Smucker confirms euthanasia drug in popular dog food brands

Recall includes Gravy Train, Kibbles ’N Bits, Skippy, Ol’ Roy; FDA’s investigation, testing ongoing

Phote Illustration

The FDA has posted notice of a voluntary recall by The J.M. Smucker Company Inc. of canned dog food after the company confirmed pentobarbital in tallow used to manufactured the affected products.

In all, the recall covers more than 107 million cans of dog food in several flavors sold under the Gravy Train, Kibbles ’N Bits, Skippy and Ol’ Roy brands. Big Heart Pet Brands distributed the Gravy Train, Kibbles ’N Bits and Skippy dog food to retailers nationwide. Walmart Stores Inc. distributed the Ol’ Roy dog food.

Initially, the Food and Drug Administration FDA had agreed to allow Smucker to issue a “product withdrawal,” pending the results of lab tests. Once pentobarbital contamination was confirmed by the company itself, Smucker agreed to a voluntary recall.

Pentobarbital is a chemical sedative used by veterinarians to euthanize animals. The presence of it at any level in a pet food is illegal, and renders the product adulterated under federal law.

The recalled dog food is sold in individual cans and multi-can packs. Smucker products included in the recall are:

The recalled dog food is sold in individual cans and multi-can packs. Smucker products included in the recall are:

  • Gravy Train With Lamb & Rice Chunks, packaged in metal cans with Net WT 13.2 OZ; UPC: 7910005430 on flat case and 7910052543 on cans. Best By range 10 25 19 thru 02 09 2021; Code range: 6299 through 8040, each with the suffix plant number 803.
  • Gravy Train; With T-Bone Flavor Chunks; packaged in metal cans with Net WT 13.2 OZ; UPC: 7910005410 on flat case and 7910052541 on cans. Best By range 10 25 19 thru 02 09 2021; Code range: 6299 through 8040, each with the suffix plant number 803
  • Gravy Train With Beef Chunks; packaged in metal cans with Net WT 22 OZ and UPC: 7910051647 on flat case and 7910051647 on cans; or with Net WT 13.5 OZ and UPC: 7910052457 on flat case and 79100034417 on cans. Best By range 10 25 19 thru 02 09 2021; Code range: 6299 through 8040, each with the suffix plant number 803
  • Gravy Train With Chicken Chunks; packaged in metal cans; Net WT 22 OZ with UPC: 7910051645 on flat case and 7910051645 on cans; and Net WT 13.2 OZ with UPC: 7910052458 on flat case and 7910034418 on cans. Best By range 10 25 19 thru 02 09 2021; Code range: 6299 through 8040, each with the suffix plant number 803
  • Gravy Train With Strips In Gravy; packaged in metal cans with Net WT 13.2 OZ; UPC: 7910005420 on flat case and 7910052542 on cans. Best By range 10 25 19 thru 02 09 2021; Code range: 6299 through 8040, each with the suffix plant number 803
  • Ol’ Roy Dog Food Strips in Gravy With Turkey & Bacon; packaged in metal cans with Net Wt 13.2 OZ; UPC: 7910017570 on flat case and 8113117570 on cans. Code range: 6299 through 8040, each with the suffix plant number 803; Best By range 10 25 19 thru 02 09 2021
  • Kibbles ‘n Bits brand Dog Food; Chef’s Choice Homestyle Tender Slices With Real Beef, Chicken & Vegetables in Gravy; packaged in metal cans with Net Wt. 13.2 OZ; UPC: 7910052489A on flat case and 7910010380 on cans. Code range: 6299 through 8040, each with the suffix plant number 803; Best By range 10 25 19 thru 02 09 2021
  • Kibbles ‘n Bits brand Dog Food; Chef’s Choice Bistro Tender Cuts With Real Turkey, Bacon & Vegetables; packages in metal cans with Net Wt. 13.2 OZ; UPC: 7910052488A on flat case and 7910010378 on cans. Code range: 6299 through 8040, each with the suffix plant number 803; Best By range 10 25 19 thru 02 09 2021
  • Kibbles ‘n Bits brand Dog Food; Chef’s Choice Bistro Tender Cuts With Real Beef & Vegetables In Gravy; packaged in metal cans with Net Wt. 13.2 OZ; UPC: 7910052486A on flat case and 7910010375 on cans. Code range: 6299 through 8040, each with the suffix plant number 803; Best By range 10 25 19 thru 02 09 2021
  • Skippy Premium Chunks in gravy; Chunky Stew; packaged in metal cans with Net Wt. 13.2 OZ; UPC: 7910052469 on flat case and 7910050249 on cans. Code range: 6299 through 8040, each with the suffix plant number 803; Best By range 10 25 19 thru 02 09 2021
  • Skippy Premium Chunks in gravy; With Beef; packaged in metal cans with Net Wt. 13.2 OZ; UPC: 7910052508 on flat case and 7910050250 on cans. Code range: 6299 through 8040, each with the suffix plant number 803; Best By range 10 25 19 thru 02 09 2021
  • Skippy Premium Strips in Gravy; With Beef; packaged in metal cans with Net Wt. 13.2 OZ; UPC: 7910052509 on flat case and 7910050245 on cans. Code range: 6299 through 8040, each with the suffix plant number 803; Best By range 10 25 19 thru 02 09 2021
  • Kibbles ‘n Bits 12 Can Variety Pack; Chef’s Choice Bistro, containing 4 cans of Hearty Cuts with Real Beef, Chicken & Vegetables In Gravy; Chef’s Choice Homestyle, 4 cans of Meatballs & Pasta Dinner with Real Beef in Tomato Sauce; Chef’s Choice Bistro, and 4 cans of Bistro Tender Cuts With Real Turkey, Bacon & Vegetables in Gravy; packaged in metal cans with 12 – 13.2 OZ Cans per case; Total Net Wt 9 LB 14 OZ; Variety Pack paper box UPC: 7910027750; These packages are not meant for individual can sales and are sold as a 12 can Variety Pack. Code range: 6299 through 8040, each with the suffix plant number 803; Best By range 10 25 19 thru 02 09 2021
  • Kibbles ‘n Bits 12 Can Variety Pack; containing 4 cans of Chef’s Choice Bistro, Hearty Cuts with Real Beef, Chicken & Vegetables In Gravy; 4 cans of Chef’s Choice Homestyle, Meatballs & Pasta Dinner with Real Beef in Tomato Sauce; and 4 cans of Chef’s Choice Bistro, Bistro Tender Cuts With Real Turkey, Bacon & Vegetables in Gravy; packaged in metal cans with 12 – 13.2 OZ Cans per case; Total Net Wt 9 LB 14 OZ; Variety Pack paper box UPC: 7910027750. These packages are not meant for individual can sales and are sold as a 12 can Variety Pack. Code range: 6299 through 8040, each with the suffix plant number 803; Best By range 10 25 19 thru 02 09 2021
  • Kibbles ‘n Bits 12 Can Variety Pack; containing 6 cans of Chef’s Choice American Grill, Burger Dinner With Real Bacon & Cheese Bits In Gravy; and 6 cans of Chef’s Choice Bistro, Tender Cuts With Real Turkey, Bacon & Vegetables In Gravy; packages in metal cans with 12 – 13.2 OZ cans per case; Total Net Wt 9 LB 14 OZ; Variety Pack paper box UPC: 7910027685. These packages are not meant for individual can sales and are sold as a 12 can Variety Pack. Code range: 6299 through 8040, each with the suffix plant number 803; Best By range 10 25 19 thru 02 09 2021

Excluded from Friday’s voluntary recall are a number of products reported previously by Food Safety News to have been withdrawn from the market, based on information obtained directly from the company. FDA has not yet resolved this discrepancy, an agency spokesperson said.

Test results are still pending on finished product samples collected by FDA, and the agency is continuing its investigation.

What consumers should know
Pets should not be fed any of the recalled products. Consumers should safely dispose of the recalled cans of pet food and/or contact the company or the place of purchase for information about returning the products.

