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Test Results Show Pentobarbital in Evangers Dog Food

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  1. Bethany

    What does the Evanger’s stamp look like? Can you attach a photo?

    1. Susan Thixton Author

      I will try to get an image for you.

    2. Christine Sauer

      The stamp is curved, looks like a smile, on the bottom of the can

  2. Christine Sauer

    Wow, this is scary! How horrible these dogs and owner had to go through this! I’ve been feeding Party Animal organic products (produced at Evanger)to my cats for several months. Nothing has happened but will be returning remaining cans to the store.

    1. Jerri Green

      Oh my gosh….scary! I was feeding my Cocker, Daisy, Party Animal organic products for months….I do so much research….and only want the best for her….I try to make time to make homemade, too…then freeze little containers for her. She has IMHA & I was told it would be ‘better’ to ‘put her down’ (because of the cost…I was taking her back & forth to a University vet…who was sadly, of no use….I really thought they would have more education on it, she did not…..but I DID have every test possible performed on her….to rule out any other illnesses). I researched & tried everything I could find to help her….for a dog that was supposed to be dead (they gave her 3 wks.) in Sept. of 2015, she’s doing great, thank God! I am now feeding her WERUVA….it worried me that it is manufactured in Thailand, but read so much on it…(it’s not CHINA!!)…and that their regulations are much more stricter than organic (or any other) USA made food. My head is swimming with so much information…I just pray that this IS healthy, because she loves it. Even some of the vets are uneducated about IMHA…I have gone to several who wanted to vaccinate her….she can have NO more of those….it could kill her. I had one become very angry when I told her to put that needle down, Daisy could NOT be vaccinated…she now knows about IMHA…and I believe, is sorry. I will do ANYTHING to keep her healthy…it’s a scary world out there, though…you sure have to do your ‘homework’ on dog food…..and sometimes, that is not even enough…because the info you’re reading may not be true. My heart goes out to anyone who has lost a pet (I have, it’s devastating), especially if it was diet or vaccination-related….or even old age.

      1. Dianne & Pets

        I hate to burst your bubble about Thailand, but China has been known to ship stuff to other countries and for some reason rules allow the country of origin rule to be circumvented. While the dog food may be manufactured in Thailand, where do the ingredients come from? Does it make sense that a country as small as Thailand has the resources to grow the amount of meat that would be used and shipped to the states? Are the ingredients being shipped to them from the States? China? These days you practically have to be a lawyer to read between the lines.

        1. Jerri Green

          Yes, it can definitely be confusing…I have researched all the foods till I’m blue in the face. I have read that NOTHING in Weruva canned dog food comes from China…I’m still leery, though. I’d have to double-check, but I think some of the ingredients do come from a couple other countries, which bothered me, till I read several good reports on the food that was shipped from them. Human food also comes from other countries…yes, I like to buy the US sourced food, but that doesn’t always mean it’s better. The Weruva food is made in a factory that also serves as a human food facility. It is human grade…and is free of all the ‘bad stuff’…but I still worry about BPA in the can linings, plus now have read that Copper Sulfate, which is in the food, can damage the heart, kidneys & liver. One article says it is a ‘vital’ ingredient in the ‘right dosage’….another will call it ‘toxic’. It is found naturally in certain foods…which WE also eat. About the only time I feel worry-free is when I make Daisy homemade organic food….but we STILL cannot even be sure about that. Many dog food companies in the U.S. are NOT putting in that can what we THINK they are…road kill, dead cats & dogs that are diseased, are still being used. So LOL…I’m in no ‘bubble’ about Thailand…I have my doubts about ALL the foods out there…I will think I have finally have found the ‘perfect’ one, after reading report after report…..then along comes information that makes me worry about THAT one. There IS a United States – based Weruva pet food facility, with the owners living in MA. They chose Thailand to manufacture because of the very strict regulations on dog food in that country. (which I HOPED was true) I don’t know…the pet food industry is a mess.

      2. Rhonda Gillespie Floyd

        Hope you are a Member of the IMHA dogs group on Facebook! Awesome group!!
        I’m feeding some home cooked and some Party Animal and just had a heart attack finding out here in the comments that it is produced by Evangers.

        1. Jerri Green

          I’ll have to join….thank you!! I just about had a heart attack, too….I fed Party Animal for a while last year…she is doing fine, but I worried that it could have done some kind of damage to her that I don’t know about….it’s scary. LOL…I deactivated my FB Account to ‘take a break’…..too much going on here….had surgery & my son was diagnosed with MS…lots to take care of. But I will definitely join that group…I love hearing how others have cared for their IMHA pet, it helps ME. Take care! 🙂

        2. cupcakesandkale

          The good news may be that Party Animal is produced using organic certification rules – another layer of safety a far as segregation of the ingredients used and separation of the lines used to produce them. Even if one of Evanger’s suppliers was using 4D meats, the Party Animal side of production should be protected from mixing with those types of ingredients. Maybe call Party Animal to see what they do to ensure this.

  3. Elise

    What other foods should we avoid because Evangers has something to do with production?

    1. kayliz

      Since you ask: ALL commercially produced pet food that hasn’t signed up to Susan’s “pledge”.

