Tag: Pentobarbital

We truly are what we eat!

That’s both us and our beloved dogs!

Today through to Wednesday is all about increasing awareness of the risk of not being ultra-careful as to what we put into the mouths of both ourselves and our beloved dogs.

Thus, on Wednesday I will be republishing a recent post from Colette about the power of eating a vegan diet. Tomorrow will be a post about curbing the widespread use of neonicotinoid pesticides. Today is a republication of an important article that appeared on the Healthy Pets website on June 25th. (Thank you Belinda for the ‘heads up’!)

ooOOoo

Dozens of Dog Deaths Now Linked to This Pentobarbital-Tainted Food

By Dr. Karen Shaw Becker, June 25th, 2018

Earlier this year I wrote about a second incident of the euthanasia drug pentobarbital discovered in dog food. The first incident was in 2017 and involved Evanger’s formulas. Then came the more recent recall of Gravy Train tainted with pentobarbital.

Background on Contaminated Gravy Train Dog Food

The Gravy Train situation was investigated by WJLA ABC 7 in Washington D.C. The station teamed up with Ellipse Analytics, a laboratory that specializes in testing food for contami­nants. They tested 62 samples of over 24 brands of wet (canned) dog food for pentobarbital.

“After months of tests and re-tests, one brand repeatedly came back positive for pentobarbital,” says WJLA. “In total, we tested 15 cans of Gravy Train. Nine cans — 60 percent of the sample — were positive for pentobarbital. And while the levels detected were not lethal, under federal law they are also not permitted at any concentration.”1

The WJLA investigation resulted in a class action lawsuit against J.M. Smucker/Big Heart Pet Brands filed on February 9 of this year in a U.S. District Court in California by a Missouri woman who believes Gravy Train may have contributed to the death of her Miniature Schnauzer.2

The lawsuit wants Smucker/Big Heart to “… disclose its pet food sold throughout the United States is adulterated and contains pentobarbital and to restore monies to the consumers and businesses who purchased the Contaminated Dog Foods ….”3

Later in February, Smucker/Big Heart voluntarily withdrew 10 varieties of Gravy Train dog food, along with certain shipments of Kibbles ‘N Bits, Ol’ Roy and Skippy.4 A complete list of the products pulled from store shelves — all of it canned dog food — can be found here. In early March, the FDA notified Smucker/Big Heart that its voluntary removal of products was now considered a recall, based on a test confirming the presence of pentobarbital in the tallow the company used in the recalled pet foods.

The Plot Thickens

My friend and pet food consumer advocate Susan Thixton of Truth About Pet Food recently wrote an update regarding the class action lawsuit, noting a Master Consolidated Complaint filed on May 1.5 The newly filed document names 11 additional plaintiffs (pet owners), and as Susan says, “… reveals some damning information against pet food manufacturer Smucker.”6

The updated filing asserts that “… Defendant [Smucker/Big Heart] knew the Contaminated Dog Foods contained pentobarbital.” The plaintiffs did not make this claim in the initial lawsuit, which means that between February 9 and May 1, their investigation revealed additional unfavorable details about Smucker’s business practices.

On February 16, 2018, the FDA issued an alert to consumers about the recalled Gravy Train dog foods, stating very clearly that pentobarbital should not be in pet food.

A week or so later, Smucker issued a press release stating it had identified the source of the pentobarbital and described it as “a single ingredient (beef fat).” According to the updated filing, Smucker was less than forthcoming about what they tested to arrive at their conclusion:

“Defendant did not identify what exactly was tested — whether it was cans of the food pulled from the shelves, cans shipped directly from the manufacturing plant, and/or isolated samples of beef fat from the supplier. Defendant did claim the tested beef fat was sourced from cattle from the United States. However, Defendant has offered no information about how it identified this particular ingredient or whether it tested any other ingredients included in the recalled pet foods.

Defendant also did not specify what animals they tested the Contaminated Dog Foods for beyond cattle. When doing DNA testing, it must be determined beforehand what species will be looked for (i.e. dog, cat, cattle, horse, etc.). Defendant has not disclosed whether its testing looked for dog, cat, or horse DNA.”

