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Second Pentobarbital Recall – Against the Grain Pet Food

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  1. Ellen

    Unless it’s added afterward, how can this drug be viable after cooking? This is horrible!

    1. Susan Thixton Author

      The drug is absolutely viable after cooking – FDA testing in 2002 proved this. You are right – it is very horrible.

  2. Casey

    Damn. How many more?

  3. Paula

    Susan – Is there a connection between this brand and Evangers? common ownership, co-packing, etc.? Or a common source of “ingredients”?

    Beyond the fact that euthanized animals shouldn’t be used in food products for anyone, seems like there should be rules for the safe disposal of euthanized animals such that chemical remains can’t harm any humans or animals. Am I missing something?

    1. Susan Thixton Author

      Evangers Pet Food owns this brand – same company, same manufacturing facility. Just a different product name.

      Federal law says this is illegal – an adulteration of food. FDA allows it through use of Compliance Policies. But…these FDA Compliance Policies are not legal and FDA does not have the authority to issue them (in the way they are). I – on behalf of pet food consumers – submitted a Citizen Petition (legal document) to FDA more than two months ago citing a Supreme Court decision challenging the Compliance Policies. We should have an FDA response soon. These recalls validate our stance.

      1. Jeri

        Any idea what is going on here with this company, Susan? I notice that so far the apologists are strangely quiet…hmmm….. I’m guessing it’s getting harder to spin this.

        1. Susan Thixton Author

          My best guess is this recall is directly related to FDA investigation – and using the term ‘voluntary’ is not quite accurate. My guess is that the FDA has traced back through their supplier use of euthanized animal(s) to this batch in 2015 and forced the recall. To me – this is FDA hard at work — and I am very thankful they are. Perhaps someone at the supplier is giving FDA information, perhaps an in depth look at bill of lading and invoices told them of this batch. I don’t know. I certainly hope FDA provides full details soon. We will have to wait until their investigation is complete. This recall proves their investigation remains on-going.

        2. Ian

          ha ha I have been thinking the same thing, what happened to all the commenters who jumped in on the original story to accuse the victim and her family of somehow adulterating the cans of food ?? they sure disappeared fast. Have any come back with an apology? I haven’t seen any apologies yet.

          1. Reader

            Yes. And the sad part of that thinking, meaning the doubters who needed more proof … is that it would’ve been at the expense of other poor dogs and their owners! Pretty sick.

          2. Jeri

            They’re all on the TAPF FB site. Still shilling for the company. Just boggles the mind. My loyalty is to my animals…not a BRAND.

          3. Ian

            I’m still not on FB so I don’t see those. I wish Susan had enough help to look at IP addresses and see which ones were coming from Evangers, or multiple profiles from one address. For a commenter like “Sheryl” below to claim the pet food she feeds her “doggies” was just recalled for pentobarbital contamination similar to what recently killed someone else’s pet —- but that Against the Grain’s customer service representative’s answered the phone and talked to her and were so nice that she’s going to keep feeding their product to her pets anyway—- is just frankly ludicrous and transparently fake, in my humble opinion. Sorry, when it comes to MY pets it’s one strike and you’re out ! If I had fed this food I would be calling up to tell them I’m never feeding their food again and telling all my friends to never feed their food, not regurgitating their PR about how they’re now somehow leading the charge to police the industry (after they got caught). The shills just can’t get the tone right. They try to be folksy but if they haven’t been reading TAPF for a while they just stick out like a sore thumb. The fact is pet food companies and their suppliers walk a fine line on sourcing the cheapest possible ingredients to maximize their profits…. with virtually no oversight and enforcement…. and pets suffer as a result.

    2. Pet Owner

      A quote from the article written above:

      “Note: Against the Grain Pet Food is owned by/manufactured by Evangers Pet Food.”

  4. Reader

    Okay, we’re going down this path once again. Why would the product be returned to the manufacturer, and not give the FDA a sample for testing? Isn’t the Agency trying to determine how wide spread the contaminated meat might’ve spread?

    I would say, take a photo of the product (unopened cans, lot no.) and use it as proof for reimbursement. Wouldn’t hurt to keep receipts in the future either. Since the recall problem doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon.