      Pentobarbital in pet food isn’t exclusively an Evangers problem.
      The FDA has known about it for at least sixteen years — here’s a table of analysis results they published in 2001 revealing evidence of pentobarbital in household-name pet foods:
      http://www.fda.gov/AboutFDA/CentersOffices/OfficeofFoods/CVM/CVMFOIAElectronicReadingRoom/ucm129135.htm

      I don’t know what’s more shocking: that pentibarbital is present in pet food (and the I-can’t-bear-to-think-it implications of that), or the fact that the FDA has known about it for years and done nothing about it.

      I do know I wouldn’t touch /any/ non-human-grade pet food with a ten-foot pole.

      1. Tamz

        Evangers is human grade though.

        1. Susan Thixton Author

          To be a human grade pet food, to be able to state human grade on a label or on a website or in advertising – these are the legal requirements…
          All ingredients must be human edible (USDA inspected and approved for human consumption),
          All supplements must be human grade,
          All warehousing and transportation of ingredients must meet human food regulation,
          And it must be manufactured in a certified human food manufacturing facility.

          The Evangers Pet Food plant is a pet food plant – not a human food manufacturing plant. So no, they do not meet the legal requirement of human grade.

    2. Peter

      Holistic Health Extension (“distributed by Vets Choice”) has the curved date stamp associated with Evanger’s production.

  4. Michelle S

    I’m just sick over this! I avoid this food and tell others to do the same, but my head is spinning wondering how many people use it. I found a picture of a code on the bottom of their can, but have no way to upload it here.

    1. Rhonda Gillespie Floyd

      According to the store owner where we purchase Party Animal, there were 20,000 cans Of this beef and this is the only reported incident. Contamination of the meat should mean that more incidents would have occurred. Still, I am very concerned. Personally, I would still like to see the DNA tested to know what was in the food.

      1. GG

        I would would like the dna tested of the sample to know if it was beef or even came from the can. The test also states “If this sample came directly from the can…….” I would also like the rest of the can contents tested to see if it was tampered with and whether the sample sent in matches the rest of the can’s contents. It seems they sent something to be tested, no proof it even came from the can. 1 can from 1 customer vs 19,999 others seems fishy. I would also like to see if their tests can differentiate between pentobabrital IV and other forms of pentobabrital, and whether the pentobabrbital concentration found matches typical amounts in beef if euthanized.

  5. Sara

    Susan, has information been released as to how this occurred? It is truly frightening! Is it the result of using rendered meat?

    1. Susan Thixton Author

      No – we don’t have any information yet. It could be rendered meat – but it would not have to be. FDA has a Compliance Policy specific to canned pet food that tells manufacturers they will not enforce law with canned pet foods using meats sourced from non-slaughtered animals (which would include a euthanized animal). Here is that link: http://www.fda.gov/ICECI/ComplianceManuals/CompliancePolicyGuidanceManual/ucm074710.htm.

  6. Mari Jo Reese

    So my first thought after reading this is how would that possibly get in the dog food?…….hmmmmm……I have read several times on different sites in the past that euthanized pets have been used in pet food. Then I also have read that pet food companies deny that this happens………so I’m just wondering how this could possibly happen???????

    1. Louise

      It could also be euthanized beef or any other kind of large animal like horses or ????.

    2. Bev Rabi

      You have read right unfortunately, they will deny, but you can find on youtube, search pet food rendering, they use dogs, cats, roadkill, and euth’d animals from vets and shelters.

      1. Sharon

        I thought that food that has by products in it has rendered meat

  7. B Dawson

    Unfortunately, that curved stamp distinctive to Evangers is frequently smeared and unreadable.

    Does anyone know what the outcome of the State of Illinois vs. Evanger’s was or if it’s still pending? The owners were charged with having employees bypass the electric meter coming into the plant and stealing electricity.

  8. pat chesney

    as long as dead dogs and cats are used in pet food; this type of thing will happen consider using a human grade product

    1. Jerri Green

      Pat, that’s what I buy. Then I start wondering if it’s REALLY ‘human grade’…I hope so. LOL…looks good enough for me to eat, smells good, too. I read, read & then read more…our pets are our ‘babies’….we want the best for them, but we just never really know. I keep my fingers crossed that I’m feeding her healthy food, giving her good supplements, etc. It’s scary…

  9. foodguy

    I have read Evanger’s statements, and I don’t see them addressing the big picture concern of pentobarbital being found via lab test- only that their tests don’t show any pathogens or harmful bacteria. I think they are missing the point. Whether or not the cans caused illness in the particular pets in question- the big picture is that a highly dangerous was found and there haven’t been any comments regarding this manner- which to me, reads as if they are not concerned/surprised that happened? If 1 millions pets are eating Hunk of Beef- and Hunk of Beef cans test positive for that ingredient- how can you backtrack to when and where their ingredient supplier provided the rendered product which included the pentobarbital? Seems like this should be a recall….

