For those who haven’t seen it, here is an article Susan posted today detailing the issues of deceit, greed, corruption, theft, and horrifying business practices of the Sher’s and Evanger’s:

    And about the supplier – the FDA has revealed the bill of lading for the beef shipment, which clearly and specifically says “Inedible Hand Deboned Beef – For Pet Food Use Only. Not Fit For Human Consumption” contrary to Evanger’s claims that their “supplier let us down.” NO, they knowing used contaminated inedible meat and called it “human grade.” Evanger’s is a greedy dishonest company. PERIOD.

    And even now, DogFoodAdvisor lists their food as 4.5 to 5 stars, which is why I felt OK giving it to my dog occasionally. Obviously they do not fully research the companies, or change their ratings when information like this comes to light. I will never trust THEM again, either.

    1. Jeri

      Get Susan’s list of foods she would recommend. It comes out yearly and is very detailed and based on what information the company provided in terms of whether something is approved by the USDA, whether it’s humanely raised, what the country/region of origin is, etc… VERY detailed and a lot of work for her and the companies involved. Anyone can read a label and write something based on that as to whether they would recommend the food, but it takes MORE than that in today’s climate…as we know.

Leave a Reply