The FDA just provided TruthaboutPetFood.com the following statement on their ongoing investigation into Evangers Pet Food. Some very telling information from FDA…
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is advising pet owners and caretakers not to feed their pets certain lots of Evanger’s canned Hunk of Beef or Against the Grain Grain Free Pulled Beef with Gravy canned dog food after unopened cans from both brands were found to contain pentobarbital, a barbiturate.
Pentobarbital is a drug that is used in animal euthanasia. It should not be in pet food and its presence as detected by the FDA in these products renders them adulterated.
The FDA was unable to determine from available records whether any other Evanger’s or Against the Grain products made with beef contain any of the beef that went into the recalled products. Additionally, the agency concluded an inspection of the manufacturing facilities on February 14, 2017, and noted numerous significant concerns with conditions found at both the Wheeling, IL and Markham, IL plants. These are initial observations and do not represent a final agency determination regarding the firm.
Following discussions with the FDA, Evanger’s initiated a voluntary recall on February 3, 2017, of certain lots of its 12-ounce Hunk of Beef canned dog food: 1816E03HB, 1816E04HB, 1816E06HB, 1816E07HB, and 1816E13HB, all with an expiration date of June 2020.
In the course of the investigation, the FDA tested two cans of Against the Grain brand canned Grain Free Pulled Beef with Gravy dog food manufactured in the same facilities as Evanger’s products and using beef from the same supplier: these samples also tested positive for pentobarbital. On February 9, 2017, after conversations with the FDA, Against the Grain voluntarily recalled lot 2415E01ATB12 BEST DEC 2019 of this product. The company issued a public notice about its recall on February 13, 2017. To date, the FDA is not aware of any pet illnesses associated with the Against the Grain product.
The FDA began investigating Evanger’s Dog & Cat Food Company Inc. when it learned about five dogs in a single household that suffered acute neurological symptoms shortly after eating the product. One dog was euthanized after secondary complications, and three others recovered after receiving veterinary care. One of the dogs treated remains on seizure medication, and the fifth dog that ate the least amount of food recovered with time.
The stomach contents of the deceased dog and an open can of the product were tested by an FDA Veterinary Laboratory Investigation and Response Network lab, and unopened cans of the product from the pet owner and retailer that sold the products (from the same production lot), were tested by FDA’s lab. All of the samples tested positive for pentobarbital.
In its recent press release announcing a limited product recall, Evanger’s Dog & Cat Food Company, Inc. stated that the beef for its Hunk of Beef product came from a “USDA approved” supplier. However, the FDA reviewed a bill of lading from Evanger’s supplier of “Inedible Hand Deboned Beef – For Pet Food Use Only. Not Fit For Human Consumption” and determined that the supplier’s facility does not have a grant of inspection from the United States Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service. The meat products from this supplier do not bear the USDA inspection mark and would not be considered human grade. USDA-FSIS regulates slaughter of animals for human consumption only. Testing by USDA-FSIS of Evanger’s Hunk of Beef confirmed that the meat used in the product was bovine (beef).
The investigation by the FDA is ongoing and includes examination of the suppliers of beef to Evanger’s and Against the Grain to determine a possible cause for the presence of pentobarbital. The FDA is also coordinating with the USDA to address any possible areas of shared jurisdiction at the suppliers.
Oral exposure to pentobarbital can cause drowsiness, dizziness, excitement, loss of balance, nausea, nystagmus (eyes moving back and forth in a jerky manner), inability to stand, coma and death. Consumers who notice these symptoms in their pets should consult their veterinarian.
Consumers with cans of product subject to the facilities’ voluntary recalls should refer to the firms’ respective press releases for information about returning the product.
More from FDA – inspection of Evangers Pet Food plants report:
The FDA inspected both Evangers Pet Food plants and “noted numerous significant concerns with conditions found at both the Wheeling, IL and Markham, IL plants.” When you read those inspection reports you learn that FDA found…
Wheeling, Illinois Evangers plant…(only highlights of the report)…
- “Condensate dripped throughout your processing facility from the building framing, ceiling, walls, and from tarps suspended above food processing areas, including condensate dripping directly into open cans of the in-process low-acid canned dog food product Hunk of Beef, and also into multiple open totes of raw meats…”
- “You lack operating refrigerated storage facilities or other means of controlling the temperature exposure of raw meats during thawing, storage, and processing.”
Markham, IL Evangers plant…(highlights)…
- “Frozen raw meats for processing are prepared while having direct contact with the insanitary, bare, paint peeting and unprotected concrete floor of the processing facility.”
- “On 1/31/2017 employees were observed cutting raw chicken parts on untreated wooden building construction lumber.”
- “The floors throughout your processing facility are pitted, cracked, and otherwise damaged causing pooled water in areas where food is exposed including where open cans of in-process Cooked Chicken Loaf and Hand Packed Chicken dog food are staged on a wooden pallet immediately upon the damaged floor.”
One of the most significant statements from FDA (part of the full press release above)…(bold added)…
In its recent press release announcing a limited product recall, Evanger’s Dog & Cat Food Company, Inc. stated that the beef for its Hunk of Beef product came from a “USDA approved” supplier. However, the FDA reviewed a bill of lading from Evanger’s supplier of “Inedible Hand Deboned Beef – For Pet Food Use Only. Not Fit For Human Consumption” and determined that the supplier’s facility does not have a grant of inspection from the United States Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service. The meat products from this supplier do not bear the USDA inspection mark and would not be considered human grade.
When Evanger’s Pet Food announced the first recall on February 3, 2017 the recall notice included the following statement:
“All Evanger’s suppliers of meat products are USDA approved. This beef supplier provides us with beef chunks from cows that are slaughtered in a USDA facility.”
In other words – per FDA’s disclosure that the beef used in Evangers Hunk of Beef product DID NOT come from a facility that is even inspected by USDA (never the less the meat itself being human grade as Evangers claims – see below) – the Evanger’s recall notice lied to consumers.
Those that follow this website might recall a statement from FDA that was shared. When TruthaboutPetFood.com asked FDA for an update on the investigation, on 2/9/17 FDA provided the following (excerpt)…
“Please note that the press release that came out on Friday was drafted by the company, not the FDA.”
At the time of this response from FDA, I felt it was very telling the FDA underlined the word “not”. As it turns out, the FDA was sending us a little message. The agency must have known on 2/9 that the Evangers ‘human grade’ claim was false.
And Evangers also made/makes the ‘Human Grade’ claim on their website. Anticipating a change of heart in Evangers Human Grade claim, a screen shot image of their ‘About our Products’ website page was taken on 1/30/2017…
Today – 2/17/17 – the same ‘About our Products’ website page makes a similar Human Grade claim (but it has been altered some since 1/30/17)…
To be perfectly clear…
Evangers Pet Food lied to consumers…multiple times.
Thank you FDA for this update and for the inspection reports. Consumers appreciate your investigation into Evangers Pet Food. We hope you continue to keep us updated.
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
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