    1. Louise

      They may of tested for common contaminents and that came back negative but that doesn’t mean they tested for any other things

  10. Laurie Raymond

    I’m as suspicious of commercial pet food manufacturers as any of you, but hold on – let’s review what is known so far. Evangers followed up immediately with their own tests for common food contaminants, all of which were negative. The FDA was notified and has conducted their own tests. I spoke with Evanger’s personnel today who explained all the steps they have taken and their cooperation with FDA, which has tested other cans and not found any trace of pentobarbital. Also, this is a very popular food, and most of that batch was purchased and fed, and there have been no reports of other animals being affected in any way. Both the seller and Evangers made efforts to follow up on that, and no other problems have been reported. Also, pentobarbital is a highly restricted euthanasia drug. As a former animal shelter director, I had to sign for each purchase and log every amount of it we used. No one euthanizes cattle with this drug today, but if they did, it would be injected intravenously, resulting in death in seconds. The product that was contaminated, Hunk of Beef, is a slab of easily identifiable muscle meat. An injected euthanasia dose would not permeate the carcass and muscles of the animal because the heart would have stopped almost immediately. Other instances of discovering pentobarbital in pet food show traces that probably come from meals. Evangers makes their own food at their cannery and do not use meals in this product. The Michigan state university lab report you show encourages the pet owner to retain the can. I hope she has, and that it will occur to someone to test it extensively for signs of tampering, which is, in my opinion, the only possible way a significant quantity of pentobarbital could have gotten into this one can, which alone has shown to be affected. In my years as director of an animal shelter, I saw instances of deliberate poisonings of pets by people with animus against the owner in domestic violence and other situations. I am NOT suggesting this is the case, only that if you look at all the facts – and the FDA’S investigation is not complete – tampering with the individual container or direct insertion of the contaminant into the food – seems likeliest and definitely needs to be ruled out. Evangers is one of the most ethical companies, and I have carried their products for years. I make a point of watching all the food companies I carry for signs of merger, acquisition, cost-cutting or other cheating or lowering of standards, and I have not seen red flags with Evangers. I think the company deserves the benefit of the doubt in this case, until the investigation is complete and resolves the issue.

    1. T Allen

      I don’t know where you get your info but much of it is debatable. Pentobarbs are used in large animals euthanasia today. https://www.avma.org/KB/Policies/Documents/euthanasia.pdf

      A beef heart is plenty large enough to look like a slab of meat. The average consumer wouldn’t know the difference.

      The lab tested the open can of food the dogs ate and the content of the stomach of the dog that died. The lab report requests other unopened cans.

      One of many documented issues with Evangers. http://www.fda.gov/ICECI/EnforcementActions/WarningLetters/ucm255000.htm

      I’m not saying they used the contaminated meat on purpose but the current avoidance of ALL pet food producers (except human grade) in following the laws likely contributed to this tragedy. The Veterinarian that euthanized the bovine and the owner that did not ensure it was properly disposed of are culpable as well.

      1. Margarat

        The muscle fiber of heart meat is very different in appearance. The meat in this food is stringy, just like your pot roast.

        1. Dianne & Pets

          Are you going by the label on the can or a picture of the actual contents of the offending can? We already know that the labels on pet food packaging are unreliable. There is a lawsuit (details elsewhere on this site) that is based on the concept (according to the pet food manufacturers) that a reasonable pet food consumer knows that the pictures are to suggest the protein contained in the can, not the actual cuts or quality.

          1. Margarat

            I going by how it actually looks when I feed it to my own dog.

      2. Louise

        The veterinarians in my area will not euthanize a large animal unless you already have a hole dug for burial and are read to bury the animal right away. I think this is so that you don’t poison the wildlife that might try to eat that animal but it would also prevent someone from selling the dead animal to some sort of a processing plant afterwards.

    2. Gina Burns (@lragb)

      I feed my furbaby Evangers Vegetarian and will continue to do so.. Funny thing, it’s just one can.. Sounds suspicious..

      1. Joe

        Animals need meat….

      2. Tryniti T.

        Funny thing, that you’re willing to put your “baby” at risk for the idea of some ridiculous loyalty to a brand. I would never if think of risking my pet’s lives to try and stand up for some pet food company. Funny thing, these things are not new. This has happened before, with other brands, for several years. Most pet food companies are not your friends. They are BUSINESSES. And most business care about one thing and one thing only – your money. Glad you care enough about them to keep giving them your money though. That’s um…admirable? -_-

    3. rfloydcvicurn

      Your comments are quite thought provoking. Who would have access to pentobarbital? How long would it be stable in food? Since all four dogs were affected, it would have had to have been mixed well in the can. Isn’t it possible that blood from a euthanized animal would be in the dog food. Since it isn’t in the muscle – or perhaps it is absorbed in the muscle or brain of the animal passively after death. Since other foods showed euthanasia meds in the past, it had to get there some way. I would like to see the meat in the food DNA tested. That might give some indication of the source of the pentobarbital. Just continuing to think about all you have said.

    4. Sandy

      I’d like to direct you to Evanger’s history of complaints about 2006-2008 in Wheeling, Ill.: inspections showing unsanitary conditions, and neighbors’ complaints about the plant. Just do an Internet search. In 2011, an FDA warning letter says it found samples of their lamb ingredient food and duck ingredient food did not contain lamb or duck. The FDA said, in 2013, that that was corrected. These reports are a several years old but they have been enough to make me avoid Evanger’s products. I’d like to know what other signs you watch for as indicators of “cheating or lowering of standards,” besides merger and acquisition, and how you find out about cost-cutting by companies. It might help all of us decide which companies are ethical and trustworthy.