In early March, Smucker updated the above statement, claiming the animal fat was from “cow, pig and chicken and no other animal of the nine types tested.” Smucker still didn’t identify what types of animals were included in the testing, nor did it disclose the name of the manufacturing plant and/or supplier that is the suspected source of the tainted raw materials.

Later the same day, Smucker changed its statement yet again, now claiming the source of contamination was pig and chicken fat (no cow this time) and “no other animal of the nine types tested,” again neglecting to name the nine types of animals tested. From the updated filing:

“In the end, over ninety million cans of food manufactured and distributed by Defendant were recalled because of the inclusion of pentobarbital.

Moreover, the testing results showed alarmingly high levels of pentobarbital in the tallow. Specifically, the current supply tested showed levels ranging from 801 ppb to 852 ppb, and the retained sample from 2017 contained pentobarbital at the level of 529 ppb.

Despite this, Defendant has publicly represented that the testing showed ‘extremely low levels of pentobarbital do not pose a threat to pet safety’ but failed to disclose or acknowledge the testing results that showed the high levels of pentobarbital in the tallow.”

Smucker/Big Heart ‘Knew or Recklessly Chose to Ignore That the Contaminated Dog Foods Were Adulterated Pet Food’

Smucker ultimately named the source of the contaminated tallow as a single supplier, JBS USA Holdings, Inc. and its rendering facility. According to the plaintiffs, JBS “knowingly” works with meat byproduct recycling, including animal byproducts not suitable for human consumption.

And in addition, JBS “has been plagued by investigations, recalls, and other red flag situations.” This should have alerted Smucker that it needed to routinely confirm the safety and quality of products purchased from this supplier, especially since it claims to “regularly audit our suppliers and have assurances from them about the quality and specifications of the materials they supply us.” From the updated filing:

“Yet Defendant chose to utilize JBS as a supplier even though it maintains that it keeps rigorous quality and supplier standards from ‘start to finish’ and performs three-tier auditing that includes third party auditors, to ensure pure ingredients and fair labor are used in its products, including the Contaminated Dog Foods.

Given this rigorous auditing process, Defendant knew or recklessly chose to ignore that the Contaminated Dog Foods were adulterated pet food as it retained samples of the tallow that should have been tested based on the claimed practices and standards by Defendant.”

According to Susan Thixton, who’s been conducting her own investigation of Big Pet Feed business practices for years, these clearly shady dealings are commonplace.

“Audits of pet food ingredient suppliers, [and] testing of ingredients for safety and quality are mostly to support a paper trail,” she writes. “Little to no true quality control testing is ever performed.

Truck drivers delivering ingredients to pet food facilities have been instructed to carry in the truck cab ‘clean’ samples provided for testing; not a sample of what is actually delivered to the plant. Drivers have also shared that when a load of pet food ingredients is actually tested and fails, lot numbers are changed and the delivery is then accepted without question.

It has been shared multiple times from multiple individuals — the main goal is to keep the pet food plant in production … not the quality of ingredients.”

At an AAFCO meeting Susan attended a few years ago, pet food company employees shared that manufacturers keep a supply of clean samples on hand in the event regulatory authorities or auditors ask to test ingredients. “Rarely, if ever, are the actual ingredients used in a pet food tested by regulatory or auditors,”she writes.

Naming the Dead

Sadly, the victims of Big Pet Food’s unconscionable business practices and lack of regulatory oversight by the FDA and individual State Departments of Agriculture are innocent pets and their unsuspecting owners. From the Master Consolidated Complaint:

“In August 2017, Plaintiff Sebastiano’s dog became weak and confused, began vomiting, had blood in his stool, lost weight, no longer wanted to eat, and had trouble standing and walking. At only [7] and a half years old, Samson died, on December 4, 2017.

Plaintiff Johnson … fed the Contaminated Dog Foods to his thirteen border collie and Australian shepherd mixes he used as herding dogs for his cattle. Plaintiff Johnson had seven males and six female dogs that ranged from [10] months to approximately [7] years old. … Devastatingly, Plaintiff Johnson lost all thirteen dogs, including one pregnant female, on January 14 and 15, 2018.

