Evanger’s Admits Horse Meat Found in Pet Food; Plans to Recall All Pet Foods with Beef for Pentobarbital Concerns

If you thought things could get any worse for Evanger’s – it just did. Joel Sher, the vice president of the company, admitted to a reporter that DNA analysis found horse meat in their pet food, saying when the company sent the food out for DNA analysis

“the results showed beef, as well as horse DNA.”

The testing was ordered by Evanger’s after a dog died and several others were sickened from complications caused by the presence of pentobarbital in their canned dog food, a drug typically used by veterinarians to euthanize animals.

The results are surprising considering the FDA also conducted species analysis testing on the implicated pet food and they confirmed it was indeed beef and no other species. The FDA said in a statement:

“Testing by USDA-FSIS of Evanger’s Hunk of Beef confirmed that the meat used in the product was bovine (beef).”

In another admission on another website, Joel Sher also confessed that the company plans to recall all Evanger’s pet food products containing chunks of beef. The article explains,

“…all of the company’s foods containing “chunk beef” will be recalled, according to Joel Sher, owner of Evanger’s Dog & Cat Food Co…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 unclear, at this point, which brands with beef or “chunks” of beef will be recalled. A search of Evanger’s website revealed it’s Hunk of Beef style pet food products are no longer sold on their website.

It is also unclear whether the reason for the pending recalls will be for adulteration with horse meat or fears that other brands may also contain pentobarbital or both.

This news that other Evanger’s brands are in the process of being recalled is not particularly surpising considering the FDA could not confidently say whether other brands did not also contain the deadly drug. They stated that:

“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.”

After speaking with Mr. Sher today I was told that detailed information regarding horse meat and the other brands they plan to recall will be in a forthcoming press release which he indicated the company plans to publish later today.

This news comes on the heels of an alarming FDA warning consumers not feed certain lots of Evanger’s pet food to their animals do to pentobarbital contamination. The press release cautioned:

“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.”

Hold on to your seats, it looks like we’re in for a bumpy ride.


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Mollie Morrissette

Mollie Morrissette, the author of Poisoned Pets, is an animal food safety expert and consumer advisor. Help support her work by making a donation today.