Pet food company Evanger’s is recalling five batches of its Hunk of Beef dog food after one batch tested positive for pentobarbital, a drug that’s used in euthanasia as well as for other medical purposes.
At least one dog, a pug in Washington state named Talula, died after consuming the food.
Nikki Mael, Talula’s owner, told KATU last month that her four dogs all became ill shortly after she fed them the Hunk of Beef canned food on New Year’s Eve. Talula died at the emergency vet, and a second dog, Tito, continued to suffer from seizures after going back home with Mael.
Evanger’s launched an investigation into possible food contamination, and ultimately detected pentobarbital — a barbiturate used in the euthanasia of animals — in one batch of the product. As a result, the company announced on Feb. 3 that they would be recalling all batches produced the same week.
The recall affects Hunk of Beef products with lot numbers starting with 1816E03HB, 1816E04HB, 1816E06HB, 1816E07HB, and 1816E13HB, with a June 2020 expiration date. It applies to products in Washington, California, Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, Maryland, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. (Read more information about the recall here.)
Evanger’s also said they are paying for Mael’s vet bills are “making a donation to a local shelter in honor of Talula the Pug.”
The company’s statement indicates that they suspect meat from a euthanized animal likely ended up in the food, causing the presence of pentobarbital.
Though pentobarbital has shown up in pet food before, those cases have involved pet food with ingredients sourced from rendering plants that grind up a slew of animal carcasses from a variety of sources. Evanger’s states that their Hunk of Beef product contains only beef, and does not include any ingredients from rendering plants.
However, the company notes in their statement that while the use of pentobarbital is tightly regulated, there is “absolutely no regulation” that requires a veterinarian to mark a euthanized animal to prevent it from entering the food chain. As a result of the contamination, Evanger’s terminated their relationship with the beef supplier that provided the contaminated meat.