  11. Stacie Oehlerich

    I only see that the stomach contents were tested, not a previously unopened can. I don’t have a lot of experience reading these type of reports, but it looks to me like stomach contents were tested, and they are REQUESTING the cans be retained. . . . Was there another test?

    1. Susan Thixton Author

      The food from the opened can the dogs ate from was also tested – positive. We are waiting on information from FDA if unopened cans were tested and those results.

      1. Margarat

        This is the kind of detail that is important. If the can being cited as containing the pentobarbitol was an open can from the owner it should be stated specifically in the post above. This is very different than if the can were unopened.

  12. DJ Bourne

    Just asking, because I’m truly curious: If pentobarbitol is still such a highly restricted drug how could someone have gotten hold of it to tamper with a can(s)?

    1. T Allen

      And why? This is not tampering, this is criminal behavior on the part of a bovine’s owner or slaughter house. The animal could have been a downer that a USDA vet euthanized at the slaughter plant and redirected it from the human food chain to be rendered. The slaughter house could have made a few extra bucks by directing it to pet food instead of rendering. All this accidently or on purpose but the fact is no one is testing or enforcing the laws on the books.

    2. Laurie Raymond

      Pentobarbital is highly restricted, but many – vets, techs, wildlife rehabbers, animal shelter personnel – have access to it. I know of one case, a suicide of a former shelter worker who saved up doses for several years and hooked himself up to an IV. He took the drug, then watered down the bottle to compensate so that there would be no way to discover the theft. Each euthanasia performed is logged out with the amount, so if the diluted solution required more, it would not raise suspicions because there are variations in responses. I have seen many opened cans of this product, even tasted it myself. It is not heart, it is a slab of lean muscle meat in its juices. It is one of the cleanest and most easily identifiable canned pet foods I know of. Remember the cases of product tampering 20 or so years ago – Tylenol, I believe, was the first scary instance. This so far has only been found in one can – the one fed to the pugs. The company and the FDA have only been able to test a few cans because most of that batch had been purchased and fed b efore this incident occurred. Tampering by a crazy, malice directed at the owner or the dogs, cannot be ruled out without much more detective work. I’m just saying we should not jump to conclusions here. We who care about the integrity of the petfood industry and want to expose its deficiencies damage our own credibility when we rush to judgment before having all the facts.

  13. T Allen

    Pentobarb injected for euthanasia would go right to the heart and stop it. It would not be spread to other tissues unless someone not knowing what they were doing injected it into the lungs instead, But my guess, assuming that there are “chunks of beef” in the can is those chunks were heart muscle marinated in pentobarb. This is the reason why these animals should not be allowed into any food chain, human or pet!

    1. Margarat

      I appreciate the clarity of what you’ve said. The chunks are not heart muscle, you can clearly see by the structure of the meat. It looks just like pieces of pot roast you’d have at home.

    2. Dr. Laurie Coger

      Actually, most euthanasia drugs are injected intravenously, and would be present in all tissues, including muscles. Pentobarbital, a barbituate, acts on the brain to slow body functions. In the past it has been used in veterinary medicine to control seizures and as an anesthetic, but today it is predominantly used for euthanasia.

      1. rfloydcvicurn

        Yes, thank you for clarifying the action of the pentobarbital. I know that other drugs are given first to sleep the small animal so they do not suffocate and suffer. My vet uses propofol. But I have no knowledge of large animal practice.

  14. Ian

    Wow, Evangers sure was quick to get some shills on here to try and deflect responsibility from themselves using any desperate arguments they could grab out of the air.

    I find it much more likely that the ingredients of the food were contaminated than that a can was intentionally tampered with using this “highly restricted euthanasia drug.”

    In a perfect world pentobarbital should not make it into pet food. We all know that slaughterhouses, rendering factories, and pet food production lines are FAR from perfect.

    1. Anne Blohm

      You must not be old enough to remember the Tylenol scare.

      1. Ian

        No, I do remember the Tylenol scare. But I find the cases very different: 1) bottles with pre-tamper-resistant screw off caps 2) a vacuum-sealed metal can. The above commenter is suggesting that either someone somehow injected pentobarbital into the can post-production and that no signs of such tampering to the can were evident to the consumer before or after feeding the can of food to their pets, or that someone in the consumer’s domestic household vindictively obtained and used pentobarbital to sicken her pets. I find it much more logical and likely that the pentobarbital was in the can during production and that efforts to raise doubt about this likelihood distract from the very real task at hand of figuring out how it did happen and how to prevent it from happening again.

    2. Jane Democracy

      I agree that food manufacturers and ingredient manufacturers /distributors are very far from perfect. However, you would be surprised how often tampering does occur in the food industry. I have seen some weird stuff inserted by people with pills being the most common in my experience. I think the motivation is often financial, they are hoping to get money out of the company or to try and bring a large corporation down, or the person is really sick and wants to hurt living things.

    3. Laurie Raymond

      I have questioned Evangers personnel extensively on this because I retail pet food and am extremely obsessed with quality, safety and honesty. I am not shilling for any company, merely pointing out that this is an extremely unlikely substance to contaminate this particular product – so much so that other possibilities must be considered more likely.

