Evanger’s Expands Recall, Denies Pentobarbital Killed Dog

After much foot-dragging and prodding by the FDA, Evanger’s finally posted a press release March 3rd on the FDA’s website, regarding an expanded recall which includes all of their chuck-style canned dog foods due to possible contamination with a deadly drug, pentobarbital.

When the FDA became aware that Evanger’s Dog and Cat Food was notifying its distributors and retailers of a new recall without notifying consumers, despite a promise to the FDA to do so on February 20th, the FDA took it upon themselves to post the information March 2nd, in an update without Evanger’s cooperation.

Evanger’s latest press release was virtually a duplication of the letter sent to Evanger’s distributors which expanded to include all of its hand packed chunks of beef style canned pet foods due to possible contamination with pentobarbital.

The two previously recalled pet foods, Evanger’s canned Hunk of Beef and Against the Grain’s Grain Free Pulled Beef with Gravy canned dog foods, now included an additional recall for a third canned dog food called Evanger’s Braised Beef Chunks with Gravy.

The pentobarbital laced canned dog food was originally recalled after four Pugs became violently ill and one eventually had to be euthanized after the four dogs shared a portion of a single 12 oz. can of Evanger’s Hunk of Beef dog food, later found by the FDA to be contaminated with the deadly drug.

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 immediately.


In the latest press release, Evanger’s noted the recall affects only its “Hand Packed Beef Products,” specifically, the 12 oz. cans of dog foods that are being 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: 20109
  • Evanger’s: Braised Beef: 20107
  • Against the Grain: Pulled Beef: 80001

The three products being recalled were manufactured between December 2015 and January 2017, and have expiration dates of December 2019 through January 2021.”

Full details of the expanded recall of Evanger’s Pet Food and Against the Grain canned dog food due to adulteration with pentobarbital can viewed on the FDA’s website.

FDA continues to encourage consumers to report problems with Evanger’s products through the Safety Reporting Portal or by contacting a Consumer Complaint Coordinator. Please retain empty cans or partially used cans of food to facilitate the collection of specific lot number information. Additional information is available on the FDA web page, How to Report a Pet Food Complaint.


In Evanger’s continued campaign to attempt to persuade the public of their innocence, described as an effort to be fully transparent with consumers, they published an update on February 3rd, in which a number of mostly unnamed canned dog foods from undisclosed lots tested negative for pentobarbital from an undisclosed laboratory. They explain:

“As promised, Evanger’s sent in many samples of its products for testing. The first batch of results were shared with us today. Due to the social media attention this topic has received, the third-party ISO 17025 accredited lab has respectfully requested to remain anonymous.”

Although they explain the samples sent for testing include its “Signature Series Slow Cooked Beef Stew, Grain Free Beef 6 oz, Classic Beef and Bacon, and a series of Hunk of Beef,” it is unclear from the document what the names of the other eight dog foods tested were as they were simply labelled only as “Dog food.”

The heavily redacted document, Evangers Pentobarbital test results, can be downloaded from their Pug family updates web page.


Throughout the Evanger scandal, in which the owners of Evanger’s continually deny responsibility, the most horrifying denial came to light during an interview in Pet Food Industry Magazine over the issue regarding the Pug that died after being fed Evanger’s pentobarbital laced dog food. In it, Joel Sher, the vice-president of Evanger’s, noted that “the adulterated pet food didn’t technically kill the Pug“:

“The one that didn’t survive was a 13- or 14-year-old Pug that had some health issues,” said Sher. “The decision was made to euthanize the fourth Pug.”

Normally, I don’t editorialize what my personal feelings are, but in this instance, I am compelled to make an exception. The statement by Joel Sher is the most despicable denial Evanger’s has made to date. It is utterly astonishing to me how his denial is so complete that he is unable to admit that it was his company’s contaminated dog food that was directly responsible for the death of that poor dog.

More than that, that he would be insensitive enough to make such a damning admission public – knowing his pet food tested positive for a lethal drug – is beyond all comprehension. Therefore, it is my belief that this company is devoid of all humanity and has no place being in the pet food industry.


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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.

Comments (9) Write a comment

  1. Pingback: Deadly Drug Found in Dog Food; Smucker's Gravy Train Contaminated with Pentobarbital. | Poisoned Pets | Pet Food Safety News

  2. Even this blog site is misinformed since you also are a consumer not know the truth if it bit you in the face. Your articles is of your opinions and of only of selective facts. Do you believe all foods not just pet foods should be safe? Let us look at the source foods for humans? Do you recall lettuce being pulled from the market several years ago? Do you now eat lettuce? Do you recall tomatoes being pulled from the market over 5 years ago? Do you now eat tomatoes? So some of you are making your own foods for your pets where do you get your meats from and have you sourced it back to the rancher? There will always be a mishap on a brand or USDA or FDA will approve a product for humans or pets but in time the truth of that product may come out and bite you in the face. Our wonderful FDA approved flea & tick spot on treatments with Flidinol knowing back in 1976 that it causes cancer, how many of you use that on your pets???


  3. Is their plant going to be shut down? After all they’ve done, this is the worst. How could they legally be allowed to produce food anymore? I just don’t understand the reasoning for allowing these heartless SOBs to continue manufacturing dog food


  4. I agree that they have no feeling for pets or their owners. Pets are like children would these people feed this food to their children or grand children.


  5. This is horrible !! I WON’T feed my dogs commercial dog food anymore ! I make their own ! I hope these people are punished to the max !!


  6. These people (Evangers) obviously have no feelings or compassion for the pets that they make food for. There’s no question that I would never feed my dogs or any other dogs this poison laced crap. to make a mistake is one thing but to deny it and show no compassion for the poor pets that it harms or kills should be a crime punishable by making them (Evangers’ owners) eat their own dog food! God,that makes me furious!!!


  7. Your conclusion, that “this company is devoid of all humanity and has no place being in the pet food industry” is shared by this reader, and likely many others.


    • It wasn’t an easy thing to say, but after that comment by Joel Sher – I felt sick.

      I can only imagine what that poor woman Mikki Mael (the woman who’s pugs were poisoned) must have felt when she read it. For her sake alone he should have never said it even if privately he felt that way. But he couldn’t even manage to be decent.

      I waver between wanting to strangle him to wanting to cry.



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