From Petfood Industry:
Horse meat, along with the drug pentobarbital, was found in recalled Evanger’s Hunk of Beef dog food, the company’s vice president told The Columbian newspaper. He blamed his supposedly human-grade supplier for the deadly contamination.
However, US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officials confirmed only the presence of beef, disputed other details about the dubious meat and noted health concerns in the facility where the contaminated pet food was made.
One Pug is known to have died from the pentobarbital tainted dog food, and four other dogs were sickened. Pentobarbital is used to euthanize animals and as a human sedative and anticonvulsant, as well as in human executions and physician-assisted suicides.
Horse meat potentially in recalled dog food
Along with pentobarbital, laboratory results found both cow and horse DNA in samples of Hunk of Beef dog food that were recalled on February 3, Joel Sher, vice president at Evanger’s, told The Columbian, which is based in Vancouver, Washington, USA.
Against the Grain Pet Food recalled one lot of Against the Grain Pulled Beef with Gravy Dinner for Dogs. Against the Grain is owned by members of the Sher family.
FDA officials confirmed the presence of the barbiturate pentobarbital in both the Against the Grain and Evanger’s products, and classified the products as adulterated. In the same report, issued Feburary 14, FDA noted numerous food safety problems at the Wheeling, Illinois, plant where the dog foods are produced. Some of these issues included mold on the walls, lack of raw meat refrigeration and an open sewer within 25 feet of food storage trailers.
Evanger’s response to pentobarbital in dog food
Evanger’s issued a series of pentobarbital recall updates on their website.
“The guilty party has turned out to be one of our most trusted meat suppliers,” said an update on February 19. “A USDA-APHIS inspected supplier who we had done business with for over 40 years, and whose plant we had visited numerous times over the years.”
USDA response to Evanger’s
FDA officials seemed to contradict Evager’s announcement that the Hunk of Beef meat came from a USDA-FSIS 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,” stated FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine representatives on their website.
“The meat products from this supplier do not bear the USDA inspection mark and would not be considered human grade. USDA-FSIS regulates slaughter of animals for human consumption only.
“Testing by USDA-FSIS of Evanger’s Hunk of Beef confirmed that the meat used in the product was bovine (beef)”
Potential legal problems resulting from FDA findings
Evanger’s has described its products as human-grade since at least June 2003, reported Food Safety News. The article suggested that Evanger’s claims, in contrast to FDA findings, may result in allegations of deception or false advertising by the Federal Trade Commission.
It was New Year’s Eve, and one of her dogs, Tinkerbell, had just had surgery to remove a cyst from her bladder, so Mael, 43, of Washougal went to the pet store and bought them Evanger’s Hunk of Beef dog food.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration Friday released the results of a month-long investigation of Evanger’s Dog Cat Food Co., its production facility in Wheeling, IL, and the Nutripack LLC, facility in Markham, IL. Nutripack is owned by Brett Sher, son of Joel and Holly Sher, who own Evanger’s.