Illinois-based Evanger’s Dog & Cat Food company has voluntarily recalled all of its canned Hunks of Beef dog food after a serious contamination broke out. After three dogs fell ill and one passed away, testing confirmed the euthanasia agent pentobarbital was present in the food. This is the first recall for this company in 82 years and it’s happened on very unfortunate terms. It began New Year’s Eve when Nikki Mael fed a can of Evanger’s Hunks of Beef to her four Pugs. Mael says that within 15 minutes, all of the dogs were acting strange and she knew something was wrong.
“They were falling over. So I grabbed them all and took them to the emergency vet. And when they got there, they were just limp. They weren’t moving or anything. And so they were in ICU. Tito and Talula ate the most [food] and Talula passed away,” Mael told KATU. Thankfully, the other three were able to come home, but the effects weren’t over. “Tito, we got to bring him home today,” Mael said. “He still suffers from seizures. I don’t know if there’s any long-term [effect] on the other two, but it’s terrible.”
— GDA Food Safety (@GDAFoodSafety) February 6, 2017
Evanger’s immediately stepped into action, launching an investigation and recalling more lots of canned food than proved to be effected. The family-owned business is mortified and very confused as to how pentobarbital got into their ingredients. According to their official statement, “Although pentobarbital was detected in a single lot, Evanger’s is voluntarily recalling Hunk of Beef products that were manufactured the same week, with lot 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.”
Thankfully, no other dogs have reported to have fallen ill at this time, over a month after the incident. The company has taken a large effort to learn more about pentobarbital and how it can enter the supply chain. They identified which supplier this particular beef came from and cut ties with them, even after 40 years of business together. Unfortunately, their research hasn’t provided very promising results. Evanger’s states, “In our investigation, we spoke with many suppliers to learn how it could even be possible that an animal that had been euthanized could ever possibly end up in the animal food stream. What we learned was that pentobarbital is very highly controlled, and that, if an animal is euthanized, it is done so by a veterinarian. Once this process has been done, there is absolutely no regulation that requires the certified Vet to place any kind of marker on the animal indicating that it has been euthanized and guaranteeing that product from euthanized animals cannot enter the food chain. This is a simple task, and goes a very long way to ensure safety in many areas.”
Hopefully cutting ties with this supplier and keeping in touch with customers will prevent any other accidents like this from happening. It’s an extremely unfortunate situation and our hearts go out to Mael and her family as well as Evanger’s, as it appears they did as much as they could. We appreciate the recall and urge anyone else that has had issues to report them. Evanger’s has made a donation to a local animal shelter in memory of Talula.
You can read an update of Evanger’s investigation on their website: https://evangersdogfood.com/news-events/pug-family-updates/
Cover photo courtesy of KATU.
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