  5. Jane

    I wonder if the beef was from the same supplier as the earlier Evanger’s recall. And how they discovered the problem if there weren’t any complaints about it. That makes me cautiously optimistic that the FDA/USDA might be doing some follow-up investigation, anyway. Although the fact that it was from 2015 is worrisome. It’s clearly in the food supply!

    1. landsharkinnc

      Evangers/FDA probably traced back the sources of the ingredients in the Against the Grain batch to the same supplier as the Hunk o’ Beef batch and found that it was supplied at the same time – the 2015 batch used some of the product sooner and then the Hunk O Beef used more of that same product in 2016 — been in storage the whole time — SAME BATCH – just used in two different products on two different runs

  6. Jan

    I am sorry but I am livid. I am so sick and tired of these companies getting away with literal murder, having no accountability whatsoever. Who do they think they are?! Ooooh, I am steamed when I think about how they continue on with these practices and don;t give a you-know-what about their products, about innocent animals, or the owners.

    “A righteous person cares about the life of his animals, but the compassion of wicked people is nothing but cruelty.” Prov. 12:10

    1. Jeri

      I completely agree with you…and I love that verse!

  7. tinab158

    Please tell me the FDA is going to test the protein in these cans of Against the Grain.

    I think it’s important to know what type of protein is in the cans, and since history tells us Evangers is not afraid of mislabeling their products, I would hope the FDA follows through with this one.

    1. Jeri

      ITA!

  8. concerned katy

    Isn’t this an example of the company doing a more thorough job of tracking it’s own supply to this one batch? Presently no one tests for pentobarbital, and the company could have been scammed by a dishonest supplier.

    1. Susan Thixton Author

      It could be Evangers investigation – but I suspect this is solely due to FDA investigation. We will all have to wait until the FDA releases more information.

  9. Diane

    This pulls into question the safety and validity of ALL animal product control… right down to the servings we place on our family dinner table. Unless we raise it or grow it ourselves, we have no true assurity of what we are eating anymore. A very sad state for a country with such vast resources to “do it right”.

  10. landsharkinnc

    Evangers/FDA probably traced back the source of the ingredients in the Against the Grain batch to the same supplier as the Hunk o’ Beef batch and found that it was supplied at the same time – the 2015 batch used some of the product sooner and then the Hunk O Beef used more of that same product in 2016 — been in storage the whole time — SAME BATCH – just used in two different products on two different runs

  11. Debi

    This has been going on for a long time, about 12 yrs. ago I found a dog’s toenail in a can of Kal Kan, I contacted the manager of the store, this was before we had a computer, and he offered me a case of this food, really???

  12. Joani

    A dogs toenail?…omg…do you think they are…I can’t even say it…it’s too horrible a thought…I have lost two dogs already with these symptoms within one year…fed them pedigree…vet said it was fine…but I wondered the whole time if that was true…pet food companies should be CLOSELY monitored…we can’t even trust our own food anymore…I,m horrified…😡and angry!!!!!

  13. GG

    To date exactly what laws have been broken? Is there a law preventing any level of pentobarbital from being found in canned and dry dog foods? Pentobarbital is a prescribed medication and not a poison, therefore consumption at low dosages is not lethal. Have the levels found in the food been released yet or do the results simply says it was present in the food? “High” is not a level. There is not doubt this is tied to the mael case, and like in that case there is no proof that the presence of pentobarbital had anything to do with the death of her dog. Mael releasing the e-vet reports, would prove that. How many other companies who use the same USDA supplier have had their beef products tested to date?

    1. Susan Thixton Author

      Federal law – the Federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act – states a food is adulterated (illegal) if (in part) “(5) if it is, in whole or in part, the product of a diseased animal or of an animal which has died otherwise than by slaughter;” Source: http://uscode.house.gov/view.xhtml?req=granuleid:USC-prelim-title21-section342&num=0&edition=prelim

      Federal law defines a food as: “(f) The term “food” means (1) articles used for food or drink for man or other animals, (2) chewing gum, and (3) articles used for components of any such article.” Source: http://uscode.house.gov/view.xhtml?req=granuleid:USC-prelim-title21-section321&num=0&edition=prelim

      It is the responsibility of each manufacturer to produce a safe and legal product – that responsibility was not met. This food was illegal if it contained the tiniest portion of ‘a diseased animal or of an animal that has died otherwise than by slaughter’. That is federal law.

