Shipments of a handful of major dog food brands are being frozen as samples have tested positive for a drug commonly used to euthanize animals. The J.M. Smucker Co., most well-known for its jams and jellies marketed under the Smucker’s label, is also the owner several dog food brands including Kibbles ‘n Bits, Gravy Train, Ol’ Roy, and Skippy. Wet canned versions of those brands are now being pulled from stores.
WJLA in Washington, DC, investigated claims from a pet owner who said her dogs became violently ill after she fed them a can of Evanger’s dog food. A vet wasn’t able to save one of the animals, and the owner was steadfast in her claims that the food is what killed the canine. Subsequent tests revealed the presence of the drug pentobarbital, a common euthanasia drug, in the animal’s system.
WJLA then teamed up with a food testing lab and launched a months-long testing process of various brands of dog food. After testing and confirming the results of dozens of samples, they discovered the presence of pentobarbital in over half of the cans of wet canned Gravy Train dog food. The brand is part of Big Heart Brands, owned by The J.M. Smucker Co., which is now recalling Gravy Train as well as several of its other dog food brands.
As WJLA notes, Big Heart Brands is also responsible for Meow Mix, Milk Bone, Kibbles’n Bits, 9 Lives, Natural Balance, Pup-Peroni, Gravy Train, Nature’s Recipe, Canine Carry Outs, Milo’s Kitchen, Alley Cat, Jerky Treats, Meaty Bone, Pounce and Snausages. That’s millions and millions of animals relying on a single company to keep its food safe. That trust appears to have been misplaced.
The company says it believes the food was contaminated due to a specific ingredient from one of its suppliers, but hasn’t gone into great detail. The amount of the drug found in the tested food would not necessarily be enough to cause harm to an animal, but its mere presence is more than enough to warrant a full investigation. The FDA is investigating the contamination but hasn’t released a statement on its findings.