FDA Sends Warning Letter to Evanger’s Dog & Cat Food Company

July 13, 2017

The Evanger’s Dog & Cat Food company’s quality mess continues.  I wrote in the past about various recalls and complaints regarding the presence of pentobarbital in some of their products. Evanger’s was an exemplary pet food manufacturer until 2002 when the new owners took over. Since then, complaints followed recalls, followed by more complaints and so on.

Late last year, the company issued a voluntary recall of specific products after 5 dogs became ill after eating the products and tests showed the food contained pentobarbital.  In late February, 2017, the company issued an expanded recall of some of their products due to the potential of pentobarbital in the petfood.  Now it appears that the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) is getting serious about enforcing their laws.

On June 29, 2017, the Food & Drug Administration issued a warning letter to Evanger’s stating that as a result of their inspections of and evidence collected at the company’s manufacturing facility in Wheeling, Illinois, in January and February of 2017,  “including supplier traceback, facility inspection, and samples collected by FDA, we found serious violations of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) and its implementing regulations.”

The FDA’s analysis of canned, chunk meat dog foods, including Evanger’s Braised Beef Chunks, Evanger’s Hand-Packed Hunk of Beef in Au Jus, and Against the Grain – Grain-Free Pulled Beef and Gravy products revealed the presence of pentobarbital. thus causing the products to be adulterated under FDA law. No amount of the drug is acceptable in pet food. Pentobarbital is used by veterinarians to euthanize animals.

Was Only 1 Ingredient’s Supplier at Fault?

While the FDA acknowledged that Evanger’s did issue recalls of affected products, there is still a question about the company’s claim that only one of their suppliers sold them the contaminated meat. The FDA states in their letter that no documentation was provided to prove that claim.

Evanger’s Claims that Small Amounts of Pentobarbital Are Acceptable.

The company claimed in their letter to the FDA on 5/18/17 that if any pentobarbital were to be found in their products, it would be in such a small amount as to not be a health or safety issue for pets.  FDA says no amount of pentobarbital would be considered acceptable.  The Evanger’s letter went on to say that they would be conducting random testing of finished products to determine if any pentobarbital were present. That was not considered acceptable by the FDA, because their own testing showed that the presence of the drug was not the same throughout the pet food. Therefore such company test would not prove that all of the product was safe for pets to consume.

What Is Most Egregious

In a letter to the FDA dated 4/4/17, Evanger’s expressed a desire to donate their recalled products to an animal shelter. This would be after individual units of the recalled food had been tested and found negative for pentobarbital.  Since the FDA believes that test does not mean the entire food would be safe, I am horrified that shelter animals, already stressed from their homeless circumstances, would be considered acceptable recipients of this food.  The FDA recommended destruction of all the recalled petfood.

The FDA warning letter of 6/29/17 clearly says that the infractions listed above do not include all the violations found at the Wheeling plant.  Evanger’s was instructed to basically clean up their act or face further disciplinary action.

If you are still buying this company’s products for your pets, please take the time to read up on the recalls, violations and questionable truths that continue in the Evanger’s case and form your own opinion.  As for me, I will avoid any product produced by this company.  Buyer beware!

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