      1. GG

        Has there been a finding of any disease or an animal that has died otherwise than by slaughter to date in their product? Probably why the recalls have been voluntary vs ordered as there has been nothing illegal found and no law broken.

        1. Susan Thixton Author

          A animal that contains pentobarbital in the muscle tissue is an animal that was euthanized – is an animal that has died other than by slaughter – is a direct violation of federal law.

        2. Jeri

          Pretty sure the term “voluntary” is something which FDA allows…to save face. Laws have clearly been broken, as Susan points out.

          1. Susan Thixton Author

            How it works is FDA gives a company the opportunity to ‘voluntarily recall’ or be forced to recall. All of them agree to ‘volunteer’ but there really is no choice in the matter.

      2. Karen S.

        Evanger’s has always claimed their pet food is “Food Grade” so then right there they cannot use adulterated and diseased animals in their food.

        This does not exclude any other non food grade pet food manufacturer from using these animals. This is why euthanized animals can end up in FEED grade pet food on a regular basis.

        Being that Evanger’s has a history of manufacturing Horse Meat for canning of Horse Meat and for the selling of canned Horse Meat specifically, I wouldn’t put it past them to save some money and use Horse Meat as their Hunk O “Beef”, and in any of their Beef lines. What would it actually take to sneak a few batches through. If they did it, they knew it.

        Who knows…

        I do know that many retailers are pulling all Evanger’s beef from the shelf some are pulling all Evanger’s from the shelf forever…

        Sadly with Evanger’s manufacturing the canned food for dozens of other independent manufacturers, this could be very wide reaching in the pet food industry.

        ~Karen

    2. Reader

      This comment sounds like poison ought to be the threshold for concern. Anything less might be overlooked. But ask what made 4 dogs sick. If the results had shown a lesser substance, there wouldn’t be a story. Certainly not for the FDA or Evanger’s. Not defending them at all. But extraordinary steps were taken. So something must’ve coerced both to take action.

      Food should be food, period. Not waste and compromised substances. If PF was safe for human consumption these issues would disappear. Ask, why can’t the equivalent of “Dinty Moore Stew” be augmented with balanced canine nutrients. And call it a day.

      The answer is, because some owners won’t feed a pet human quality food. It’s just a mentality. So the PFI profits as a result. But just because a dog eats scraps, bugs, dirt, roadkill and survives, doesn’t prove a steady diet of commercially compromised ingredients, is useful long term! Add to that, questionable 3rd party ingredients, factory scrapings, grocery leftovers, mycotoxins, rotting produce, protein augmentation and minimal sanitation, ….all means the product is degraded even further! Even canned PF contains endotoxins (bacteria).

      They shouldn’t be of course. But as long as manufacturers are allowed to produce these products, then identify it as “Livestock Feed formulated for Dogs or Cats.” For the protection of consumers entitled to make an informed choice.

  14. VitalVet

    So, do you have access to a label, Susan? Are they even labeling byproducts as a protein source here, or is it more hidden than that?

    I recall long ago, the FDA went to great lengths to disprove that euthanized pets were in pet food, by testing for dog muscle protein as I recall.

    If that’s not the source here, where else would pentobarbital come from?

    1. Susan Thixton Author

      They are not listing by-products in either food – ‘Beef’ is listed as the meat on the label/ingredient panel.

      FDA testing did discover pentobarbital in dry pet food – here is that report: http://www.fda.gov/AboutFDA/CentersOffices/OfficeofFoods/CVM/CVMFOIAElectronicReadingRoom/ucm129131.htm If you click on ‘Appendix’ at the bottom of this page it will open up a new page with brands the FDA tested. The FDA did claim their testing proved no cat or dog was the source of the pentobarbital – but…their DNA testing did not determine a species source (no DNA of a typical euthanized animal). We were in contact with a DNA lab several years back that asked FDA for their methods used in this project – FDA refused to provide them. It does make one question the validity of their testing.

      And we are left to speculate on the species source of the pentobarbital. I believe FDA is doing DNA analysis and I believe there are others that are testing some cans too (for DNA evidence of species source). We all wait for those results.

      1. VitalVet

        Mike Adams (the Health Ranger) has a high tech lab in Austin and might well be interested in testing this.

