Smucker’s Admits Deadly Drug in Pet Food, Euthanasia Drug Found in Cat and Dog Food

J. M. Smucker confirms there is a euthanasia drug in the animal fat they used in their dog food brands Gravy Train, Kibbles & Bits, Ol’ Roy and Skippy, according to an FDA news report. Since the verification of tests on the affected dog food, the agency reclassified Smucker’s silent withdrawal to an official recall.

The agency is telling consumers that they are continuing their investigation and that they have, “collected finished product samples for testing that is currently pending.”

According to an update from Smucker’s Friday, the company claims that pentobarbital-laced animal fat was sourced from either a cow, a chicken or a pig, “which are common sources in pet food.” They also claim that “DNA tests ruled out the presence of six other animals: cats, dogs, horses, lambs, goats, and turkeys.”

I don’t know what planet Smucker’s is on, but in the United States, it is illegal to slaughter livestock with drugs. There are only four methods of slaughter allowed, and that is by carbon dioxide, captive bolt, gunshot, and stunning or slaughtering with electric current.

That’s it.

And just because cows, chickens, and pigs are “common sources in pet food,” it does not mean they can have sodium pentobarbital in them.


When Talula, an adorable pug owned by Nikki Mael, died after eating Evanger’s pentobarbital-laced dog food, ABC7 News decided to test popular brands of pet food for the same drug. What they found stunned them: Gravy Train, the iconic brand of American dog food, “repeatedly came back positive for pentobarbital,” ABC7 News wrote.

When Smucker’s got wind of the story, they quietly began what’s known as a “silent recall.” It’s a sneaky, underhanded way of making a contaminated pet food vanish from store shelves without consumers or the government knowing about it.

But, fortunately, when the FDA got wind of it, they began alerting pet parents about the potential pentobarbital contamination. While testing was pending, the FDA, agreed to let Smucker’s, “withdraw products from the marketplace because it was the quickest way to remove potentially adulterated product.”


When Smucker’s was notified by ABC7 of the drug-laced Gravy Train canned dog food, the company started a “silent recall.” Although Smucker’s eventually posted a notice on their corporate website, because Smucker’s did not issue a press release, the FDA was under no obligation to withdraw of Smucker’s tainted product.

However, in this case, the agency took the unusual step of warning consumers about the contaminated products.

At this point, the agency’s preliminary evaluation of the test results shows that “the low level of pentobarbital present in the withdrawn products is unlikely to pose a health risk to pets,” which classifies the product as one with the lowest level of hazard involved: a Class III Recall.

The list of withdrawn products the firm provided to the FDA include:

  • Gravy Train with T-Bone Flavor Chunks, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 7910052541
  • Gravy Train with Beef Strips, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 791052542
  • Gravy Train with Lamb & Rice Chunks, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 7910052543
  • Gravy Train with Chicken Chunks, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 7910034418
  • Gravy Train with Beef Chunks, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 7910034417
  • Gravy Train with Chicken Chunks, 22-ounce can, UPC 7910051645
  • Gravy Train with Beef Chunks, 22-ounce can, UPC 7910051647
  • Gravy Train Chunks in Gravy with Beef Chunks, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 7910034417
  • Kibbles ‘N Bits 12-can Variety Pack – Chef’s Choice American Grill Burger Dinner with Real Bacon & Cheese Bits in Gravy, Chef’s Choice Bistro Tender Cuts with Real Turkey Bacon & Vegetables in Gravy, 12 pack of 13.2-ounce cans, UPC 7910010377, 7910010378
  • Kibbles ‘N Bits 12-Can Variety Pack – Chef’s Choice Bistro Hearty Cuts with Real Beef, Chicken & Vegetables in Gravy, Chef’s Choice Homestyle Meatballs & Pasta Dinner with Real Beef in Tomato Sauce, 12 pack of 13.2-ounce cans, UPC 7910010382, 7910048367, 7910010378
  • Kibbles ‘N Bits 12-Can Variety Pack – Chef’s Choice Homestyle Tender Slices with Real Beef, Chicken & Vegetables in Gravy, Chef’s Choice American Grill Burger Dinner with Real Bacon & Cheese Bits in Gravy, Chef’s Choice Bistro Tender Cuts with Real Beef & Vegetables in Gravy, 12 pack of 13.2-ounce cans, UPC 7910010380, 7910010377, 7910010375
  • Kibbles ‘N Bits Chef’s Choice Bistro Tender Cuts with Real Beef & Vegetables in Gravy, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 7910010375
  • Kibbles ‘N Bits Chef’s Choice Bistro Tender Cuts with Real Turkey, Bacon & Vegetables in Gravy, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 7910010378
  • Kibbles ‘N Bits Chef’s Choice Homestyle Tender Slices with Real Beef, Chicken & Vegetables in Gravy, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 7910010380
  • Ol’ Roy Strips Turkey Bacon, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 8113117570
  • Skippy Premium Chunks in Gravy Chunky Stew, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 79100502469
  • Skippy Premium Chunks in Gravy with Beef, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 7910050250
  • Skippy Premium Strips in Gravy with Beef, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 7910050245

The withdrawn products were distributed to retailers nationwide.

