JM Smucker Co. voluntarily withdrew some shipments of 27 pet food products after media reports of pentobarbital contamination was found in some of its dog food brand Gravy Train.
Pentobarbital is a tranquilizer used often times as an agent for euthanizing fatally injured or sick animals.
A product recall at the consumer level has not yet been initiated and as of Thursday morning neither Smucker nor any agencies in the government revealed whether any of the dog food implicated had reached retail store shelves where consumers had access to purchase it.
A spokesperson for Smucker released a list of the dog food recalled, which it requested retailers take from warehouses and store shelves. The company initiated its product withdrawal after a media report on February 8 reported the pentobarbital contamination.
The contamination has been detected during a study that was commissioned by a news station in Washington, D.C. The Clean Label Project conducted the study on behalf of WJIA.
The only pet food brand tested in the study that was found to have traces of pentobarbital was Gravy Train. The study was carried out in response to a discovery in 2017 of pentobarbital in wet/canned dog food brands made by the Evanger’s Dog and Cat Food Co., and resulted in several pets becoming ill and at least one dying.
Starting in October of 2017, the Clean Label Project received 99 samples of different brands of wet/canned dog food to conduct an analysis for pentobarbital.
The samples were then analyzed to determine presence and amounts of pentobarbital in the dog food using methods that are consistent with protocols used by the FDA.
Smucker said that the amounts of pentobarbital discovered in their product were not a threat to the safety of pets.
A spokesperson for the FDA said this week that the regulatory agency’s first evaluation of the results from testing samples of Gravy Train indicates that the there is a low level presence of pentobarbital in product that was withdrawn but is not likely to pose any health risk to pets.
The spokesperson for the FDA continued to say that pentobarbital should not ever be present in any pet food and those products containing pentobarbital, regardless of the amount, are considered adulterated.
All products included on the retailer’s recall list supplied by Smucker came from one manufacturing facility. The investigation by the company has been narrowed to one supplier and a minor ingredient that was used at the facility.