  15. jan blanco

    for our pets we feed raw.
    for us, we buy our meat from our co op – which sources it locally – enough of these companies sending meats overseas to be processed then back to this country for sale. it’s sick SICK SICK!!! bottom line it’s all about the money. Thankfully what canned meats we do use on the kitties are labels which so far have not been on the recall “HOT SHEET”

  16. ACH369

    I just want to thank you, Susan, for keeping all of us informed…you are truly a force of nature, and I very much appreciate you!!!

  17. Rhonda Gillespie Floyd

    Didn’t realize this had happened. My local holistic pet food store sent out an email saying that they were removing all Evangers products and would not be carrying it any more. I wonder if they will be carrying Party Animal and Cocolicious. I cannot wait to hear the result of this investigation. I’m glad the investigation is continuing as well. Only, isn’t it sad that the FDA allowed thousands of dogs to die of the Chinese chicken debacle because they didn’t want to offend China. If only they had been as aggressive with that horrible poisoning episode.

    1. ACH369

      They didn’t want to offend China??? THAT’S why they didn’t do anything about it??? China needs to be slapped around for a while for what they did!!! And so does the FDA…

      1. jan blanco

        any country which knowingly kills it’s babies is off MY good list. and China willingly did this right after killing so many of our pets with the melamine debacle. they added melanine to their infant formulas, even knowing what it did to pets. Far as I’m concerned, China can fall into the sea…………………

  18. Sheryl

    After talking to the customer service people at Against the Grain, they ensured me that they are going above and beyond any other company in lieu of this voluntary recall, because the FDA does not have optimal regulations on Pentobarbital. So, they are making sure they do.

    They assured me that they’re making their foods the safest out there by testing far beyond what anybody else is testing. It’s a shame that Against the Grain has to lead this campaign to begin checking for this drug, but atleast somebody is looking out for my doggies! Ive been using their product for over 5 years, and I’m not going to stop

    1. Reader

      Sorry to be a skeptic, when you’ve been nice enough to share their responses. But the company is Evanger’s. And most of these PF companies have been in business 40+ years. Testing “far beyond their competitors” like during the last 2 weeks, says more about getting bad PR behind them, than real and sustained intention.

    2. Karen S.

      Against the Grain IS Evanger’s… Don’t let them fool you. They came out with the line back then to get back customers who left because of all their other legal trouble…. They own it, they manufacturer it, they are Against the Grain. 100%. They are 100% the exact same people. When you talked to Against the Grain, you talked to Evanger’s…

  19. Karen S.

    Evanger’s has always claimed their pet food is “Food Grade” so then right there they cannot use adulterated and diseased animals in their food.

    This does not exclude any other non food grade pet food manufacturer from using these animals. This is why euthanized animals can end up in FEED grade pet food on a regular basis.

    Being that Evanger’s has a history of manufacturing Horse Meat for canning of Horse Meat and for the selling of canned Horse Meat specifically, I wouldn’t put it past them to save some money and use Horse Meat as their Hunk O “Beef”, and in any of their Beef lines. What would it actually take to sneak a few batches through. If they did it, they knew it.

    Who knows…

    I do know that many retailers are pulling all Evanger’s beef from the shelf some are pulling all Evanger’s from the shelf forever…

    Sadly with Evanger’s manufacturing the canned food for dozens of other independent manufacturers, this could be very wide reaching in the pet food industry.

    ~Karen

    1. B Dawson

      Karen,

      Do you have list of the foods Evanger’s co-packs? A neighbor asked about Addiction cat food the other day. Although they are a NZ company, the label says “produced in the US” and has the distinctive curved date stamp on the bottom. That used to belong to Evanger’s exclusively, but I’m a little out of the loop since closing my store.

      I’ve emailed Addiction (I always want things in writing!) and waited 3 days with no reply. Either they are really bad at responding to customer emails or they don’t want to admit they co-pack at Evanger’s.

      I’ve supplied the Addiction WA, USA office number to my neighbor and encouraged her to call directly but thought I’d check here as well. We all know how reluctant companies are to reveal their co-packers.

      Thanks for any info.

      B

      1. Reader

        A Customer Service department representative said they aren’t allowed to say who is the co-packer in the United States because it is “proprietary” information. But one of the owners of the company might be able to answer. I sent an email.

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