Evanger’s sues supplier; says beef included tainted horse meat

Evanger’s Dog & Cat Food Company Inc. is suing Bailey Farms LLC, claiming that the meat supplier was at fault for a euthanasia drug found in Hunk of Beef and Against the Grain dog foods made by Evanger’s.

The suit, filed in the Circuit Court of Cook County in Illinois on April 25, names Bailey Farms LLC as the sole supplier of meat for Evanger’s Hunk of Beef canned dog food. Holly and Joel Sher, owners of the Wheeling, IL, Evanger’s want $20 million in punitive damages from Bailey Farms, which is based in Marshall, WI.

Beef supplied by Bailey Farms contained horse meat, according to Evanger’s lawsuit. The company further claims the horse meat was the source of the pentobarbital contamination that sickened several dogs earlier this year, killing at least one.

Evanger’s is seeking unspecified damages, to be proven at trial, recovery of attorney’s fees and costs, and punitive damages of $20 million.

The lawsuit alleges that Evanger’s ordered more than 21 tons of “Hand Deboned Beef” from Bailey Farms in November 2015, and an additional 21 tons of “Inedible Hand Deboned Beef” in late May 2016.

“Inedible” beef is unfit for human consumption according to federal law; however, if not contaminated or adulterated, it may be used in the manufacture of pet food.

As recently as Feb. 9, Evanger’s claimed to use “human-grade USDA inspected meats” in its products. The company updated its website shortly thereafter, dropping the reference to “human-grade” from the description.

The November shipment was used to manufacture Against the Grain Hand Pulled Beef, and the May 2016 order was used in the production of approximately 50,000 cans of Hunk of Beef.

On Feb. 3, Evanger’s recalled five production lots of Hunk of Beef canned dog food after the Food and Drug Administration found pentobarbital, a euthanasia agent, in a sample of the food. Pentobarbital is a barbiturate that is used by veterinarians and animal shelters to euthanize animals.

On Feb. 14, Evanger’s recalled a single production lot of Against the Grain Hand Pulled Beef canned dog food after FDA detected pentobarbital in a sample of the product.

On March 3, 2017, Evanger’s recalled all “chunk beef” products manufactured between December 2015 and January 2017, due to the possible presence of pentobarbital in these products. All of the recalled products contained meat from a single supplier, according to the company.

This story first appeared in Food Safety News and is reposted here with permission.

Editorial comment: This is a fine example of the pot calling the kettle black. As recently as February 9, 2017, Evanger’s was proclaiming its use of “human-grade USDA inspected meats.” The suit filed last week reveals that the company placed an order with Bailey Farms for ‘inedible’ beef.