      1. Tryniti T.

        Their “personnel” would be completely unbiased and have no reason to say what you want to hear, and probably not at all trained at what to say when asked about this situation, I’m sure -_- Look, history (and the present) shows that when it comes to the health and welfare of consumers (I’ll include consumer’s pets in that), large businesses will pick making more money over protecting the public. It’s rather naive to take their word for anything otherwise. (Note that I’m not in any way stating NO businesses care about their consumers, but that would be the exception, not the rule.)

  15. Suzanne Clothier

    Worth remembering it was once believed that pentobarbital would not survive the rendering process, but turns out – yep, it does.

    As to the faulty claim that the euthanasia drug would go “only to the heart” unless someone made a mistake and injected it into the lungs (hard to do when going IV!) – well, read these studies:

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26020203
    http://cwmi.css.cornell.edu/quantification.pdf

    http://cpharm.vetmed.vt.edu/USFWS/USFWSFPentobarbFactSheet.pdf

    Different euthanasia drug but still distribution to skeletal muscle
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jvim.14372/full

    1. Laurie Raymond

      The product in question is not rendered, not beef meal. And given the processing and slaughtering of beef in the typical assembly line, how would one animal be separated and euthanized with an IV drug and then somehow put back into the processing line? And why would that happen? I can imagine a loved pet cow being euthanized, but how would it then find its way into the commodity beef market? The scenarios by which contaminated meat could end up in this particular product are simply more unlikely than a malicious criminal act. I know that euthanized carcasses do end up in pet food. But this is through the procurement of euthanized animals which are rendered before being sold to pet food companies. This Hunk of Beef is not a rendered product. And the amount necessary to kill one pug and make 3 ill by oral ingestion would be huge, as the lab test did find. I have never heard of such a thing, even when tests detect pentobarbital in foods – because the drug would be very diffused by the time it ended up in the finished product.

      1. Tryniti T.

        Animal fat is another product of rendering. So is animal digest. Both of which could be in the food (whether labeled as such or not)….something to think about.

  16. David

    This is not proven yet you go into completely accusing Evangers? This is clearly a bias view and not considering the evidence. Evangers has tried to completely stay open and honest while the lady accusing Evangers has dodged many questions in emails and phone calls from Evangers. There is no proof that the dogs didn’t get into something around the house before they ate dinner. Whir has makes sense, they were hungry and looking for for so they ate something they shouldn’t and then ate Evangers. It’s a possibility I don’t see covered in the article whir he shows it’s own bias.

    1. Dianne & Pets

      Where did you get the information that the lady has dodged questions from Evangers? Is this publically posted somewhere to be seen? I don’t believe Susan has accused Evangers of deliberately putting the drug into the food, but wouldn’t you want to know about this possibility now instead of months from now after the FDA finished the investigation? Funny thing though, I have found that if I email more than one question to anybody, especially companies, the first question gets answered (maybe) and the rest are ignored or missed.

    2. cupcakesandkale

      I don’t think this is biased – just reporting the results of the test and she says the next step is to wait for FDA results to corroborate this test.

  17. foodguy

    Evanger’s isn’t above reproach considering their previous scandals. Felony theft, bribing a witness……it isn’t the most ethical pet food company out there….

  18. DJ Bourne

    I can believe that hungry dogs (well, mine seemed to ALWAYS be hungry, the way they’d beg between meals) would eat whatever they may have found around the house but if the dog’s stomach contents showed pentobarbitol (and if it was specifically in the dog food meat that was in it’s stomach) I really can’t believe that there just happened to be something edible within reach of a pug that contained this drug because I just don’t see how that highly regulated drug could have gotten into the hands of the average consumer in order for them to have put it either in the dog’s food or into the dog food can in order to “frame” a company.

    Or even into the hands of a disgruntled employee at the dog food facility, as it’s a dangerous drug that is, evidently, tracked when bought and/or used?

    I know nothing about this pet food company, never fed their food, only heard the name once of twice, so I have nothing against this company.

  19. Mary Sue

    This is very sad. I used Evanger’s canned food for my dog years ago until i started learning of all the problems with quality control and business practices.

    Does anyone know if they are the packers for Party Animal organic canned cat food? Party Animal won’t tell me. The code stamps on Party Animal cans are curved as in the image above.

    1. Christine Sauer

      A regional pet food salesman at my local pet food store told me that Evanger does make the food for Party Animal. This was months ago that I had a discussion with him prior to purchasing Party Animal and Cocolicious for my cats. Evanger uses those tinned steel cans which is a way to tell if it’s their food. I don’t know of other companies using this type of can

      1. Mary Sue

        Thank you Christine. It appears that they might also pack Wild Callings which also has that type of can and the curved code stamp. I feed home prepared raw, but like to have some canned for occasional use, as a back up, and for integrating new cats. It is nearly impossible to find one I can trust and the cats like.

        1. Christine Sauer

          I totally understand about the challenges of feeding cats. I have many who won’t eat the safer , high quality foods including home prepared, raw, air and freeze dried raw, and all kinds of canned. At least Party Animal and Cocolicious are organic and several like it so it has been a win until hearing all of this.

