Evanger’s Dog & Cat Food Co. was the subject of a massive recall of several flavors of their canned dog food earlier this year after 5 dogs got sick from consuming it. One of the dogs eventually died.
Subsequent testing showed that several lots of Evanger’s dog food were contaminated with pentobarbital, one of the ingredients used in pet euthanasia.
Evanger’s spot checked random cans from the recalled lots and didn’t find any pentobarbital, so they asked the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) if they could donate the recalled dog food to animal shelters. The FDA declined, instead recommending that all affected lots be destroyed.
In a letter addressed to Holly N. Sher and Joel A. Sher, President and Vice President of Evanger’s Dog & Cat Food Co. and shared on fda.gov, the FDA expressed concern that Evanger’s proposed changes were not sufficient to prevent another food contamination event and that spot checking the recalled food was not a good enough assurance that all the recalled food would be safe for dogs at shelters.
In the letter, the FDA stated that:
“FDA does not agree that analyzing individual units from recalled lots and finding those units negative for pentobarbital contamination provides sufficient assurance that the remaining units are not adulterated. As can be observed in the samples collected by FDA, the pentobarbital contamination is not homogeneous throughout all units in a lot. Therefore, FDA does not find it acceptable to donate any recalled products and instead recommends destruction of all remaining units.”
Arguably the most disturbing part of the letter involved the FDA addressing correspondence from Evanger’s with proposed solutions for their contamination problems.
“In [Evanger’s] correspondence dated 5/18/17, it was stated that if any amount of pentobarbital were to be found in any of your ground loaf products, it would be in an amount that a laboratory would deem as being within the possibility of error and well within the range that FDA had previously deemed not be a health or safety concern in pet foods. FDA does not agree with your assessment that the process of grinding will dilute any pentobarbital present in the loaf products to non-detectable or safe levels. The agency notes that there is no tolerance level for pentobarbital in pet food.”
While Evanger’s has stopped using the meat supplier they claim was responsible for the contamination, they were unable to provide any proof to the FDA that they would be able to avoid future contamination.
Evanger’s has 15 days from receipt of the letter to reply to the FDA with the changes they have made and propose to make to improve the safety of their canned dog food.
What do you think of the FDA’s refusal to allow recalled dog food to be donated? Tell us in the comments below!
(H/T: Food Safety News)