A company’s plan to donate recalled pet food to animal shelters after spot checks for a euthanasia drug isn’t going to work, say federal officials.
The Food and Drug Administration rejected the proposal by Evanger’s Dog & Cat Food Co. in a June 29 letter posted to its website Monday.
The company has been under FDA investigation since a January incident in which five dogs in a single household fell ill and one died after eating Evanger’s Hunk of Beef au Jus canned dog food. Lab tests found a “large quantity” of pentobarbital, a barbiturate used to anesthetize and, unofficially, euthanize animals, in the food.
The FDA also found the drug in lots of other Evanger’s brands, including Evanger’s Braised Beef Chunks and Against the Grain Grain-Free Pulled Beef with Gravy. Evanger’s issued a voluntary recall in March of all cans of the three brands produced between December 2015 and January 2017.
In addition, a Feb. 14 FDA inspection found condensate dripping into open cans and totes of raw meat, damaged floors, peeling paint, mold, insects and inadequate temperature controls.
The June 29 FDA letter informs Evanger’s that it must provide evidence to support its claim that a meat supplier, which the company has since dropped, is responsible for the contamination and demands further measures to address the problems found by the FDA.
The letter also puts the kibosh on a company proposal to spot-check recalled food for pentobarbital and donate cleared lots to animal shelters. Since the drug was not found uniformly through the affected lots, spot-checking will not ensure individual cans are drug-free, says the FDA.
“FDA does not find it acceptable to donate any recalled products and instead recommends destruction of all remaining units,” says the letter.
Evanter’s is an Illinois-based premium pet food company. The company has posted test results for pentobarbital for its various products to its website.
“This has been a trying time for our own Evanger’s family, our retail partners, and each and every loyal pet parent, and we thank all of you who have stood by us and checked in for updates as the situation evolved,” the company says. “Evanger’s is 100% committed to the safety of our products, and are looking forward to being able to serve your pets again with the our added safeguards.”