At that time, all of his dogs were showing symptoms of kidney failure so the veterinarian recommended that all thirteen be put down. All of the dogs were fed the Contaminated Dog Foods at the same time and all were sick within hours after eating the Contaminated Dog Foods. They subsequently all died within two days of eating the Contaminated Dog Foods.

Plaintiff Williamson purchased certain lines of the Contaminated Dog Foods … and fed the Contaminated Dog Foods to her two Great Danes, Nova and Sadie. Sadie passed away on Wednesday, September 7, 2016, and Nova passed away on Sunday, January 22, 2017.

Plaintiff Todd purchased certain lines of the Contaminated Dog … and fed the Contaminated Dog Foods to his American pit bull, Tito. Tito passed away on November 18, 2017.” Plaintiff Brown purchased certain lines of the Contaminated Dog Foods … She rescues stray dogs and has fed all of them the Contaminated Dog Foods.

Several of her dogs have died over the course of the class period, including: Speedy, a [2]-year-old Chihuahua mix who died in December 2016; Humpty, an [8]– or [9]-year-old lab-chow mix who died in November 2017; Elly Mae, a [10]-year-old lab-chow mix who died in December 2017; Sara, an [8]-year-old lab who died in October 2017; Red, an [8]-year-old lab who died November 2017; Mary, a [9]-year-old lab-chow mix who died in August 2017; Duke, a [7]-year-old Great Pyrenees who died in August 2017.

Plaintiff Mayo purchased the Contaminated Dog Foods … and fed the Contaminated Dog Foods to her dogs, including Cocheese (a lab mix), Glory B (a chocolate lab mix), and Blade (an Alaskan husky mix). Most recently, Glory B passed away on or around February 2, 2018, two days after she consumed a can of Gravy Train with Chicken Chunks on or around January 31, 2018. On February 5, 2018, Plaintiff Mayo’s cat, Midnight, also passed away after having accidentally ingested some of the Contaminated Dog Food fed to Glory B on January 31st.”

Plaintiff Collins purchased the Contaminated Dog Foods … and fed the Contaminated Dog Foods to his miniature poodle, Duffy. Duffy passed away in February 2018, soon after consuming a can of Gravy Train.”

As Susan Thixton points out, had it not been for intrepid reporters at WJLA ABC 7 in D.C., specifically Lisa Fletcher, the deaths of these precious pets and probably many more would have gone unnoticed by the FDA and others.

“Nobody cared … until they got caught,” writes Susan. “That is the real crime of pet food — nobody cares if ingredients contain pentobarbital, violate law, or pets die … until they get caught.”

Protecting Furry Family Members From Poisoned Pet Food

Between low-grade ingredients, too-frequent recalls, and an exploding population of pets with chronic digestive issues, allergies and degenerative disease, it’s no wonder so many pet parents are exploring homemade diets, fresh food diets made by smaller, transparent pet food producers, raw diets, and other alternatives to the dead, rendered, dubious, processed stuff.

My advice? Search this website for more information on choosing the best diet for your pet. There are dozens of videos and articles here that can help you become more knowledgeable about pet nutrition so that you can make the best diet choices for your own dog or cat.

If you want to help change the deceptive practices occurring in the pet food industry, I recommend becoming a member of the Association for Truth in Pet Food, which is the only organization out there committed to holding the regulatory agencies and AAFCO accountable.

ooOOoo

Dr. Becker opens up her important article with a summary of the situation.

I have chosen to close the post with that summary.

Story at-a-glance

  • Dog food contaminated with pentobarbital triggered a class action lawsuit that has been recently updated to reveal several additional plaintiffs and jaw-dropping allegations of pet food manufacturer misconduct
  • Over 90 million cans of Gravy Train were recalled due to alarmingly high levels of pentobarbital in tallow (animal fat)
  • Smucker/Big Heart Brands, manufacturer of Gravy Train products, has not been forthcoming with information about the company’s business practices or testing methods as requested by plaintiffs in the class action lawsuit
  • It seems likely Smucker knew it was selling dog food contaminated with pentobarbital
  • The Master Consolidated Complaint lawsuit update filed on May 1 reveals that tragically, many dogs fed pentobarbital-tainted Gravy Train diedGravy 

Party Animal Dog Food Recall

This came in just a few minutes ago.

ooOOoo

Party Animal Dog Food Recall of April 2017

April 17, 2017 — Party Animal, Inc. has announced it is recalling specific lots of two varieties of its Cocolicious canned dog foods because they have each tested positive for the euthanasia drug, pentobarbital.

