Evanger’s Pet Food is recalling additional lots of pet food. The following statement was sent to retailers this evening (2/28/17).
Dear Distributors and Retailers:
You’ve undoubtedly heard about the many voluntary pet food recalls that have occurred during the past two weeks. You may have had some of the recalled foods on your shelves in your desire to serve your customer’s four-legged children only the healthiest, safest, and most nutritious food on the market.
We are aware that these recalls have caused a great deal of justified concern, mistrust, and anger among pet owners and pet food retailers.
The Evanger’s family, like many families, is also incredibly angry and upset by these recalls.
We’re angry not only because we let you down; but we’re furious that we allowed ourselves to be lied to and deceived by the supplier responsible for introducing pentobarbital into our meat supply
Sadly, this company was once one of our most trusted meat suppliers. But they are solely responsible for the pentobarbital-tainted meat found in some cans of Evanger’s Hunk of Beef and Against the Grain Pulled Beef.
We of course immediately fired this unscrupulous supplier, and have undertaken steps to address this matter in a lawsuit on behalf of our customers and retailers
Furthermore, to ensure the future safety, peace of mind, and well-being of our two legged and four-legged customers, out of an abundance of caution we have decided to issue an immediate recall of the products in which this supplier’s meat may have been used
The 12 oz. cans of dog foods being voluntarily recalled have the following barcodes. The numbers listed below are the second half of the barcode, which can be found on the back of the product label:
Evanger’s: Hunk of Beef: Item # 776155
Evanger’s: Braised Beef: Item # 776150
Against the Grain: Pulled Beef: Item # 776107
The three products being voluntarily recalled were manufactured between December 2015 and January 2017, and have expiration dates of December 2019 through January 2021. These products were distributed online and through independent boutique pet stores nationwide.
To-date, Evanger’s and Against the Grain have not received any reports of illnesses, outside of the previously recalled products.Any consumer that still has this product on hand should return the cans or cases to the retailer where purchased for a full refund or replacement of product. Retailers must return the product to the distributor they purchased it from and distributors are required to quarantine all products with the enclosed lot numbers.Full details on how to process product returns are attached.This recall should be carried out to the consumer level.We are asking for your assistance and that this is done expeditiously. Thank you for your help and partnership.Please complete and return the enclosed response form to your distributor as soon as possible.If you have any questions, call us at 847-537-0102, or contact your Evanger’s sales representative.We will work diligently every day to re-earn your trust. We will continue to provide updates on the status of our voluntary recall, and pending litigation against our former supplier.Sincerely,The Sher Family
Q: Why are you issuing another recall?A: This recall is not based on lab tests or any complaints. This was issued because we’ve learned that our supplier let us down on at least one occasion, and we need to be 100 percent confident in the safety and quality of our foods. The forthcoming voluntary recall covers products that this supplier’s raw materials may have gone into.Q: What products are affected?A: Three products: Hunk of Beef, Braised Beef Chunks with Gravy, and Against the Grain Pulled Beef.Q: What is Evanger’s doing to make sure this never happens again:A:
1) Evanger’s is re-vetting all of its current suppliers, and each supplier will be required to sign a letter of guarantee that fiscally ties them to ensuring the product we receive is the product we ordered.
2) Evanger’s has purchased pentobarbital test kits so that it can test all beef raw materials at its unloading dock.
