Second class action suit filed in pentobarbital pet food scandal

Texas pet owner Wendy Black has initiated a complaint seeking class action status against Party Animal Inc. and Evanger’s Dog and Cat Food Company, Inc.

The suit, filed June 6 in the Superior Court for Los Angeles County’s Central District seeks damages “…on behalf of all persons who purchased Party Animal organic brand dog food … in the four years prior to the filing of this complaint.”

Evanger’s produced the dog food for Party Animal.

Black fed two varieties of Party Animal’s Cocolicious canned dog food to Bianca, a miniature Schnauzer she was fostering, according to the complaint. Bianca allegedly became severely ill after consuming the dog food, requiring veterinary visits, including administration of IV fluids.

In early March, realizing that Bianca’s ongoing illness appeared to be linked to consumption of the Party Animal food, Black communicated in writing with the retailer where she bought it. Shortly thereafter, she was contacted by a representative of Evanger’s, who instructed her to assemble the remaining cans of food in her possession for pick-up by Federal Express, promising to replace the cans with a different food at no cost.

Black returned some of the food, but retained a portion, submitting a sample to Texas A&M University for testing. The test result was positive for pentobarbital, according to the lawsuit.

Following receipt of the pentobarbital test result, Black requested tests to determine whether the Cocolicious pet food ingredient label was accurate. According to her lawsuit, lab tests revealed that the sample, which was purported to contain coconut oil, “… did not contain coconut or coconut compounds as advertised.”

Black is seeking “…appropriate compensatory damages and restitutionary disgorgement…” for herself and on behalf of others who bought Party Animal dog food, as well as punitive damages. She has requested a jury trial.

On April 24, Party Animal recalled two lots of its Cocolicious canned dog food, manufactured in 2015, because of possible contamination with the animal euthanasia drug pentobarbital. The recalled dog food can be identified by the following label information:

  • Cocolicious Beef & Turkey dog food with the Lot # 0136E15204 04 and a best-by date of July 2019; and
  • Cocolicious Chicken & Beef dog food with the Lot # 0134E15 237 13 and a best-by date of August 2019.

Party Animal Inc. filed suit in federal court in May against Evanger’s Dog and Cat Food Co. Inc. because dog food Evanger’s produced for Party Animal was found to be contaminated with the animal euthanasia drug pentobarbital.

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

Party Animal Inc. sues Evanger’s because of drug in dog food

Party Animal Inc. has filed suit in federal court against Evanger’s Dog and Cat Food Co. Inc. because dog food Evanger’s produced for Party Animal was found to be contaminated with the animal euthanasia drug pentobarbital.

The Food and Drug Administration confirmed the presence of the drug during testing after a consumer complaint. Two varieties of Party Animal’s Cocolicious dog food tested positive for the drug, which was found earlier this year in Evanger’s branded dog food after several dogs became ill. One of those dogs died despite emergency medical care.

On April 24, Party Animal recalled 13-ounce cans of “Cocolicious Beef & Turkey” dog food, lot 0136E15204 04 with a best-by date of July 2019, and “Cocolicious Chicken & Beef” dog food, lot 0134E15 237 13 with a best-by date of August 2019, after learning about the potential contamination from a customer.

The 13-page suit, filed May 5 in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, lists eight complaints and claims damages in excess of $20 million. Also named as a defendant in the case is Evanger’s sister company, and Nutripack LLC.

The complaint outlines several counts, including:

  • Breach of written contract;
  • Breach of oral contract;
  • Breach of implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing;
  • Fraud;
  • Negligent misrepresentation;
  • Breach of implied warranty;
  • Breach of express warranties; and
  • Implied indemnity.

In February, Evanger’s recalled certain production lots of Evanger’s brand “Hunk of Beef” and Against the Grain brand “Pulled Beef” canned dog foods after pentobarbital was found in samples of both products. Evanger’s expanded the recall in March 2017 to include all products manufactured using meat from a single supplier during a specific time period.

In its own $20 million lawsuit, filed in Cook County, IL, on April 25, Evanger’s named Bailey Farms LLC as the supplier of meat used in the recalled dog foods, accusing the meat company of breach of contract, breach of implied warranties and fraud.

Party Animal’s fraud complaint against Evanger’s is based on the manufacturer’s claim of USDA organic certification for the two recalled products.

Bailey Farms LLC is not listed as a certified organic operation in the USDA Organic Integrity Database. Therefore, meat supplied by Bailey Farms would not qualify for the USDA’s organic certification.

According to the database maintained by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Evanger’s received certified organic status for certain of its products in 2010. “Cocolicious Beef & Turkey,” and “Cocolicious Chicken & Beef” canned dog foods were added to the USDA organic database effective Aug. 14, 2015.

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

More pentobarbital-contaminated dog food reported

Two varieties of Party Animal canned dog food may be contaminated with pentobarbital, according to a test report from Texas A&M University released this week.

The report was provided to blogger Susan Thixton of Truth About Pet Food by a consumer who arranged for the testing after a family pet became ill. The consumer has not been identified. The test report was supplied by Thixton to the Food and Drug Administration April 17.

“The FDA has received test results of this food and is aware of the public statement from Party Animal, and is following up as appropriate,” according to a spokesperson with FDA.

A statement posted on the Party Animal Pet Food website confirms that it was informed by a retailer of the problem on April 13. The company has contacted the two Texas retailers who may have sold the food to the customer, and has requested that all remaining cans of the implicated production lots be isolated and returned for independent third-party testing. Party Animal also will be retrieving all remaining nationwide stock of the two production lots.

Party Animal Inc. is incorporated in California and is headquartered in West Hollywood, CA. Its principals are Chief Executive Officer and Secretary Daryl Alan Abrams and Chief Financial Officer Shawna Denae Abrams.

The implicated products, which the company reports were manufactured in 2015, are:

  • Cocolicious Beef & Turkey, Lot #0136E15204 04
  • Cocolicious Chicken & Beef, Lot #0134E15 237 13

In 2015, Party Animal canned pet foods were manufactured by Evanger’s Dog & Cat Food Co. according to an interview published in Pet Product News. Earlier this year, Evangers recalled several months worth of three beef-based canned dog foods after samples from two different products were determined to contain pentobarbital. The recalled products were manufactured in 2015.

According to the statement on its website, Party Animal has “… submitted many recent lots of [its] beef flavors for testing and all have tested negative for any pentobarbital.”

“We have also had extensive discussions with our manufacturer regarding the potential cause of the reported contamination of the 2015 lots,” the company states, “and we will continue with such discussions even as we await testing results for the 2015 lots. In order to ensure adherence to our commitment to the safety of pets, we are also actively re-examining our manufacturing processes.”

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