What’s Being Recalled?

The following products are affected by the recall:

  • Cocolicious Beef and Turkey
    Size: 12 ounce cans
    Lot Number: 0136E15204 04
    Best By Date: July 2019
  • Cocolicious Chicken and Beef
    Size: 12 ounce cans
    Lot Number: 0134E15 237 13
    Best By Date: August 2019

What Caused the Recall?

According to a statement posted on the company’s website and its Facebook page:

The safety of pets is and always will be our first priority. We sincerely regret the reports of the discomfort experienced by the pet who consumed this food.

As pet parents ourselves, we take this matter seriously.

On April 13, a retailer in Texas notified us that their customer had presented samples of our Cocolicious Beef and Turkey Lot #0136E15204 04 and Cocolicious Chicken and Beef Lot #0134E15 237 13 to a testing lab, and that the results had tested positive for pentobarbital.

We have requested those results.

When we were notified, we immediately tracked the lot numbers of the food in question and determined that the food had been manufactured and distributed in 2015.

We then contacted the two probable retailers that had sold the customer the food and asked them to isolate all remaining cans from these lots.

We also requested that the retailers send all of the cans from those lots to us so that we can forward them on to an accredited independent laboratory for independent testing.

We expect to receive the receive the results in 7 to 10 days.

We first saw the formal report from the lab at Texas A&M regarding the customer’s samples, today, April 17.

Out of an abundance of caution, we are retrieving the remainder of these two lots nationwide.

We are working with our distributors and retailers to determine if any additional beef-flavored products manufactured during this 2015 production period remain on shelves and, if so, to retrieve them from shelves, immediately, as well.

What to Do?

Consumers with questions may contact the company by phone at 855-727-8926 or by email at info@partyanimalpetfood.com.

U.S. citizens can report complaints about FDA-regulated pet food products by calling the consumer complaint coordinator in your area.

Or go to http://www.fda.gov/petfoodcomplaints.

Canadians can report any health or safety incidents related to the use of this product by filling out the Consumer Product Incident Report Form.

Get Dog Food Recall Alerts by Email

Get free dog food recall alerts sent to you by email. Subscribe to The Dog Food Advisor’s emergency recall notification system.

ooOOoo

As always, please share this as far and wide as you can!

Yet another recall

This time concerning Against the Grain Pet Foods

Against the Grain Dog Food Recall of February 2017

February 14, 2017 — Against the Grain Pet Food is voluntarily recalling one lot of Against the Grain Pulled Beef with Gravy Dinner for Dogs because it may be contaminated with pentobarbital.

against-the-grain-pulled-beef-dog-food

What’s Recalled?

  • Against the Grain Pulled Beef with Gravy Dinner for Dogs
  • 12 ounce can
  • Lot Number: 2415E01ATB12
  • UPC Code (second half): 80001
  • Expiration Date: December 2019

About Pentobarbital

Oral exposure to pentobarbital can cause side effects such as drowsiness, dizziness, excitement, loss of balance, nausea nystagmus (eyes moving back and forth in a jerky manner), inability to stand and coma.

To date, no complaints have been reported to Against the Grain for this single lot number nor any of Against the Grain’s pet foods.

Where Was It Distributed?

The recalled product was distributed (in 2015) to independent pet retail stores in the following states:

  • Maryland
  • Washington

The company has verified that the affected lot is no longer on any store shelves.

What to Do?

Consumers may return any can with the relevant lot number to their place of purchase and receive a full case of Against the Grain food for the inconvenience.

Customers with questions may contact the company at 800-288-6796 between 11 AM and 4 PM Central Time, Monday through Friday.