3) Evanger’s will continue random periodic testing for pentobarbital in its products.Q: How do we know the other beef products are safe?A: The contaminated beef has been traced back and isolated to one supplier. The other beef products came from other suppliers. We are spot testing their products as well, but have no reason to believe they have violated our contracts. Some tests for other loaf style beef products have already been completed and have come back negative for pentobarbital.Q: Why did Evanger’s test for horsemeat?A: Evanger’s has been making Hunk of Beef since 2002 without incident. There were missing pieces in the puzzle as to why these pugs got sick. When pentobarbital popped up, we did heavy research and found that it is not common practice to euthanize cows, but it is common practice to euthanize horses. Things just weren’t adding up, and we wanted answers.Q: If the FDA tested negative for horsemeat, why did you publish your test results?A: Evanger’s knew the announcement about horsemeat would have a negative impact, but felt transparency was best. We felt the right thing to do was to come out and tell the public of our findings, even though the FDA’s findings detected only beef.Q: Whose fault is this?A: Our name is on the label, so it’s our fault. However, we were deceived by our supplier who is responsible for introducing pentobarbital into our meat supply.Q: Why hasn’t the supplier been named?A: The FDA is investigating the supplier, and we are taking legal action against them.Q: Is it true that the beef supplier was not USDA inspected?A: No, that is not true. FDA investigators questioned the USDA FSIS inspection status of the supplier on 2/8/2017. FDA was advised that the supplier is not inspected by USDA-FSIS, but by USDA-APHIS as it specifically processes meat for pet foods, and was shown the USDA-APHIS number of the supplier, which is also on every pallet that comes in from the supplier and on their bills of lading and invoices. The investigators were unaware that another USDA branch that covers pet food existed. This fact was ignored in the FDA’s press release.Q: Why did the FDA say they couldn’t verify in which products the beef went into in their press release?A: We do not know. The inspectors asked in which products the meat is used, and were told that in the specific lot that was recalled, only Hunk of Beef was made. They were also told that we use this supplier’s beef for three products: Hunk of Beef, Braised Beef Chunks with Gravy, and Against the Grain Pulled Beef. Any records that were requested were given to the FDA, and all records were available to them, if they asked.Q: Are you the only pet food company that purchases from this supplier?A: No, we know that there are at least two high-quality premium brands that purchase from this supplier.Q: What changes will Evanger’s make going forward/what is the silver lining?A: In addition to the testing mentioned above, Evanger’s has started a campaign in an ongoing effort to have the FDA put an end to allowing pentobarbital into pet food. There should have been a zero tolerance policy for pentobarbital when the FDA discovered it in pet foods in 1998, and there should be a zero tolerance policy now.Q: Why did this happen with Hunk of Beef?A: Hunk of Beef is a very unique product. Any of the natural (or unnatural) elements of the beef are in the can. Any pathogens are killed in the heat sterilization process, but because it is ONE INGREDIENT and not mixed with anything else, the product was more exposed than any blended product would have been.Q: The FDA previously allowed pentobarbital in pet food?A: To our dismay, yes. The FDA did two studies on pentobarbital in pet food. In 1998, of about 100 pet foods tested, about 50 contained pentobarbital. In 2001, the FDA did a follow-up study performed by the Center of Veterinary Medicine. They injected 10 Beagles for eight weeks at double the amount of pentobarbital that was present in the pet foods. The Beagles showed no adverse reactions, so the FDA determined the amount of pentobarbital typically found in a pet food, if present, is considered safe. The FDA did no long-term studies on the effects of those foods. The FDA probably never expected an innovative product like Hunk of Beef to come along.Q: What should stores do with the recalled product?A: Please return the recalled product to your distributor for credit. The upcoming recall is for the three Hand Packed beef products with a December 2019 expiration date or later.Q: Has the FDA ever posted a second press release after a recall press release has already been issued?A: On very rare occasions the FDA will issue a second press release, but the FDA has never released an “editorial” as it did with Evangers.Q: The FDA wrote that there were “serious issues” at the facilities. Is this true?A: Evanger’s has responded officially to the FDA about these comments. In some instances the investigators made observations without full knowledge of the operations of the firm, and other observations were made which are not true. Evanger’s was not issued any violations as a result of the inspection.An example of an untrue observation is that an inspector saw cracks in our floor. The “cracks” were actually expansion joints that are put into all new floors to prevent cracking.Q: Was there condensation dripping into the cans like the FDA reported?A: NO. There was condensation in areas of the plant because the temperature in Chicago was 35 degrees, then jumped to 57 degrees the following day. Since we manufacture using steam, the steam combined with the extreme temperature swing caused condensation. However, no condensation would have or could have entered any of our raw materials or in-process product because all materials are covered and protected at all times.Q: Was there pooling water in the plant?A: NO. We use over 20,000 gallons of water per day and water is never stagnant in our facility. Water is frequently used and flowing during cleanup and sanitation procedures which happen throughout the day.Q: Was a fly really observed?A: There are no flies in Illinois in winter.