Pets that consume a food containing pentobarbital can experience drowsiness, dizziness, excitement, loss of balance, nausea, inability to stand and nystagmus, which causes the eyes to move back and forth in a jerky manner. Consuming high levels of pentobarbital can cause coma and death. However, low levels of pentobarbital are unlikely to pose a health risk to pets, according to FDA.

People who think their pets have become ill after consuming pet food contaminated with pentobarbital should contact their veterinarians.

The FDA encourages consumers to report complaints about this and other pet food products electronically through the Safety Reporting Portal or by calling their state’s FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinators.

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

FDA, Smucker don’t agree on which dog foods are problem

The Food and Drug Administration alerted pet owners Friday about potential pentobarbital contamination in several brands of dog foods manufactured by The J.M. Smucker Co.

The warning came after a media outlet reported the results of a study that found low levels of pentobarbital in some samples of Gravy Train canned dog food. The drug is used to euthanize animals.

Based on the testing results provided to FDA, the agency has made a preliminary evaluation that the level of pentobarbital found in the samples is “unlikely to post a health risk for pets.”

However, the presence of pentobarbital at any level in pet food is a violation of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, and FDA therefore is investigating the potential source and route of contamination.

Smucker responded to the findings of the private study by initiating a voluntary business-to-business withdrawal of certain Gravy Train, Kibbles ’N Bits, Ol’ Roy and Skippy branded canned dog food from retailer warehouses.

According to FDA, the list of affected products (shown below) includes all lots of the specified products manufactured from 2016 through the present. The products were distributed to retailers across the USA.

A comparison of the FDA list to a list of 27 products provided to Food Safety News Thursday by a Smucker spokesperson reveals significant differences.

While all 18 products on the FDA list were included in the Smucker information, several Gravy Train, Skippy and Kibbles ’N Bits products named by the company were absent from the FDA list.

“Out of a desire to inform consumers quickly, earlier this week we published a list of products that included the ingredient that could have contained extremely low levels of pentobarbital, regardless of whether the products were manufactured during the withdrawal timeframe. The FDA chose to focus on products made within a specific timeframe,” a Smucker spokesperson told Food Safety News.

FDA is aware of these differences and has requested clarification from Smucker regarding the status of the additional products, according to a statement added to the agency’s consumer alert notice several hours after its initial release.

Although Smucker has not initiated a consumer-level product recall, as of Friday, Target, Walmart, PetSmart and the Department of Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA) have alerted their customers to the product withdrawals.

FDA advice to retailers, consumers
Retailers should remove the withdrawn pet food from their shelves and/or websites and contact the manufacturer for further instructions. If retailers have records to identify consumers who have purchased the withdrawn product, the FDA encourages those retailers to contact the consumers to alert about the product withdrawal.

Consumers should not feed their pets the withdrawn lots of canned dog food. Consumers who purchased these products should safely dispose of the cans and/or contact the Sucker company for information about returning the products.

Consumers who think their pets may be ill from eating food contaminated with pentobarbital should contact their veterinarians immediately.

The FDA encourages consumers to report complaints about this and other pet food products electronically through the Safety Reporting Portal or by calling their state’s FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinators.

In addition to certain Skippy and Kibbles ‘n’ Bits dog foods, the Smucker Co. is pulling Gravy Train and Ol’ Roy brands.

Canned dog food listed by the FDA as being included in the market withdrawal are:

  • Gravy Train with T-Bone Flavor Chunks, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 7910052541
  • Gravy Train with Beef Strips, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 791052542
  • Gravy Train with Lamb & Rice Chunks, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 7910052543
  • Gravy Train with Chicken Chunks, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 7910034418
  • Gravy Train with Beef Chunks, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 7910034417
  • Gravy Train with Chicken Chunks, 22-ounce can, UPC 7910051645
  • Gravy Train with Beef Chunks, 22-ounce can, UPC 7910051647
  • Gravy Train Chunks in Gravy with Beef Chunks, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 7910034417
  • Kibbles ‘N Bits 12-can Variety Pack – Chef’s Choice American Grill Burger Dinner with Real Bacon & Cheese Bits in Gravy, Chef’s Choice Bistro Tender Cuts with Real Turkey Bacon & Vegetables in Gravy, 12 pack of 13.2-ounce cans, UPC 7910010377, 7910010378
  • Kibbles ‘N Bits 12-Can Variety Pack – Chef’s Choice Bistro Hearty Cuts with Real Beef, Chicken & Vegetables in Gravy, Chef’s Choice Homestyle Meatballs & Pasta Dinner with Real Beef in Tomato Sauce, 12 pack of 13.2-ounce cans, UPC 7910010382, 7910048367, 7910010378
  • Kibbles ‘N Bits 12-Can Variety Pack – Chef’s Choice Homestyle Tender Slices with Real Beef, Chicken & Vegetables in Gravy, Chef’s Choice American Grill Burger Dinner with Real Bacon & Cheese Bits in Gravy, Chef’s Choice Bistro Tender Cuts with Real Beef & Vegetables in Gravy, 12 pack of 13.2-ounce cans, UPC 7910010380, 7910010377, 7910010375
  • Kibbles ‘N Bits Chef’s Choice Bistro Tender Cuts with Real Beef & Vegetables in Gravy, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 7910010375
  • Kibbles ‘N Bits Chef’s Choice Bistro Tender Cuts with Real Turkey, Bacon & Vegetables in Gravy, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 7910010378
  • Kibbles ‘N Bits Chef’s Choice Homestyle Tender Slices with Real Beef, Chicken & Vegetables in Gravy, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 7910010380
  • Ol’ Roy Strips Turkey Bacon, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 8113117570
  • Skippy Premium Chunks in Gravy Chunky Stew, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 79100502469
  • Skippy Premium Chunks in Gravy with Beef, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 7910050250
  • Skippy Premium Strips in Gravy with Beef, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 7910050245

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

Gravy Train, Ol’ Roy, other brands recalled for euthanasia drug

Smucker Co. downplays phenobarbital amid ‘withdrawal’ of four dog food brands

The J.M. Smucker Co. has voluntarily withdrawn certain shipments of 27 different pet food products following media reports of pentobarbital contamination in some of its Gravy Train dog food.

Pentobarbital is a tranquilizer that is often used as a euthanizing agent to put down sick or fatally injured animals.

A consumer-level product recall has not been initiated. As of Wednesday afternoon neither Smucker nor any government agencies had revealed whether any of the implicated dog food made it to retail shelves where the public has access to buy it.

Smucker’s spokesperson provided Food Safety News a list of the recalled dog food, which it has requested retailers remove from their warehouses. The list of recalled dog food provided by Smucker is as follows:

  • Gravy Train 13.2 oz. with T-Bone Flavor Chunks – UPC: 7910052541
  • Gravy Train 13.2 oz. with Beef Strips – UPC: 7910052542
  • Gravy Train 13.2 oz. with Lamb and Rice Chunks – UPC: 7910052543
  • Gravy Train 13.2 oz. with Beef Chunks – UPC: 7910034417
  • Gravy Train 13.2 oz. with Chicken Chunks – UPC: 7910034418
  • Gravy Train 13.2 oz. Chunks in Gravy Stew – UPC: 7910051933
  • Gravy Train 13.2 oz. Chicken, Beef & Liver Medley – UPC: 7910051934
  • Gravy Train 13.2 oz. Chunks in Gravy with Beef Chunks – UPC: 7910034417
  • Gravy Train 22 oz. with Chicken Chunks – UPC: 7910051645
  • Gravy Train 22 oz. with Beef Chunks – UPC: 7910051647
  • In addition to certain Skippy and Kibbles ‘n’ Bits dog foods, the Smucker Co. is pulling Gravy Train and Ol’ Roy brands.

