The FDA believes three different Evanger's products could contain the drug used for human executions

By Kelli Bender
March 03, 2017 12:28 PM

Illinois pet food maker Evanger’s Cat and Dog Food is expanding their voluntarily recall of products potentially contaminated with the euthanasia drug pentobarbital.

In February, the company announced five dogs became sick and one died after eating Evanger’s best-selling Hunk of Beef dog food due to the “potential contaminant pentobarbital.” The drug was traced to one lot of food, which the company believed contained tainted meat from a supplier, leading them to recall that lot and four others packaged at the same time.

The original recall is on Hunk of Beef dog food with lot numbers that start with 1816E03HB, 1816E04HB, 1816E06HB, 1816E07HB, 1816E13HB and have an expiration date of June 2020, products all made during the same week of June 6 to 13, 2016. The products were sold online and in retail locations in 15 states: Washington, California, Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, Maryland, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida.

Now, Evanger’s and the FDA is worried more of the company’s food may contain traces of the barbiturate used in animal euthanasia and human executions. The recall has now been expanded to include:

Evanger’s Hunk of Beef: 20109
Evanger’s Braised Beef:  20107
Against the Grain Pulled Beef: 80001

The numbers listed are the second half of the barcode, which can be found on the back of the label. The products affected by the recall were packaged December 2015 and January 2017, and have expiration dates of December 2019 through January 2021. These products were sold nationwide in pet stores and online.

How this lethal contaminant got into Evanger’s pet food is still unknown, but the company believes their meat supplier is to blame, also claiming the supplier is using horse meat in their shipments. In response to these accusations, the Food and Drug Administration inspected the supplier, but found nothing to suggest they are the source of the problem.

The FDA did find that the quality of Evanger’s meat is not what the company has promised consumers. The meat found in Hunk of Beef dog food was not human grade as the company claimed and did not come from Department of Agriculture approved supplier, according to The Seattle Times. Additionally, the FDA also noted that Evanger’s Wheeling, Illinois, plant had peeling paint, mold on the walls, poor refrigeration and close proximity to an a open sewer. The vice president of Evanger’s has contested these claims.