          1. Tryniti T.

            Christine check out catinfo.org and catnutrition.org. They have lots of good information and tips on getting your cat to eat a new food. When I first adopted my cat she was already 5 and had only been on dry her whole life. It took me two months just to get her to try wet food, and then she’d only eat the one kind. Now she’ll eat almost anything I give to her, and I’ve had her two years. It can be hard, and sometimes a long journey, but if you care about quality of life, it’s well worth it. It is not impossible, and I find that most people I talk to about this did not put in the time and effort I did – don’t give up 🙂

          2. Christine Sauer

            I appreciate your suggestions. I have researched alot and read info on those sites and others and have worked with my cats on transitioning them to better quality foods, including preparing at home. And I have seen benefits in their health. For some it was very easy, others not so much at all after many, many months. I have a dozen rescue cats, all with different preferences and dietary needs so it’s quite a challenge to manage. There are only so many hours in the day. So, I feed a range of foods from air dried and dehydrated raw, canned and kibble. For example, I tried Honest Kitchen, a brand with quality ingredients and integrity as a company, but unfortunately not a single cat liked it. In general it seems that cats are more challenging than dogs.

  20. Jim Morrison

    Hi all-just today came across this article and thread. I searched for info about Pentobarbital and veterinary use (Mom’s aged mutt is suffering and this search has educated me) and came across you all. I’d like to chime in about the Evangers situation. I do not work there. I do not represent them. I just want to add my two cents worth.
    Thank you Susan Thixton for the detailed timeline. Documenting dates and actions is tedious, but really helpful.
    At the risk of of inviting the scorn of your readers here are my thoughts about this month’s chain of events.
    1/3/2017 terrible occurrence and Evangers did the right thing. They took action and removed any product that might be contaminated. Hats off to Evangers.
    1/4/2017 Evangers pays all expenses from this tragic event. No strings attached. I think that is admirable.
    1/16/2017 Evangers releases test results. Transparency is a good thing.
    1/21/2017 Evangers releases additional test results.
    1/23/2017 Evangers releases another test result. 3 test results in a week.
    1/25/2017 “A friend of the pet owner” comments on the thread (Help! Can’t find this comment. Anyone see it?) No doubt these heartfelt comments came from a friend. But, who is she/he? Having registered myself and provided name and contact info it would be helpful to know. I know we agree that anonymous quotes do not meet any standard of transparency or authenticity.
    1/29/2017 Test results! MSU report identifies cause of death. But, cause of death does not tell us how Pentobarbital got into the can. Before or after opening? In production or at home? Before or after the sickening of three dogs and the death of another?
    Great info about Evanger’s production code stamp. Concerned pet owners need to know where to find the specific lot number from which the can originated. Thankfully, Evangers provided that lot number on 1/3/2017. Also seems that this lot number would appear on not only their brand, but cans that they produced and private labeled. It would have been helpful for someone on this thread to give the names of these private label companies. I’d like to check my cabinet for possible problems but can’t.
    1/30/2017 FDA speaks up. No surprise that the statement has really nothing to add. They are “investigating adverse event reports.” Their determination will arrive whenever. Government inaction drives me crazy.
    So that’s all I can gather from the facts. This is a scary situation especially since no one knows how it happened. My two pups (Havanese, crazy but cute) do not need Pentobarbital in their food. But there is the problem–after looking at the facts I can’t conclude anything. Nor, I believe, can anyone else. Speculation is easy, but careful consideration of all available facts is hard. The FDA might someday issue a report. Evangers has shown good faith. Until we know I’ll reel in my inclination to connect unknown and unseen points and wait til the complete truth comes out.

    1. Tryniti T.

      I understand where you’re coming from, and with the information regarding this one particular situation you’ve gathered, I’d probably see things the way you do. But Evangers has a history of *not* “showing good faith”. You have to look at the credibility of the company, as well as the likelihood that the company has far more to gain from selling cheap, unsafe products and then lying about it then someone does by killing their own dog.

  21. barbara m

    By now many folks are aware that Evanger’s are just plain old crooks, with a history of nefarious crimes. In 2010 the FDA found that two dog food varieties were “misbranded” with false or misleading labeling. The so-called Lamb and Rice Dog Food contained absolutely NO lamb, but only “bovine” – beef. Then the FDA found that the Grain-free Duck Pet Food had – guess – NO duck. No mention of what species they found, but not duck. As everyone knows, lamb and duck are far more expensive ingredients that plain ol’ beef or whatever.

    Then in 2013 the Shea’s decided that their plant should be getting FREE gas, so they constructed an elaborate method to divert the gas so that the gas company would not detect the diversion. Not satisfied, they decided that they should also be getting FREE electricity as well, so they ordering the company employees to divert it, endangered their workers in the process. So they, or Joel Shea, had conned nearly $2 million worth of free gas and power lines to his store.

    Was only a matter of time when they were caught, but when it came to trial, Joel Shea, offered $5,000 to bribe a witness in exchange for changing their testimony. So now, not only are Evanger’s outed for misbranding, Joel Shea has been proven to be a felony criminal.

    Even before these and other shenanigans in the past, they were involved in a dispute with the Village of Wheeling as to the putrid odors emanating from the plant, (with complaints since 2006). They were fined for being a public nuisance, but they tried to squirm out of paying the $1050. fine. So health officials visited the plant and found rotting carcasses, maggots, open containers with yuk inside, etc etc, so the fine ended up being $316,500. So, Evanger’s lawyer-ed up…

    This is their M.O. – to deny everything. So, regarding this new development, do you honestly think that they are going to bend down and admit to wrongdoing? They will be lawyer-ed up for this crisis with the Pentobarbital. They will blame others. Does this sound like a company who you would trust to make quality pet food for your beloved pets?