    Kibbles ‘N Bits 13.2 oz. Burger Bacon Cheese and Turkey Bacon Vegetable Variety 12-Pack – UPC: 7910010377; 7910010378

  • Kibbles ‘N Bits 13.2 oz. Beef, Chicken, Vegetable, Meatball Pasta and Turkey Bacon Vegetable Variety Pack – UPC: 7910010382; 7910048367; 7910010378
  • Kibbles ‘N Bits 13.2 oz. Beef, Chicken, Vegetable, Burger Bacon Cheese and Beef Vegetable Variety Pack – UPC: 7910010380; 7910010377; 7910010375
  • Kibbles ‘N Bits 13.2 oz. Wet Variety Pack – UPC: 791001037; 7910048367
  • Kibbles ‘N Bits 13.2 oz. Chef’s Choice Bistro Tender Cuts with Real Beef & Vegetable in Gravy – UPC: 7910010375
  • Kibbles ‘N Bits 13.2 oz. Chef’s Choice Bistro Tender Cuts with Real Turkey, Bacon & Vegetable in Gravy – UPC: 7910010378
  • Kibbles ‘N Bits 13.2 oz. Chef’s Choice Homestyle Tender Slices with Real Beef, Chicken & Vegetables in Gravy – UPC: 7910010380
  • Skippy 13.2 oz. Premium Select Cuts in Gravy with Beef & Bone Marrow – UPC: 7910071860
  • Skippy 13.2 oz. Premium Select Cuts with Burgers & Cheese Bits – UPC: 7910050243
  • Skippy 13.2 oz. Premium Chunks in Gravy with Smoky Turkey & Bacon – UPC: 7910050246
  • Skippy 13.2 oz. Premium Chunks in Gravy with Beef & Chicken – UPC: 7910050247
  • Skippy 13.2 oz. Premium Chunks in Gravy 3 in 1 Chicken, Beef & Liver – UPC: 7910050248
  • Skippy 13.2 oz. Premium Chunks in Gravy Chunky Stew – UPC: 7910050249
  • Skippy 13.2 oz. Premium Strips in Gravy with Chicken – UPC: 7910050244
  • Skippy 13.2 oz, Premium Chunks in Gravy with Beef – UPC: 7910050250
  • Skippy 13.2 oz. Premium Strips in Gravy with Beef – UPC: 7910050245
  • Ol’ Roy 13.2 oz Turkey Bacon Strips – UPC: 8113117570

Smucker initiated the product withdrawal following a Feb. 8 media report of low levels of pentobarbital contamination in some Gravy Train products.

The contamination was detected during the course of a study commissioned by WJLA, a Washington D.C. area station, according to a spokesperson from the Clean Label Project, which conducted the study for the news station. Gravy Train was the only brand of pet food included in the study that was found to contain pentobarbital.

The study was undertaken in response to the 2017 discovery of pentobarbital in brands of canned/wet dog food manufactured by Evanger’s Dog & Cat Food Co. Inc., an adulteration that resulted in illnesses of several pets and at least one death.

Beginning in October 2017, Clean Label Project obtained 99 retail samples of various brands of canned/wet dog food for pentobarbital analysis by Ellipse Analytics, a Denver laboratory.

The samples were analyzed to determine both the presence and the amount of pentobarbital in the dog foods, using test methods consistent with FDA protocols. According to Smucker, the amounts of pentobarbital found in their product “…do not pose a threat to pet safety.”

An FDA spokesperson told Food Safety News that the agency’s “…preliminary evaluation of the testing results of Gravy Train samples indicates that the low level of pentobarbital present in the withdrawn products is unlikely to pose a health risk to pets.

“However, pentobarbital should never be present in pet food and products containing any amount of pentobarbital are considered to be adulterated,” said the FDA spokesperson.

All of the products included on Smucker’s retailer recall list came from the same manufacturing facility. The company has narrowed its investigation to “…a single supplier and a single, minor ingredient…” used at that facility.

Jaclyn Bowen, the executive director of Clean Label Project expressed a lack of surprise at the pentobarbital findings.

“At Clean Label Project, we believe that sometimes what’s not on the label is what’s most important,” she said.

“Clean Label Project’s 2017 Pet Food Study revealed high levels of heavy metals, BPA, and acrylamide in some of the nation’s best selling pet food. The presence of pentobarbital in Gravy Train does not come as a surprise and the Evanger’s recall was not a one-off, rather the tip of the iceberg of an industry that needs to significantly improve its food safety and quality through testing.”

Smucker encourages pet owners with questions or concerns about this situation to contact the company by telephone 800-828-9980 or via email at: http://www.bigheartpet.com/Contact/ContactUs.aspx.

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