March 2, 2017 — Evanger’s and Against The Grain have recalled all “chunk beef” canned dog food after laboratory tests found horse DNA and a toxic euthanasia drug pentobarbital.
The problems were discovered when a woman in Washington fed Evanger’s “Hunk of Beef” to four of her dogs on New Year’s Eve. All of them got sick within 15 minutes and a pug named Talulah died:
The woman kept the remainder of the can. Independent laboratory tests detected horse DNA and pentobarbital. She said:
“They were falling over. So I grabbed them all and took them to the emergency vet. And when they got there, they were just limp. They weren’t moving or anything. And so they were in ICU. Tito and Talula ate the most and Talula passed away.”
The recall involves the following products:
- Evanger’s Hunk of Beef
- Evanger’s Braised Beef
- Against the Grain Pulled Beef
There is a possibility that other products may be contaminated, but the company did not keep enough records for the FDA to determine if meat that went into the recalled product went into other products.
On February 3, a limited amount of dog food was recalled by Evanger’s. On February 13, another recall was issued by Against the Grain. The same family owns both companies and runs factories in Illinois.
On February 19, the owners of Evanger’s issued a statement blaming the problem on their “USDA-inspected” meat supplier and the FDA for “allowing drugs like pentobarbital to enter the raw material stream.”
When the FDA investigated, they discovered that none of Evanger’s meat suppliers were actually registered with the USDA. Furthermore, the meat supplier aced their inspection — no warnings were issued and the FDA said it found “systems in place to ensure that euthanized animals are segregated from animal protein going for animal food use.”
However, inspectors found a number of problems at Evanger’s facilities. The FDA issued two “Form 483” warnings. The problems included condensation dripping directly into open cans of dog food and raw meat, mold on the walls throughout the facility, an open sewer within 25 feet of equipment processing dog food, fly-like insects, and raw meat stored at room temperature.
Horse meat has been banned in pet food in the U.S. since the 1970s and a spokesperson for the FDA said “It is the responsibility of the pet food manufacturer to ensure that the food they produce is safe for consumption and properly labeled.”
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