What’s Up With All the Pet Food Recalls Lately?

No, you’re not imagining things: There have been a lot of pet food recalls this month. Here’s what’s going on.

Months’ worth of pet food recalls in just 2 weeks’ time. By: Graham Oliver

If it seems like practically every other day there’s some new head-turning pet food recall announcement turning up in your social media feed — well, that’s because there is.

In the last half of 2016, we had a grand total of 4 dog or cat food recalls. But now, in just 16 days of February, we’ve already been deluged with 7 pet food recall announcements. Honestly, we’ve never sent out so many email alerts in such a short span of time.

It gets worse. We suspect there will be even more recalls to come over the next few weeks.

Here’s what’s going on. There are basically 2 different events that are causing recalls right now:

Recall Event #1: Metal/Foreign Material

All of the pet foods in this grouping were manufactured at the same place: the Simmons Pet Food canning facility. If a contaminant got into one brand’s cans one day, then it also might have gotten into other brands’ cans that day.

Recent recalls for this reason:

Recall Event #2: Pentobarbital

OK, this is the truly frightening one. I got goosebumps when I first heard about it earlier this month. Somehow, meat containing pentobarbital — a powerful euthanasia drug — may have made its way into some pet food.

One dog died after reportedly eating some of the food. His stomach contents contained pentobarbital, according to lab tests. Additional tests on the food itself are underway.

Obviously, all of this is quite concerning. Thankfully, the issue seems to be very limited. The FDA is still investigating, so we’ll have to wait for more information.

Recent recalls for this reason:

Against the Grain Pulled Beef With Gravy Dinner. (Via Facebook)

Here at Petful, we wrote an article discussing how pentobarbital could possibly get into the pet food, as well as a timeline of events leading up to the first Evanger’s recall.

“This is a very challenging time, but we welcome any opportunity to connect and offer transparency and information,” Evanger’s spokesperson Erin Terjensen told Petful earlier this month. The company blames the potentially contaminated meat on a beef supplier and “a lack of regulation.”

I suspect this isn’t the last time we’ll be seeing pentobarbital in the news again in the coming days, because Evanger’s manufactures food for a number of other brands. More recalls may follow. We’ll be watching this story closely.

Next week, we’ll take a look at some of the other pet food companies whose food is made by Evanger’s, and we’ll ask them what they’re doing to make sure their food isn’t tainted. We’re also planning a deeper dive into Evanger’s history.

Stay Up to Date on Recalls

If you’ve not signed up to receive Petful’s email newsletter and recall alerts, do yourself a favor and subscribe now. It’s a free service, and you’ll know about pet food recalls as soon as we find out about them.

Meanwhile, you can check out the complete recall history for nearly 300 brands of pet food on our website. We spent months putting together this comprehensive resource for our readers, and we continue to add to it regularly.

Dave Baker

View posts by Dave Baker
Dave Baker, founder and publisher of Petful, is a journalist and editor who has worked at The New York Times and The Nation magazine. He was also part of the 2006 Pulitzer Prize–winning team at The Times-Picayune newspaper of New Orleans. After the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, he moved to Brooklyn, New York, where Petful is now based. A longtime advocate for pet food safety, Dave has been passionately tracking pet food recalls for the past 10-plus years, and more than 30,000 pet parents are subscribed to his recall alerts — which often arrive faster than even the recall alerts put out by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Learn more about Dave and the rest of the Petful team here: Meet the Team.


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