UPDATE: Evangers, Against the Grain pet foods recalled due to pentobarbital adulteration

March 3, 2017

FDA advises against feeding certain varieties after samples from both brands were found to contain euthanasia drug.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is advising pet owners and caretakers not to feed their pets certain lots of Evanger's canned Hunk of Beef or Against the Grain Free Pulled Beef with Gravy canned dog food after unopened cans from both brands were found to contain pentobarbital, according to a recent FDA release.

The presence of pentobarbital, a drug used in animal euthanasia, in pet food is considered product adulteration, the FDA says. The agency has not been able to determine whether other Evanger's or Against the Grain products contain the beef that went into the recalled products. It has noted numerous concerns at both the Wheeling, Illinois, and Markham, Illinois, manufacturing plants after inspection of those facilities but has not issued any final determinations since those initial observations.

According to its release, the FDA began investigating Evanger's Dog & Cat Food Company Inc. when it learned of five dogs in a single household that suffered acute neurological symptoms shortly after eating the product. One dog was euthanized and the others recovered after receiving veterinary care, although one of the treated dogs remains on seizure medication.

Evanger's initiated a voluntary recall of certain lots of its 12-ounce Hunk of Beef canned dog food after discussions with the FDA: 1816E03HB, 1816E04HB, 1816E06HB, 1816E07HB and 1816E13HB, all with an expiration date of June 2020.

The FDA also tested two cans of Against the Grain brand canned Grain Free Pulled Beef with Gravy dog food manufactured in the same facilities as Evanger's products and using beef from the same supplier: these samples also tested positive for pentobarbital, according to the release.

Against the Grain subsequently voluntarily recalled lot 2415E01ATB12 BEST DEC 2019 of this product, the release states. The FDA says it's not aware of any pet illnesses associated with the Against the Grain product to date.

The investigation by the FDA is ongoing and includes examination of the suppliers of beef to Evanger's and Against the Grain to determine a possible cause for the presence of pentobarbital. The FDA is also coordinating with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to address any possible areas of shared jurisdiction at the suppliers.

As of February 27, the FDA became aware that Evanger's Dog and Cat Food was notifying its distributors and retailers of a new recall for lots of Evanger's Braised Beef Chunks with Gravy as well as expanding the previous recall for additional lots of Evanger's canned Hunk of Beef and Against the Grain's Grain Free Pulled Beef with Gravy, according to an updated release. 

Oral exposure to pentobarbital can cause drowsiness, dizziness, excitement, loss of balance, nausea, nystagmus, inability to stand, coma and death, the FDA notes. It is advising pet owners who notice these symptoms in their pets to consult their veterinarian.