FDA Warns Consumers NOT to Feed Evanger’s Pet Food Due to Pentobarbital Contamination

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration just released an alarming report to consumers today to NOT to feed certain Evanger’s pet food products to their pets:

“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.”

The agency continued, that in no uncertain terms, must a drug used to euthanize animals be in pet food:

“Pentobarbital is a drug that is used in animal euthanasia. It should not be in pet food and its presence as detected by the FDA in these products renders them adulterated.”

Furthermore, the agency could not assure the public that other Evanger’s or Against The Grain products did not also contain pentobarbital laced beef, adding:

“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.”

FDA also found “numerous significant violations” at both Evanger’s canning facilities in their Wheeling and Markham Illinois locations in two inspection reports that beggar belief:

“Additionally, the agency concluded an inspection of the manufacturing facilities on February 14, 2017, and noted numerous significant concerns with conditions found at both the Wheeling, IL and Markham, IL plants.”

The two FDA inspection reports reveal frankly shocking conditions at two of Evanger’s canning facilities. At the Evanger’s Wheeling, Illinois canning facility FDA inspectors observed alarming conditions, including:

  • Condensation dripping into opened cans of pet food,
  • Floors throughout the plant that are pitted, cracked, where food is exposed including open cans of pet food,
  • Peeling paint, mold on walls in areas where food is exposed,
  • Live fly-like insects,
  • Open sewers,
  • They lack operating refrigerated storage facilities where meats are held during thawing, storage, and processing,
  • Raw meat stored at ambient temperatures inside and outside their facility,
  • Open cans of beef were held at ambient temperatures for hours during processing.

At the second Evanger’s canning facility, called Nutripack, in Markham, Illinois FDA inspectors also observed numerous revolting conditions, including:

  • Condensate dripping throughout their facility,
  • Condensate dripping directly above open cans of pet food,
  • Frozen raw meat prepared on insanitary, bare, paint peeling and unprotected concrete floors,
  • Employees cutting raw chicken on untreated wooden lumber,
  • Birds resting in rafters, flying through the warehouse, and feeding on spilled pet food,
  • Floors throughout their facility are pitted, cracked, and otherwise damaged in areas where food is exposed including where pet food is processed on wooden pallets on the damaged floor.

FDA inspectors concluded that conditions at both plants deemed the previously recalled Evanger’s canned beef dog food and Against the Grain canned beef dog food products were adulterated under the Federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act, section 402 because they both contained pentobarbital, a barbiturate used to euthanize animals. Adding, that both pet foods were deemed adulterated because they had been “prepared, packed and held under insanitary conditions whereby they may have become contaminated with filth, or whereby it may have been rendered injurious to health.

Furthermore, FDA revealed that Evanger’s has been lying to consumers about their products being made only using “human-grade USDA inspected meats“, when in fact, the FDA found that their products are made using USDA inedible meat, not fit for human consumption:

“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.”

It is also important to note that the FDA made a point of remarking that their investigation is ongoing and this press release was put out as a preliminary report so as to caution to consumers who may still have this dangerous product in their homes.

The investigation will continue including a complete examination of the suppliers of beef to Evanger’s and Against the Grain to determine a possible cause for the presence of pentobarbital. However, the FDA did mention that “testing by USDA-FSIS of Evanger’s Hunk of Beef confirmed that the meat used in the product was bovine (beef),” ending speculation that the source of pentobarbital could have been the result of euthanized cats, dogs and or horses.

FDA has also asked us privately to help them locate consumers that may have had a problem with an Evanger’s pet food product and to please report it to them immediately. Consumers can find out how to do so by reading the FDA guide on reporting a problem pet food or go directly to the FDA’s Food Safety Reporting Portal or by calling an FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator in your area.


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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.

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