Just so you know, there is a bit of a mixup as to which products are being withdrawn from the market, because the list on the FDA website doesn’t jive with the information Food Safety News obtained directly from the company. FDA has not yet resolved this discrepancy, an agency spokesperson reported to Food Safety News.

Because of the mixup, the agency is requesting Smucker’s for “a comprehensive list of withdrawn products, regardless of when they were produced.” The agency promises to share more information as it becomes available.


You’d think that a mega-manufacturer of some of America’s best-known brands would be concerned about their customers, particularly those with pets, but, judging by their less-than-fabulous response, it doesn’t appear that they do.

Had Smucker’s issued a press release, told the FDA that they found pentobarbital in their product, put a notice on their consumer website, they would have been doing what any thoughtful, responsible company would do.

Instead, they hid their problems by quietly removing their contaminated products from stores and took down their Big Heart Pet Brand website. In fact, when you try going to Big Heart Pet Brand’s website for information, you’ll be immediately redirected to Smucker’s corporate website.

Perhaps you should carefully consider their actions before buying any one of Smucker’s owned products for you or your pet.

I certainly will.

In case you’re wondering what other brands Smucker’s owned Big Heart Brands, I’ve got a list for you:

Meow Mix, Milk-Bone, Kibbles’n Bits, 9 Lives, Natural Balance, Pup-Peroni, Gravy Train, Nature’s Recipe, Canine Carry Outs, Milo’s Kitchen, Alley Cat, Jerky Treats, Meaty Bone, Pounce and Snausages among many others.

But don’t try going to their website to get information about their brands, because their website doesn’t exist anymore. So, what does that tell you?

Smucker's Big Heart Brands

Smucker's Big Heart Brands  CONTACTING SMUCKER’S

Consumers who purchased the impacted product can call the Company at 800-828-9980, Monday through Friday 9 pm – 5 pm EST, or email them at http://www.bigheartpet.com/Contact/ContactUs.aspx with any questions, concerns, or for a refund or replacement product.


If you believe your pet has become ill from consuming a pet food, please provide the FDA with valuable information by reporting it electronically through their Safety Reporting Portal or to your local FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator. In addition to your contact information, your pet’s symptoms, and medical records, and the lot number of the pet food product. If you think the food is the source of a problem, save a sample. Depending on the type of testing you want, your state agricultural or veterinary diagnostic lab may conduct the testing. If you need more help, find out how to report a pet food complaint to the FDA.


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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 (5) Write a comment

  1. I nearly died MAY 4, 2018 as a DIRECT RESULT of a CHICKEN PRODUCT – SMUCKERS LIES – it is NOT from the FAT OF ONE COW it is in ALL SMUCKERS PRODUCTS and they are busy buying up EVERY BRAND in the USA
    After I got out of the hospital and found the mail from Smuckers to send them the product, I RESEARCHED IT FIRST, I found their LIES on the SMUCKERS WEB SITE and decided it was not right to send the SMOKING GUN BACK TO THE SHOOTER, I then found even more DOGS IN MY SMALL COMMUNITY HAVE DIED SINCE THE RECALL which means they are STILL ACTIVELY POISONING DOGS!!!
    They must be STOPPED!!!
    Since May 1 2016 the NEW CEO Mark T Smucker has been buying up DOG FOOD COMPANIES NATION WIDE
    I Live 5 miles outside a very small town without a police station I am on the very edge of the national forest aways north of Mt St Helens, and in this upper part of the community there are 15 homes, the lower part about 40, up here 3 dogs died recently from milk-bone treats and my daughters dog from canine carry outs – I dont want to tell you the chain of events that nearly killed me, lawyers tell my to stay silent for now, I do have testimony from the hospital drs and my vet that it was undoubtedly directly related.
    I have contacted the Local FDA and Seattle Poison control and talked with the SAME LADY there who forced the SMUCKER RECALL for Niki Mael’s Pugs.
    I am FURIOUS, barely back on my feet again, I was ready to send the pet food off and saw their LIE, and told a neighbor and that when I started learning of the other dogs, 1 after another, and the numbers are rising!


    • I love reading your website as it normally turns up in my research, however I find some information not accurate. It’s difficult to determine when your articles were written as there is no date on them.
      Like the smuckers page not exist regarding their brands. I’ve not noticed that it was ever out of commission and is still very much up and running.





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