Euthanasia solution found in Smucker dog foods; manufacturer identifies source

March 1, 2018

Low levels of pentobarbital discovered in Gravy Train, Kibbles 'N Bits and other brands; company traces problem to beef fat.

The J.M. Smucker Co. in mid-February voluntarily withdrew shipments of Gravy Train, Kibbles ‘N Bits, Ol' Roy and Skippy canned and wet dog foods after low levels of pentobarbital were confirmed to be present in samples of the product. The company has since traced the contamination to one ingredient-beef fat.

“Testing done by scientists at an independent, third-party microbiology laboratory indicates a single, minor ingredient (beef fat), used only in the four wet dog food brands, was the source of the contamination,” the company states in a media release. “Additionally, the … laboratory tested the ingredient in which pentobarbital was found and confirms it was sourced from cattle and no other animal.”

A preliminary evaluation by the FDA indicated that the low levels of pentobarbital present in the withdrawn products were unlikely to pose a health risk to pets. “However, pentobarbital should never be present in pet food and products containing any amount of pentobarbital are considered to be adulterated,” the agency states in a consumer advisory.

“This substance simply should not have been in our products,” says Barry Dunaway, president of the Pet Food and Pet Snacks division, in the Smucker release. “Its presence at any level is not acceptable and is not up to our quality standards. We stopped production at our manufacturing facility that makes these product lines until we could obtain the ingredient from a new supplier, and we are no longer sourcing the ingredient from the original supplier.”