Evanger’s Dog & Cat Food of Wheeling, Illinois, has voluntarily recalled specific lots of its Hunk of Beef product because the contaminant pentobarbital was detected in one lot of the pet food. Pentobarbital can affect animals that ingest it, possibly causing side effects such as drowsiness, dizziness, excitement, loss of balance, nausea, and, in extreme cases, death.
The lot numbers (see below) of cans of 12-ounce Hunk of Beef being recalled were distributed to retail locations and sold online in the following states: Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Minnesota, California, and Washington. The cans were manufactured during the week of June 6 – June 13, 2016.
Even though pentobarbital was detected in a single lot of Hunk of Beef, Evanger’s is voluntarily recalling Hunk of Beef products that were manufactured during the same week. The lot numbers start with 1816E03HB, 1816E04HB, 1816E06HB, 1816E07HB, and 1816E13HB, and have an expiration date of June 2020. The second half of the barcode reads 20109 and can be found on the back of the product label.
The recall in question affects five (5) lots of pet food that were produced from the supplier’s lot of beef. The beef is specifically used for the Hunk of Beef product and no other products. As of this time, it has been reported that five dogs have become ill and one of the five dogs has died after eating the food with the lot number 1816E06HB13. Evanger’s is issuing a voluntary recall to prevent potential exposure to any pentobartital in the product.
Evanger’s only uses suppliers of meat products that are USDA-approved. According to Evanger’s, this particular beef supplier provides the company with beef chunks from cows that are slaughtered in a USDA facility. The company says it is continuing to investigate how the pentobartital entered their raw material supply. No other Evanger’s products have had any reported problems and the company says they are not extending the recall to products with other supplier lots.
According to Evanger’s, this is the first recall for the company in 82 years of manufacturing. However, we have heard of a couple of instances of what may be termed as “silent” recalls of Evanger products. In 2009 some cans of their chicken products were removed from store shelves because of metal tags found in the products – ID tags from chicken legs that had not been removed before processing. There may or may not have been another silent recall in 2013 because of rusty cans. The company denies it but circumstances might suggest otherwise. The company has had a history of problems with the FDA in the past.
The subject of pentobarbital in pet foods has been a continuing worry for many pet lovers over the years. There have been concerns that pentobarbital, used for euthanizing animals, might be present in the food chain, especially in foods used for pet foods. The FDA investigated these concerns in 2002 and reported that, although low levels of pentobarbital might be present in some meats, it should not be enough to harm pets. Obviously, most pet owners would not want to find any pentobarbital in their pet’s food, even in low levels. In order for pentobarbital to make pets sick or kill a dog, as in the Hunk of Beef products, it would have to be present in a higher amount.
Evanger’s says that little or no Hunk of Beef product remains on retail shelves. However, if pet owners still have cans with the lot numbers included in the recall, they should return the cans to the place of purchase for a full refund. Consumers with questions may contact the company at 1-847-537-0102 between 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM Central Time, Monday – Friday.