Recall: Uh-Oh! Here We Go Again

February 20, 2017

Ed. note: Update at the end of the article.


Apparently, Evangers is voluntarily recalling more of their product, as says that the company is expanding their earlier limited recall to include all Hunk of Beef products.  Again, this is concern for the possible presence of pentobarbitol in the dog food. Evanger’s earlier recall was for just 5 lots of the Hunk of Beef products.

The company previously stated that only the Hunk of Beef line of dog food contains the beef chunks obtained from one supplier.

Evanger’s associate brand, Against the Grain, which is owned by the same family, also experienced a recall last week for the same issue.  On Feb. 3, 2017, horse meat was found in Evanger’s products. The company is family owned and say the recent recalls are the first in their 82-year history.

Recalls Don’t Tell the Whole Story

As the article by Melissa Smith  states, Evanger’s was proud of its 82-year recall free history. The current owners took over in 2002 and since that time, there have been issues related to quality. The Town of Wheeling, IL, sued the company in 2006 for lax operating procedures due to “failure to use tight-fitting garbage can lids…food waste held in unapproved containers… failure to remove refuse…and failure to remove stagnant water on the property…” all of which led to citations by the city to Evanger’s for violating numerous laws. Testimonies included complaints by residents of foul odors on the property and a health inspector testified that she saw “thousands of maggots on decaying animal parts and maggots on unknown, rotting substances.”

In 2008, the Food & Drug Administration  ordered Evanger’s to obtain an emergency permit from the agency before being allowed to enter its products into Interstate Commerce. An FDA inspector found “significant deviations from prescribed documentation of processes, equipment and recordkeeping in the production of …thermally-processed, low-acid food products. One of the owners disagreed with the FDA assessment, saying the FDA comments were highly inaccurate and misleading.”  The FDA issued an emergency temporary permit in June, 2008, after deciding Evanger’s had fixed the issues.

In 2009, the emergency permit was revoked after the FDA found that Evanger’s was not operating in compliance with the temporary permit they had earlier been granted.

In 2011, the FDA sent a warning letter to Evanger’s about violations it found during a 2 month inspection process, as well as in a food sample obtained from the distributor. Testing found that some products did not contain the foods listed on the labels. For example, a lamb & rice product contained beef, not lamb.

In 2011, the company was cited for many health and sanitation issues. Those are listed here.

In 2012, Evanger’s was cited for many more violations, some new and some uncorrected from previous warnings.

One really needs a timeline to follow the Evanger’s case. Along the way there were arrests and charges for various offenses against the owners, and I expect to hear more about the problems with this company in the near future.

I have always recommended Evanger’s as a reliable pet food manufacturer but their sterling production record changed in 2002 with the change of ownership. All I can say now is buyer beware.


When the trouble with Evanger’s Hunk of Beef Dog Food was first reported, Joel Sher, an owner of the company, blamed the tainted food on their beef supplier. The FDA inspected the supplier’s plant and found nothing to suggest that the problem came from them. They reported that the supplier does  “… have systems in place to ensure that euthanized animals are segregated from animal protein going for animal food use.”

The case is still open and the FDA will continue to investigate the customer list of the supplier to be absolutely certain there are no problems. Meanwhile, we consumers still don’t know how Pentobarbital made its way into the pet food.

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