Dog food containing euthanasia drug still on some store shelves despite recall
Whether it's a brick and mortar store or a quick trip down the cyber aisle, recalled dog food – containing the euthanasia drug pentobarbital – may still find its way into your home.
"For a lot of businesses, it's a dollars and cents issue,” attorney Jessica Sleater said. “So they want to keep trying to sell whatever they have."
Sleater is representing the family whose dog died after eating Evanger's dog food. That brand was recalled in early 2017 for containing the euthanasia drug pentobarbital and prompted a series of ABC7 reports that eventually led to our larger investigation into potentially dangerous pet food.
Despite a recall more than two weeks ago, just days ago, ABC7 bought 42 cans of gravy train from a discount store – the lot numbers matching those recalled for pentobarbital contamination.
The cans were on sale for $1 each.
Compared to the normal $2.59, it would seem a good bargain for an unwitting customer.
"I think a lot of companies, if they're smart, they will want to gain the trust of their customers,” Sleater said. “And when people find out stuff like this, maybe they don't want to shop there anymore because they don't know if that product that they're purchasing has been recalled."
ABC7 also ordered the recalled dog food products from Amazon, eBay and the grocery site Foodservicedirect.
All three showed the UPC codes for products the FDA says are contaminated with pentobarbital.
But even when the FDA’s involved, there's no guarantee all products will be removed from shelves, or that manufacturers will be held to meaningful account.
In the case of Evanger’s, which involved a three-brand recall, the death of a dog, the discovery of horse meat in the product and lethal levels of pentobarbital, the FDA recently closed that case with a warning letter to Evanger's, but no other penalty.
"When something like this gets exposed, there's been a recall, people expect there to be a punishment,” Sleater said, “and it's a little bit hard to understand what kind of accountability is out there for these pet food companies when there is no kind of penalty.”
When asked why they closed the case against Evanger’s with no enforcement action, the FDA said because "the firm is no longer using that facility to manufacture animal foods.”
They will, however, continue to inspect the facility Evanger's is now using.