Petful has learned that Evanger’s will be issuing an additional recall soon because of pentobarbital concerns.
In an exclusive interview today, we learned that all of the company’s foods containing “chunk beef” will be recalled, according to Joel Sher, co-owner of Evanger’s Dog & Cat Food Co. He said the company was doing this out of an abundance of caution.
Previously, the recall was limited to just 5 specific lots of Evanger’s Hunk of Beef Au Jus canned dog food. Today, Sher indicated that, just to be on the safe side, the company plans to extend that recall to all Hunk of Beef products. It is not clear what other Evanger’s products, if any, use chunk beef, but the company has previously stated that only Hunk of Beef uses the specific cut of beef for which testing by the Food and Drug Administration found pentobarbital in unopened cans.
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Pentobarbital is a common euthanasia drug for animals. According to the FDA, the drug “can affect animals that ingest it, and possibly cause side effects such as drowsiness, dizziness, excitement, loss of balance or nausea, or in extreme cases, possibly death.” At least 1 dog has died, and several others were injured, after apparently consuming Hunk of Beef.
Hunk of Beef is Evanger’s No. 1-selling pet food, with more than 1 million cans per year sold.
No other details are known about the new recall. Evanger’s hasn’t posted an update to its Facebook page since Feb. 14. We will update this article when we learn more.
Also in the interview today, Joel Sher maintained that all of Evanger’s meat comes from USDA-approved plants. This despite a bombshell announcement from the FDA late last week claiming it had documented evidence that Evanger’s supplier was providing meat that was “inedible” and “not fit for human consumption.”
“The meat products from this supplier do not bear the USDA inspection mark and would not be considered human grade,” the federal agency wrote in a letter of caution released Feb. 17.
Sher’s response: “The FDA is covering their butts.”
Over the weekend, Evanger’s removed the phrase “human-grade” from its “About Our Products” page on its website. (Here is an archived version. An even earlier version, from last year, had the phrase “completely human-grade.”)
The fact that Evanger’s promoted allegedly “not fit for human” pet food as being “human-grade” and “People Food for Pets” — a phrase that the company went so far as to trademark — could put the company in hot water with the Federal Trade Commission. “Evanger’s practice could result in allegations of false or deceptive advertising,” according to Food Safety News.
In an article published earlier today, Petful reported that, despite 82 years without recalls, Evanger’s has had a decade’s worth of problems leading up to this month’s shocking recall. Also recalled recently: specific lots of dog food from the company’s associated brand, Against the Grain.
Evanger’s has 2 other suppliers in addition to the one — since fired — that provided the pentobarbital-positive meat. Sher says he isn’t sure if the issue is a common trend among suppliers or if it was specific only to the one they fired.
“There may have been animals all along that were affected [by consuming pentobarbital in their food] and their owners may not have realized it was the food and didn’t call to report it,” he said.
In the interview with Petful, Sher seemed to express exasperation that Evanger’s now has half a million dollars’ worth of inventory coming back into the company’s warehouse because of the recalls.
Petful publisher Dave Baker contributed to this report. We’ll be continuing to follow this story as it develops.
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