Evanger’s – The Light Dawns

Ever since I received a copy from Evanger’s of their lab report (also posted on the company’s web site), I have been trying to figure out how FDA could possibly determine that there was no duck meat present in their sample of dog food, while Genetic ID – the third-party lab used by Evanger – found duck DNA in the sample that was submitted to them for testing.

My first thought was that there was may have been a significant difference in lab methods used by FDA and Genetic ID. That thought was quashed earlier today, when I ascertained from FDA that the agency used a PCR method – the same type of method as the one used by Genetic ID. Even a slight difference in technique would not be enough to explain a total lack of positive duck meat reaction in FDA’s hands.

I was stymied until I revisited the wording of the FDA warning letter and compared it to the wording of the information released by Evanger.

Here’s the relevant portion of the Evanger statement:

“Our results show that, in fact, Evanger’s brand Super Premium Duck was detected positive for duck…”

And here’s the relevant statement from the FDA warning letter:

“The labeling indicates that Evanger’s Grain-free Duck Pet Food contains duck, but the analytical sample results did not detect the presence of duck in the product.”

A quick review of Evanger’s website brought everything into focus. Super Premium Duck and Grain-Free Duck are two VERY different products!

I challenge Evanger’s to submit samples of the same batch of Grain-Free Duck dog food analyzed by FDA to a third-party lab for testing.

Anyone care to speculate on the outcome?


26 thoughts on “Evanger’s – The Light Dawns

  1. Great Site. Bottom line….is this food safe? Exactly WHO supplies their
    meat , fowl, and who supplies the fish? Is it true that they did use vitamins and minerals from China?…but not anymore?
    This company does have quite
    a lengthy history of negative incidents which cannot / should not be ignored.
    I am afraid to use their canned cat food. At the pet food store, almost
    all of the cans of Evangers (almost without exception) seem to have
    rust on the areas surrounding the lid. The cans were not crushed or
    dented, and I almost tore the display apart checking all these cans.
    I don’t know why I am seeing this rust like appearance not only on small,
    but on large cans as well. Also, is BPA or other chemicals used to line
    the inside of these cans?

    I don’t know. This food seems pretty scary, and some people have commented on a great amount of inconsistency from one can to the
    next…when using the same flavor. Why is that? Also it does not specify
    what animal the liver comes in product that contains liver.

    You guys are fantastic…so glad I found this site. I hope to get your
    opinions on my comments.

    At this moment, I am using Life’s Abundance dry cat food.. However, my
    cat does not like the canned food, so that is why I was considering
    Evangers canned..no grain.


  2. Evanger’s Kosher Line is overwhelmingly endorsed by Rabbinical Council
    of Chicago per phone conversation. Rabbinical Council is on site for the
    production of the Kosher products they produce. They said you can
    absolutely trust Evangers and they endorse without hesitation.


    1. Phaedra,

      The purpose of Rabbinical inspection is to certify that a food meets the requirements of kashruth, nothing else. No rabbi would “endorse” everything a food company does “without hesitation”. That is beyond the purview of kashruth certification.


  3. I haven’t seen the test results of the FDA, but if you look at the test results from Genetic ID, it is not listed by flavor name “Super Premium” or “Grain Free.” It is listed as Production Code, as it should be, which is the only way to determine if the same thing is being tested. Everyone is being so ignorant – this is a moot point and the author of this blog should have done some fact-checking before jumping to conclusions and getting everyone crazy.


  4. Also, I dont what the number is posted on the test results. On the cans of food of the brand I use, UPC codes are all the same, the bar code. The numbers that are different are the best by dates. I’d be curious to know which batches each party tested and what their best by dates were. I also didnt know pet food companies changed labels during the middle of a batch.


  5. Shelley, using the same testing method doesnt mean its the same food. Also, in all of the pet food testing Ive done, one thing I know is that testing labs are very careful to write down the same exact name of the product on their results report that is on the can…due to legal issues, chain of custody etc. So what you are saying is the testing lab is calling it Super Premium Duck and that is what was on the document. The lab would not call it anything but what was on the can, if they do, its altering information, a pretty serious thing that labs dont do. So what Im gleening from this and the comment over at Truth About Pet Food, is that lab had a can of Super Premium Duck that isnt available for sale anymore. Interesting.


  6. Nope, just asked about the lot number. But as stated in this very article, Phyllis Entis (the author of this blog) also talked to the FDA and they told her that both Evanger’s and FDA used the same testing method…
    Also, on Susan Thixton’s site, The Truth About Pet Food, one of the commentators called Evanger’s who explained that “Super Premium” and “Grain Free” Duck are the same thing – same UPC code, but a little while back they redesigned the label and wrote Grain Free on the label, which seems to be why there was confusion among, “Grain Free Duck” versus “Super Premium Duck.” Same lot number, same UPC code, same everything.