  22. Anne

    I am not saying that this is the case here, but sometimes it is very difficult to discern between what appears to be good faith and terribly slick corporate “communications”.

  23. Henson Frost

    I do not trust anyone I’m afraid. I feed my dogs natural balance vegan dry food, because I know from living near a dog food plant for years what goes into their meat meals. I served the evangers vegetarian wet with the dry, and my dogs hated it. Almost starved themselves. I have been a vegetarian my whole adult life and am repulsed opening cans of stinky meat wet food, but decided to try the Evangers Organic Chicken, with nothing but chicken in the ingredients. Still stinks, but my dogs love it mixed in with their vegan dry food. Did not hear about anything bad about Evangers until now. Concerned….. the can says made in USA, and pure organic boiled chicken. It is ground chicken, so I assume the softened bones are in it too, but that is fine with me. Don’t like the idea of feathers, feet, and beaks in it, but I struggle everyday with chickens dying to feed my dogs, anyway. I have lived very well without meat for many years (I’m 65). Wish my dogs could be satisfied without meat, too. Slaughter houses are brutal places where the employees enjoy torturing the animals before killing them without sedation. Horrible…… and the worst meat is always used for dog food. I will keep my eyes and ears open about Evangers, but will finish out the two cases of organic chicken I purchased for them in the meantime. Hope it will be okay, but all dog food is nonhuman grade anyway……sad…..

  24. kayliz

    Since this appears to be turning into a pro/contra Evangers discussion, please allow me to repeat something I posted above:

    Pentobarbital in pet food isn’t exclusively an Evangers problem.
    The FDA has known about it for at least sixteen years — here’s a table of analysis results they published in 2001 revealing evidence of pentobarbital in household-name pet foods:
    http://www.fda.gov/AboutFDA/CentersOffices/OfficeofFoods/CVM/CVMFOIAElectronicReadingRoom/ucm129135.htm

    The problem is illegal pet food practices in general. As long as the FDA continues to allow companies to ignore the law, pets will continue to die from pet food.

    1. Kelley Brooks

      Well i think to be fair the “sample” is not from an unopened can obviously since he clearly states that in his report so we don’t know what this is from…if it were we could make that conclusion. Nobody else notice that? It’s not he tested a can from a lot code. That would be a different story.

  25. kayliz

    Susan, just out of interest (and ignorance): what exactly can the declaration “whole beef” mean, legally?
    Is it true that “beef by-products” doesn’t have to mean beef?
    An article I read a few years ago suggests “beef by-products” can cover euthanised pets:
    http://www.rense.com/general50/render.htm

    1. Susan Thixton Author

      Per the 2017 AAFCO Official Publication – “Whole” is defined as “(Physical form) Complete, entire.” Beef is defined under “Meat” as “the clean flesh derived from slaughtered mammals and is limited to the part of the striate muscle which is skeletal or that which is found in the tongue, in the diaphragm, in the heart, or in the esophagus; with or without the accompanying and overlying fat and the portions of the skin, sinew, nerve, and blood vessels which normally accompany the flesh. It shall be suitable for use in animal food.”

      Two key parts to this legal definition…1) meat is required to be sourced from a slaughtered animal. But 2) it it not required to be human edible – the statement ‘it shall be suitable for use in animal food’ gives the definition free reign to be condemned meat from a slaughtered animal.

      1. kayliz

        But Susan, it didn’t say “meat”. Only “beef”.

        Can “whole beef” mean “including beef by-products”?

        Does “beef” legally have to mean “from cattle”?

        (I know this second question is or at least should be absurd. But see article linked above.)

        1. Susan Thixton Author

          Beef would fall under the legal definition of ‘Meat’. I don’t believe there is a legal regulation on if ‘beef’ means from cattle – but I would assume regulatory would perceive it that way. That yes, beef should mean from cattle.

          1. kayliz

            If “meat” contrasts with “by-products” — I thought it did? — then it’s all about the parts of an animal, not about which animal, right?

            Or to put it differently: if “meat” contrasts with “by-products”, and “beef” is “meat”, it would make no sense to talk about “beef (or poultry, or whatever) by-products” — because, if “meat” is a separate category from “by-products”, “meat by-products” couldn’t be a category.

          2. kayliz

            To clarify: here is what tge article linked above says (I hasten to add it was published by an extremely respectable British national newspaper):
            “As of December [2003], the rendered dog and cat trade ceased overnight. Why? Because, according to the US Department of Agriculture, dogs and cats are officially defined for export purposes as “beef byproducts”. And December was the month when a single case of mad cow disease was discovered in Washington State, closing down America’s beef export markets. You may not have thought of your friendly neighbourhood furball as a miniature cow, but that’s how the US government views it.”

            The article goes on to talk about the waste-disposal problems this causes, given that rendered pets are considered too toxic for landfill — which immediately chimed for me with what you’ve reported here from your encounters with the regulatory authorities.