U.S. citizens can report complaints about FDA-regulated pet food products by calling the consumer complaint coordinator in your area.

Or go to http://www.fda.gov/petfoodcomplaints.

Canadians can report any health or safety incidents related to the use of this product by filling out the Consumer Product Incident Report Form.

Get Dog Food Recall Alerts by Email

Get free dog food recall alerts sent to you by email. Subscribe to The Dog Food Advisor’s emergency recall notification system.

ooOOoo

As ever, do share this important alert.

Evanger’s Dog Food Recall Alert

This came in late yesterday afternoon, Pacific Time.

This was the email that was sent out.

Evanger’s Dog and Cat Food Company of Wheeling, Illinois, has announced it is voluntarily recalling specific lots of its pet food due to its potential to be contaminated with pentobarbital.

To learn which products are affected, please visit the following link:

Evanger’s Dog Food Recall of February 2016

Please be sure to share the news of this alert with other pet owners.

Mike Sagman, Editor
The Dog Food Advisor

P.S. Not already on our dog food recall notification list yet? Sign up to get critical dog food recall alerts sent to you by email. There’s no cost for this service.

If one goes to that Evanger’s Recall Link then this is what you will read. It is republished in full.

ooOOoo

Evanger’s Dog Food Recall of February 2017

February 3, 2017 — Evanger’s Dog and Cat Food Company, Inc. of Wheeling, Illinois, is voluntarily recalling specific lots of its Hunk of Beef product due to potential contamination with the deadly drug, pentobarbital.

Pentobarbital can affect animals that ingest it, and possibly cause side effects such as drowsiness, dizziness, excitement, loss of balance or nausea — or in extreme cases, death.

evangers-hunk-of-beef-recall-canWhat’s Being Recalled?

Although pentobarbital was detected in a single lot, the company is recalling all related Hunk of Beef products manufactured the week of June 6 through June 13, 2016.

The affected lots numbers that start with 1816E03HB, 1816E04HB, 1816E06HB, 1816E07HB, and 1816E13HB, and have an expiration date of June 2020.

The second half of the barcode reads 20109, which can be found on the back of the product label.

Where Was the Product Sold?

The affected products were sold both online and also distributed to retail locations only in the following states:

  • California
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • New York
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin

About the Recall

The recall affects 5 lots of food that were produced from its supplier’s lot of beef, which is specifically used for the Hunk of Beef product and no other products.

To date, five dogs reportedly became ill. And one of the five dogs died after consuming the product with lot number 1816E06HB13. [Ed: My emphasis]

Evanger’s is proactively issuing a recall so as not to risk potential exposure to pentobarbital in the product.

According to Evanger’s, all suppliers of meat products are USDA approved.

The insists the beef supplier provides the company with beef chunks from cows that are slaughtered in a USDA facility.

Evanger’s continues to investigate how the contaminant entered its raw material supply.

Because it sources its meat products from suppliers that are USDA approved and since no other products have reported any problems, the company is not extending the recall to other supplier lots.

According to Evanger’s, this is the first recall event for the company in its 82 years of manufacturing.

What to Do?

Although it has been verified that little or no product remains on store shelves, consumers are asked to return recalled product to the place of purchase for a full refund.

Consumers with questions may contact the company at 847-537-0102 between 10 AM and 5 PM Central Time, Monday through Friday.

U.S. citizens can report complaints about FDA-regulated pet food products by calling the consumer complaint coordinator in your area.

Or go to http://www.fda.gov/petfoodcomplaints.

Canadians can report any health or safety incidents related to the use of this product by filling out the Consumer Product Incident Report Form.

Get Dog Food Recall Alerts by Email

Get free dog food recall alerts sent to you by email. Subscribe to The Dog Food Advisor’s emergency recall notification system.

ooOOoo

I will, of course, continue to publish every dog food alert that comes into my in-box. But don’t let that stop you from signing up for recall alerts on your own account.

Finally, if any of you are users of Evanger’s Hunk of Beef dog food and want to share your experiences then I shall be very happy to publish them here for the wider benefit of every single person who loves dogs!