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FDA Warning: Euthanasia Drug Found in Wet Dog Food

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Feb. 16, 2018 -- The FDA on Friday warned pet owners that several popular brands of dog food has been found to include small amounts of a drug used to euthanize animals. 

The agency says it is investigating how pentobarbital wound up in certain shipments of Gravy Train, Kibbles 'N Bits, Ol’ Roy, and Skippy canned wet dog food.

"The FDA’s preliminary evaluation of the testing results of Gravy Train samples indicates that the low level of pentobarbital present in the withdrawn products is unlikely to pose a health risk to pets," the agency says in its advisory. "However, pentobarbital should never be present in pet food and products containing any amount of pentobarbital are considered to be adulterated."

J.M. Smucker Co., owner of the brands in question, said it has pulled specific shipments of Gravy Train, Kibbles 'N Bits, Ol’ Roy, and Skippy canned wet dog food.

The move, which is not considered an official recall, came after a Washington, D.C., television station said it had several varieties of dog food tested in an independent lab. Those results, WJLA said, found several products that tested positive for pentobarbital. Pentobarbital is a barbiturate drug that is most commonly used in animals as a sedative, anesthetic, or for euthanasia, the FDA says.

An agency spokeswoman told WebMD on Wednesday that the FDA is "thoroughly reviewing" the state's results and that the "agency will determine appropriate action."

“Veterinarians and animal nutrition specialists, as well as the FDA, have confirmed that extremely low levels of pentobarbital, like the levels reported to be in select shipments, do not pose a threat to pet safety,” J.M. Smucker Co. spokesman Ray Hancart told WebMD in a statement. “However, the presence of this substance at any level is not acceptable to us and not up to our quality standards. We sincerely apologize for the concern this has caused.”

Hancart says customers with questions or concerns can call 800-828-9980 or email the company through its website.

Hancart says the company continues to investigate and is “extremely disappointed that pentobarbital was introduced to our supply chain.”

The company has narrowed its focus to a single supplier and one minor ingredient used at a single manufacturing facility.

According to the FDA, a withdrawal happens when a company removes a product from stores over a “minor violation that would not be subject to legal action by the FDA.” A recall is when products are removed or corrected over what “the FDA considers to be in violation of the laws it administers and against which the agency would initiate legal action, e.g., seizure.”

The following products are included in the withdrawal:

Gravy Train canned/wet dog food

• Gravy Train 13.2 oz. with T-Bone Flavor Chunks (UPC: 7910052541)

• Gravy Train 13.2 oz. with Beef Strips (UPC: 7910052542)

• Gravy Train 13.2 oz. with Lamb and Rice Chunks (UPC: 7910052543)

• Gravy Train 13.2 oz. with Beef Chunks (UPC: 7910034417)

• Gravy Train 13.2 oz. with Chicken Chunks (UPC: 7910034418)

• Gravy Train 13.2 oz. Chunks in Gravy Stew (UPC: 7910051933)

• Gravy Train 13.2 oz. Chicken, Beef & Liver Medley (UPC: 7910051934)

• Gravy Train 13.2 oz. Chunks in Gravy with Beef Chunks (UPC: 7910034417)

• Gravy Train 22 oz. with Chicken Chunks (UPC: 7910051645)

• Gravy Train 22 oz. with Beef Chunks (UPC: 7910051647)

Kibbles 'N Bits canned/wet dog food

• Kibbles 'N Bits 13.2 oz. Burger Bacon Cheese and Turkey Bacon Vegetable Variety 12-Pack (UPC: 7910010377; 7910010378)

• Kibbles 'N Bits 13.2 oz. Beef, Chicken, Vegetable, Meatball Pasta and Turkey Bacon Vegetable Variety Pack (UPC: 7910010382; 7910048367; 7910010378)

• Kibbles 'N Bits 13.2 oz. Beef, Chicken, Vegetable, Burger Bacon Cheese and Beef Vegetable Variety Pack (UPC: 7910010380; 7910010377; 7910010375)

• Kibbles 'N Bits 13.2 oz. Wet Variety Pack (UPC: 791001037; 7910048367)

• Kibbles 'N Bits 13.2 oz. Chef’s Choice Bistro Tender Cuts with Real Beef & Vegetable in Gravy (UPC: 7910010375)

• Kibbles 'N Bits 13.2 oz. Chef’s Choice Bistro Tender Cuts with Real Turkey, Bacon & Vegetable in Gravy (UPC: 7910010378)

• Kibbles 'N Bits 13.2 oz. Chef’s Choice Homestyle Tender Slices with Real Beef, Chicken & Vegetables in Gravy (UPC: 7910010380)

Skippy canned/wet dog food

• Skippy 13.2 oz. Premium Select Cuts in Gravy with Beef & Bone Marrow (UPC: 7910071860)

• Skippy 13.2 oz. Premium Select Cuts with Burgers & Cheese Bits (UPC: 7910050243)

• Skippy 13.2 oz. Premium Chunks in Gravy with Smoky Turkey & Bacon (UPC: 7910050246)

• Skippy 13.2 oz. Premium Chunks in Gravy with Beef & Chicken (UPC: 7910050247)

• Skippy 13.2 oz. Premium Chunks in Gravy 3 in 1 Chicken, Beef & Liver (UPC: 7910050248)

• Skippy 13.2 oz. Premium Chunks in Gravy Chunky Stew (UPC: 7910050249)

• Skippy 13.2 oz. Premium Strips in Gravy with Chicken (UPC: 7910050244)

• Skippy 13.2 oz. Premium Chunks in Gravy with Beef (UPC: 7910050250)

• Skippy 13.2 oz. Premium Strips in Gravy with Beef (UPC: 7910050245)

Ol’ Roy canned/wet dog food

• Ol’ Roy 13.2 oz. Turkey Bacon Strips (UPC: 8113117570)

 

WebMD Article Reviewed by Hansa D. Bhargava, MD on February 15, 2018
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