    In the past Phyllis has written well-researched articles, so I have to say I’m sort of disappointed that she jumped to conclusions on this article without clarifying with Evanger’s or the FDA, both of which seem to be more than willing to share information.


    1. Shelley, if you read my statement in the second paragraph of my post (above), you will see that I determined that FDA and Genetic ID (the Evanger’s third-party lab) used the same TYPE of method. This does not mean that the two methods were identical, although they should have similar sensitivity.

      I have asked FDA for additional clarification on the sample(s) that their lab analyzed, including the lot number, and will post that information when I receive it.



      1. Phyllis, I dont know what lot # means really, it can mean different things to different companies. One would think that another way of verifying would be to get the batch number as well as the best by date. But I go back to my prior post and that is the lab tested food called Super Premium Duck that supposedly is not available for sale anymore according to a poster over at Ms Thixton’s site. Labs dont alter product names. I can only guess that the lab for FDA tested a product called Grain-Free Duck. If these two items dont have the same label, I guess I dont understand how they are the same product.


  7. Ive done alot of pet food testing ever since losing my cat to the pet food recalls in 2007 and one thing that was always noted on the test results is what form the food came to the lab in. Was it in a sealed can? The lab report doesnt state that one way or another unless its somewhere else on the form.

    @Shelley, Im curious, when you called FDA did you happen to ask them why their test showed “no duck” and “no lamb” but Evangers did? Im curous as to their response.


  8. Sorry @Sam – the whole post was not directed at you, just the belief in Evanger’s wholeheartedly because of what they have done for my dog.

    I am talking about in general – everyone is so quick to jump on the bandwagon and say Evanger’s is lying, when in fact if Phyllis Entis and Susan Thixton (the author of these two blogs that are writing all this conspiracy stuff) would just do their research, they would find that Evanger’s is not hiding anything and they did indeed test the same exact food FDA tested. I called the FDA and asked which batch number they tested, and of course, it was the same exact one that is written in the dna test results that is posted on Evanger’s website.

    As stated, my opinion is this: check your facts or it is poor journalism. And in this case, totally false.


  9. Shelley, it might have been alot simpler if Evangers would have matched the name of the food to the name of the food that FDA tested, if in fact it is the same food…just saying. You said “if the duck isnt duck, its not duck” like its no big deal. Someone else might disagree with that. If you were feeding a dog food that is supposed to be 100% duck and its not duck, that dog could become severely ill if its eating the protein its allergic too instead.

    I dont see anywhere where I was “knocking you down”. You have your opinion and view, I have mine.


  10. @Sam – I believe them wholeheartedly. I adopeted a malnourished Mountain Feist from an animal control facility in the South. In addition to being severely underweight, she had heartworm, hookworm, roundworm and tapeworm. She also had a serious bacterial infection as a result of the heartworm. The vet treated her, but was very skeptical about her chances of surviving. To bring her up to a healthy weight, so that she could undergo heartworm treatment (which is very hard on the body-injections of arsenic), the vet recommended feeding her puppy food or a high-quality diet. My local pet store told me to try Evanger’s. I used it, and my dog was up to a healthy weight within three weeks. She survived heartworm treatment, and a year later, she is in PERFECT health. She will now NOT eat anything but Evanger’s. Her favorite is the Braised Beef in Gravy. I literally credit Evanger’s with saving my dog’s life. Even the vet was blown away at her recovery.

    So, I see how this company saved my dog’s life. I’m not looking at test results, I am not blogging about conspiracy theories. I am simply looking at how my dog survived against all odds SOLELY due to the Evanger’s food I was feeding her. If the duck isn’t duck, it’s not duck, but it saved my dog’s life nonetheless. You can try to knock me down all you want and make me question what I feed, but whenI see how happy my dog is, and how much happier my dog has made MY life, I’m not going to knock the only company that helped me get where I am today.

    I’m still waiting for someone to get the lot number from the FDA to prove me and Evanger’s wrong. Hasn’t surfaced yet. My prediction? Thelot numbers are the same, as Evanger’s has stated all along.