  26. Johanna

    Not being familiar with the Evanger’s brand, I decided to look it up. On the Chewy website (https://www.chewy.com/evangers-grain-free-hand-packed-hunk/dp/32507?utm_source=bing&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=Shopping-Product%20Targets&utm_term=1100007834875&utm_content=Evanger%27s) the page actually states “Made with fresh, natural, human-grade ingredients” but I can’t see the whole can to see if this is stated on the label itself. Does anyone know if the company claims to be human-grade, and if so, this would be absolute proof of fraud since animals that have been euthanized are NOT allowed for human consumption!

    1. Susan Thixton Author

      Pet food regulations are very specific to the “human grade” claim. No pet food company is allowed to state the term “human grade” or “table grade” or anything similar on their label or their website (website is considered an extension of the label) unless all of the following is met…
      1. Ingredients are 100% human edible
      2. Supplements are 100% human edible
      3. Ingredients are transported and warehoused, finished product is transported and warehoused under human food regulation
      4. The manufacturing facility is a certified human food facility (under USDA, FDA and or inspected by local authority such as a Health Department).

      The Evangers Pet Food plant is not certified as a human food manufacturing facility – it is certified as a pet food manufacturing facility. So legally, they are not supposed to make the “human grade” claim.

      1. Johanna

        Wow, that’s what I was thinking but wasn’t sure about the status of the company. I also just went to the evangers website and found that they ARE making human-grade claims (so it’s not just a mistake on chewy’s site). You can see it here: https://evangersdogfood.com/dog-food/grain-free-hand-packed/ “Our fresh, natural and superior ingredients (no by-products) ensure quality on a human-grade level.”

  27. GG

    Does anyone, human or animal, in that house have a prescription for pentobarbital? “Pentobarbital is a short-acting barbiturate. It acts on the central nervous system to slow down activity in the brain. The medication is prescribed to treat insomnia, for sedation prior to surgery, and as an emergency treatment for seizures. Was pentobarbital used by the e-vet?

  28. Patti

    This is horrible..I signed up years ago for dog food recalls and do not remember seeing this one. Will double check it to see if they have more information..People should be made aware of it . I have a small morkie and maybe a month ago switched her over to The Honest Kitchen grain free chicken. I also bake my own whole organic chicken without any seasonings . I add a small amount , what can I say shes spoiled . This food if FDA approved if that helps anyone

  29. Terri Christenson Janson

    OMG! I usually make my dogs food but tried this very can last JUNE of 2016 for a newly adopted 11 year old that was very thin. Luckily being a very picky eater he would not touch it and I threw it out. Thank goodness!!!

  30. Ann

    Off topic — does anyone know of an organic food (dry, canned, raw) or premix for puppies? Something that’s a hundred percent organic? Thanks!

  31. Dianne & Pets

    I would like to know what exactly the term hand packed means. I can’t really see an assembly line with people carefully cutting a piece of meat to fit the can and stuffing it into the can. When I put out my recycling it has been hand sorted and hand packed into a bin so that it doesn’t fall out. It doesn’t say anything about the quality of what is put in the bin.

  32. Edi Whisler

    Man, how I wish I had seen this and all of your excellent, informative comments months ago, when the Evangers recall happened!!! But, since I don’t feed Evangers to my pets, I didn’t research into that recall. Here we are, months later, though, and Cocolicious is being recalled, also for phenobarbital in the food–SAME MANUFACTURER, as some of you astute folks pointed out months ago. I am soooooooooooooo careful in what I feed my pets, always reading the fine print, and the thing is, Cocolicious is USDA Certified Organic, human-grade, wheat-free, corn-free, filler-free, junk-free, nutrient dense: yet actually, consumers were being defrauded and animals’ lives endangered by the manufacturer, which clearly was substituting horse meat, just as in the Evangers recall that you all are (were, months ago) discussing here, as now phenobarbital has been found in Cocolicious! My question is: how the HELL does this happen with a USDA Certified Organic food like Cocolicious? That label is supposed to mean something! There should be inspections! Not only was it NOT up to organic standards, it wasn’t even beef, it was horsemeat, infused with phenobarbital. The is TOTALLY unacceptable. Evangers, that manufacturer, and all the other brands manufactured there need to be put out of business, PERIOD. “Party Animal” is acting like this is news to them and such a shock, and they are in “extensive discussions” with the manufacturer: what a load of …well, HORSE MEAT, that is: they should have been in “extensive discussions” MONTHS AGO, after this Evangers recall! They should have actually cut ties with that manufacturer after that, period.

    I am totally horrified and infuriated by this entire thing. Evangers needs to be out of business. Party Animal needs to be out of business. And the USDA need to really tighten up the standards for certified organic…which won’t happen under this current administration, that’s for sure. Our President is probably trying to do away with the USDA entirely as we speak, but I digress into the political, sorry. Meanwhile: OMG. I can’t believe that Cocolicious, which is a brand I really trusted and was the main canned food I fed my pets, is riddled with phenobarbital.

    1. Rhonda Gillespie Floyd

      Lesson is that you cannot even trust Hollywood brothers who own Party Animal to tell the truth about things like what pet food is made of. That is why I am cooking for my babies now. Lesson learned. No one except me really cares about my babies.
      If you will read some of Susan Thixton’s other articles you will see that she tells you how there are laws to prevent this, but those laws are not enforced. Just like California doesn’t enforce other laws …

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