The Food and Drug Administration said they’re investigating claims made by a Washington D.C.-based news station that a euthanasia drug was found in an alarming amount of Gravy Train dog foods.
WJLA started investigating the matter after Nikki Mael claimed she gave her five dogs Evanger’s pet food on New Years Day 2016 and, within minutes, they were falling over and “convulsing.” One of the dogs died after eating the pet food, leading the family to get the potentially-lethal food tested.
Mael said they were horrified to learn that the sample tested positive for pentobarbital–a drug used to euthanize dogs, cats, and even horses.
Alarmingly, it wasn’t until February 2017 that the FDA notified the public that Evanger’s was recalling all it’s “chunk beef” products because they were found to contain the lethal barbiturate. The agency mentioned Mael’s case in its notice.
The woman’s story led WJLA to partner with Ellipse Analytics to see how often the pentobarbital was used in pet foods. After testing 62 samples of wet dog food, across more than 24 brands, only one brand reportedly came back positive for the euthanasia drug: Gravy Train.
The station reported that they tested 15 cans of Gravy Train pet food and found that 60 percent of them contained pentobarbital. Though it wasn’t a lethal amount, pentobarbital is banned in any concentration under federal law.
Dr. Nicholas Dodman, chief scientific officer for The Center for Canine Behavior Studies questioned whether pentobarbital was getting into the pet food because the company was using animals that were euthanized.
“So, these animals could be dogs, they could be cats, they could be horses – but how is it getting into the pet food? If they say it doesn’t come from dogs, cats, and horses where does it come from?” he told the station.
“It doesn’t come from outer space.”
Gravy Train is produced by Big Heart Pet Foods, which is owned by Smucker’s. Big Heart also produces Meow Mix, Kibbles n Bits, and 9 Lives, to name a few.
In a statement, the FDA said Thursday that they’re investigating after receiving WJLA’s explosive report.
“If a pet food contains pentobarbital, the FDA will investigate and take appropriate enforcement action. We plan to review the results and determine appropriate action,” the agency said.
[Featured Image: Pixabay]