Evanger’s Misleading Claims, Misplaced Blame and Other Pet Food Lies

Like so many other pet food companies that lie with abandon and take consumers for a ride day in and day out, Evanger’s is distinctive in one respect, somehow they manage – with alarming frequency – to sink below their counterparts by continuing to lie so blatantly about their pet food despite all evidence to the contrary.


Without accepting any responsibility, and in a classic case of misdirection, Evanger’s places the blame for all of their recent problems for their pentobarbital laced pet food squarely at the feet of their meat supplier:

“The guilty party has turned out to be one of our most trusted meat suppliers. A USDA-APHIS inspected supplier who we had done business with for over 40 years…”

…A statement that is in complete contradiction of a recent U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announcement that stated Evanger’s meat was not inspected by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The FDA pointed out that not only was Evanger’s meat not USDA approved or inspected – it wasn’t “human-grade” either – two dishonest claims made by Evanger’s that the FDA sought to correct:

“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.”

Oddly, sometime over the weekend, Evanger’s changed their ‘About Our Products‘ web page by taking out the term “human-grade” in reference to the quality of their products. Now the web page merely claims they only utilize “USDA inspected” meats in their pet foods, leaving the dubious USDA claim presumably for the purposes of misleading consumers.






The Evanger’s go on to incredulously blame the FDA for “allowing drugs like pentobarbital to enter the raw material stream and contaminate our pets’ food and endanger their lives;” while telling consumers they are leading the fight to “force the FDA to put an end to” what they describe as a deficiency in the legal system that allowed their misfortunes to occur.

This is despite the recent FDA warning consumers against feeding Evanger’s pet food, where inspectors found Evanger’s canning facilities in Markham and Wheeling, Illinois in shambles. The inspection reports reveal such grisly details as: the Evanger’s did not have any operating refrigerated storage facilities inside or outside their plants, where they witnessed employees cutting meat on untreated lumber, where open cans of unprocessed pet food were left out for hours, and where birds fly around and roost inside the facility over open cans of pet food.


Instead of expressing genuine concern and embarrassment for their mistakes, they try to limit the damage by including other companies recent pet food recalls in with their own distress. Instead, they say they’re “angry”:

“You’ve undoubtedly heard about the many voluntary pet food recalls that have occurred during this past week from Wellpet, Blue Buffalo, Companion Dog, and Grreat Choice, as well as from our company…The Evanger’s family, like many families, is, also, incredibly angry and upset by the recalls of the past week. However, it’s not for the reason you may think. We’re angry because we let you and your pets down…”

Anger, to me, seems such an inappropriate reaction. A normal response would be a healthy expression of genuine shame and contrition.

Instead, they have said their most important goal is to “continue to work hard every day to re-earn your trust.

But, somehow, I don’t think that trust will ever be won again. I don’t think consumers should ever place their trust, their confidence, or their pet’s health in the hands of a company that cannot openly and honestly admit that they made a horrible mistake.


It was only when a sweet little pug named Talula died after eating just a few mouthfuls of Evanger’s pentobarbital laced dog food that they thought to test their pet food. Insisting that they faithfully conducted “a plethora of specialized tests…all of which came up negative,” a plethora of tests that only amounted to a handful of tests, and yet, strangely, not a single test was performed to detect for the presence of chemicals such as pentobarbital.


I don’t expect this is the last we’ve heard about Evanger’s. I suspect as more American’s learn about Evanger’s and wonder if Evanger’s pet food might contain a deadly poison, and more customers report problems they’ve had with their food to the FDA, I hope that what consumers recall is the memory of the lovable pug named Talula who just might just be eventually responsible for single-handedly taking down a dishonest pet food company.


The FDA has briefed its Consumer Complaint Coordinators on the Evanger’s situation and urges pet owners and veterinarians to report any concerns via the agency’s How to Report a Pet Food Complaint web page. The agency is especially interested in cases where the dog received a veterinary work-up and the owners still have cans of food available for testing by FDA, in which case veterinarians are urged to report such problems to the FDA via the federal Safety Reporting Portal.

Symptoms of 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.

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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.