  11. Thanks to all for the analysis and good reporting. An interesting discussion about “research analytics, proven methods” etc. However the main point is being overlooked entirely. Why should a company’s product need to be tested? If Evenger’s has an early issue going on with the utility bill “discrepancy”, and I’ve also heard about some “canning issues”, then they are already treading in deep water. Obviously the FDA has them under scrutiny. As would the IRS on a taxpayer who continuously had “questionable” entries on their records as well. It becomes not a matter of innocent until proven guilty, but suspicious until proven consistently, reliably and dependably accurate. We’re in the 2nd millenium now, ideally living in an enlightened day and age. These mega manufacturers aren’t new to the “game”, know exactly what they’re doing and how to do it right, only if they wish to. Given Evanger’s no sympathy, or a moment of doubt as to their intentions. Perception is 9/10 ths of any “truth”. And Evanger’s knows how to play the game most wisely.


  12. Twisting facts regarding food testing works pretty well for those not paying attention and Im glad you caught this, Phyllis. Nothing surprises me anymore with pet food companies. I learned long ago that while a company may say they care about you and your pet, the bottom line is their profit. Ive seen too many a company slather media with “caring” promises, but then all of a sudden when there is a recall, they go quiet. Do they use the same venues to post about their recalls? No. They Tweet or Facebook all over the place to market their product but go silent when they are recalling a food. Or if they do say anything, they say its “voluntary” which right now is the only type of pet food recall there is, although soon FDA will have recall authority and I love it.

    Shelley, I may not share your belief that Evangers is innocent and that FDA is “out to get them” but I admire your willingness to defend them at such length. Im curious, what will you do if you find they have been dishonest with you?


  13. I find it interesting the Evanger’s owners are under investigation (or were in 2010) for stealing over $500,000 in utilities that they re-routed so they wouldn’t have to pay for them both at their house and at their plant. In addition, they are being charged with money laundering, although there are no details on what that charge. If this is true, I hardly think they would blink at leaving duck out of their product to cut some corners and then in a panic send their own lab a sample with duck in it to counter the FDA inspectors – or if they knew the inspector was coming, creating a batch with duck in it for the inspection but then the FDA surprised them by taking a sample made in another batch. Just a thought.


    1. Actually it was close to $2,000,000. But hey, who’s counting? A half a mil here a half a mil there…


  14. Unbelievable. I’m speechless.

    Thanks for pointing out this discrepancy. I must admit I did not catch it.

    However, when I went to Evanger’s website they did not have a copy of the test results from their lab up on their website, just their version of events.

    Thanks FBL!


      1. Thanks Phyllis,

        but I just went to Evanger’s website and sure enough, they changed the wording of their reply to the FDA’s Warning Letter entirely and now there actually is a copy of the lab report, whereas before it was nothing but a broken link.

        Good job on spotting their….uh…”discrepancy”…”oversight”…”boo boo” (take your pick) Phyllis!

        Bill, I understand…I should be bald as a billiard ball by now, because when I hear about stuff like this I want to tear my hair out!


  15. At times the hair on my bald head wants to stand up when I read arguments like this between regulator and the regulated. Surely each party should record the product and batch identification properly; however, I feel that such results should also be accompanied by the check sample or performance test results of the analyst for at least 3 checks. It is my opinion that too much science is done by certified labs and analysts who follow a method but may never have had their performance certified at the analyst level. Many years ago I worked for an ingredient supplier and the product was somewhat unusual as far as testing preparation was concerned. What was interesting was that consulting laboratories never refused to accept to do the analysis; however, the disclaimers on the result reports were such that any result could not be related to the batch of product sampled. Here in Canada we have had a number of public scandals related to medical and legal analytical results recently and publication of performance test results for analysts would help reduce such problems.


  16. The lot # Evanger’s tested was: #2401E02DK2 (it is written in their press release). Let us know if this is the same lot number the FDA tested, and if it is, I think Evanger’s will prove their case. It seems the FDA is out to get them, and this time Evanger’s actually was able to prove FDA was wrong with test results.


  17. @Shelley:- The Grain Free Duck can be found under Game Meats. It is not listed under the “Super Premium” line. The only Duck-containing food listed as Super Premium is the Duck & Sweet Potato. FDA’s warning letter specifically refers to “Grain-Free Duck”, without stating a lot number. FDA took its samples during the inspection, but not necessarily from the batch that was in production the day(s) of the inspection.

    Evanger had their analysis performed on Super Premium Duck, which the company says was in production the day of the FDA inspection.

    I have contacted FDA with a request for clarification, including the lot number of the Grain-Free Duck product that they tested.


  18. Okay. I just went to their website and only found one duck, which is the “Grain Free Duck” in the “Super Premium” line of food…..There is a duck & sweet potato, but I think the FDA would have called it Duck & Sweet Potato not just Duck.
    Also, if the batch number is identical that was tested by both parties, doesn’t that mean it was the same food????


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