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The J.M. Smucker Company is initiating a recall of certain cans of their Gravy Train®, Kibbles ‘N Bits®, Ol’ Roy®, and Skippy® Wet Dog Food products after due to the presence of the euthanasia drug, pentobarbital.
A letter sent to retailers (acquired by TruthAboutPetFood.com) on February 14, 2018 said:
The J.M. Smucker Company is initiating a voluntary withdrawal of a limited quantity of Gravy Train®, Kibbles ‘N Bits®, Ol’ Roy®, and Skippy® Wet Dog Food products after learning specific SKUs did not meet our specifications because a minor ingredient may contain low levels of pentobarbital. This is not a threat to pet safety. Although the extremely low levels do not present a health or safety risk, their presence in our products is not acceptable to us.
Recalled products include:
UPDATE: On 2/15/18, Ol’ Roy was added to the withdrawn product list: Ol’ Roy Turkey/Bacon 13.2 oz/12 pack cans with UPC code: 68113117570
The recall comes in response to testing performed by ABC News Station WJLA-TV which found pentobarbital present in 60% of cans of Gravy Train dog food tested.
“After months of tests and re-tests, one brand repeatedly came back positive for pentobarbital.
In total, we tested 15 cans of Gravy Train. Nine cans — 60-percent of the sample — were positive for pentobarbital. And while the levels detected were not lethal, under federal law they are also not permitted at any concentration.”
While Smucker’s makes the claim that the levels of pentobarbital found in their food “does not pose a threat to pet safety,” its presence in pet food is strictly prohibited in ANY amount. Further, oral exposure to pentobarbital can cause drowsiness, dizziness, excitement, loss of balance, nausea, nystagmus (eyes moving back and forth in a jerky manner), inability to stand, coma and death.
At this time, it has not been proven how a drug commonly used in the euthanasia of dogs, cats, and horses – the use of which is prohibited in the euthanasia of animals intended for use in pet food – is turning up in the recalled products.
Gravy Train is made by Big Heart Pet Foods and owned by the J.M. Smucker Co. Big Heart Brands is also the manufacturer of multiple dog and cat food brands including 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.
Following WJLA-TV’s investigation into the pet food, Smuckers issued the following statement regarding the presence of pentobarbital:
“A commitment to making only the highest quality products has been the driving force behind our business for more than 120 years. This commitment to quality has long been demonstrated by our comprehensive quality assurance policies and procedures, which are designed to provide consumers with the quality products they expect. Earlier this week, we were made aware of WJLA’s claims related to nine cans of Gravy Train® wet dog food. Since we learned of this information, we launched and are conducting a thorough investigation, including working closely with our suppliers, to determine the accuracy of these results and the methodology used. While we are confident in the safety of our products, should additional actions be required, we will communicate that quickly to consumers and our retail partners. We are a company that loves pets and understand the responsibility we have in providing high quality food for the pets our consumers love. We will continue to do whatever it takes to ensure the safety of our consumers’ pets in the same way we would our own.”
Days after that statement was made, a voluntary market withdrawal (recall) was issued.
The FDA also told the news station that they “will investigate the matter and take appropriate enforcement action.”
To contact the FDA, Smucker’s or Big Heart Brands regarding this issue:
- FDA: 888-463-6332
- Smucker’s: 888-550-9555
- Big Heart Brands: 415-247-3000
If you currently feed any of the above named products, discontinue feeding immediately and return to place of purchase. If your dog is showing ANY signs of illness, contact your veterinarian immediately and save any uneaten or unopened cans for possible testing.
I have three dogs and a cat. My dogs are 17,14, & 11. My cat is 2. They have eaten Gravy Train and are as healthy as can be. I’m mad that Smuckers now is discontinuing this product and all dog foods. My dogs are my heart, I just so upset because after the recall I looked for Gravy Train to return to the shelves. I’m mad that now I can’t get any more of their food.
This is no acceptable. My dog got dizzy and very sick after three trip to the vet he said it was definitely something he ate. I only fed my dog this project Also milk bones. He as 7 and died in four days. Vet said something he ate made him die. Strong beautiful Portuguese water dog dead in four days. Besides the 1300 plus vet bill you owe me for letting me poison my dog to death.
So how did Ol’ Roy get included in the list? It is not a product produced by Smucker. It is a Walmart brand produced by the Mars Company.
Their response is nothing but a PR spin. There’s a 100% chance the company KNEW it was in the food. That’s what happens when you outsource your processing to the lowest bidder,and you only care about profit. It’s also well known that Gravy Train and Kibbles & Bits two of the worst, lowest quality dog products out there. The other brands listed are also frequently rated as some of the worst pets foods on the market. 9 Lives & Meow Mix are two of worst rated cat foods.
To the commentor that posted “why are some people buying this cheap pet food anyway”, I have to say, some of us decent and honest hardworking folks out here across this country are not rich or well-to-do like some other folks and we buy what our financial budget allows us to buy. Yes, it is cheaper, but we put our trust in that a store would not be stocking their shelves with contaminated products. This mess could have wound up in any product the store sells, no matter what the price tag on it is.
That being said, besides the fact of not feeding this to my dog anymore, is there anything else that can be done about this? My dog has been eating the gravy train for some time now. She seems fine but, just the thought of my dog consuming this mess is very upsetting to me.
I understand about being on a budget. We struggle but we see food for ourselves and our animals as top priority for health. I pay a premium for my two dogs but I don’t have cable TV, seldom buy clothes and only on sale. We cook all meals from home have cell phones that rely on wireless connection. If you have cut out all the extra unnecessary stuff, my apologies but otherwise no excuse not to feed your pet great food.
I can’t believe that owner Smuckers is or was not on top of this matter. Out goes one of my favorite eats. My pets mean a lot to me and as a widowed, 73 year old disabled female I am appalled.
Why aren’t the levels that were detected reported? It’s of concern if it is in the ppm range and no danger at all in the sub ppb range.
Because the drug is not allowed in pet food at any level so there is no “sub-ppm” range. The company is trying to deflect. There is no safe level. I would not feed my animals anything from these companies, dog or cat.
Any company allowing this & all knowing employees should be “ended”!
Kevin J. Henningsays:
Firstly, exactly WHERE are these pet foods being made. I recall several years ago certain brands of pet food were causing death because of contaminated flour. According to information fed to us these pet foods were made in or received tainted flour/wheat from China. It is possible the apparent low level of accountability is due to pet foods being made over seas.
Secondly, why the hell is a drug like Pentobarbital being found in ANY amount in ANY pet food or any food period. I will be looking into this further. For the time being, the companies who manufacture this product must be held accountable.
Finally, I suggest pet owners (be it dog, cat or otherwise) be extra aware of the ingredients being put in their pet’s food. If you see something in the ingredients you cannot identify, take a moment, look it up and be clear on what it is and if possible find out why it needs to be in the food in the first place.
I don’t trust any corporation as far as I can throw it. The purchaser is their own best advocate.
Why people buy this awful, cheap, poor quality to give to beloved pets is beyond me! This is happening because if rendering-as in piles of dead animals, yes, that includes pets, end up in rendering facilities and then become food for other animals!!!!! Oh my god. So awful. Purchase HIGH QUALITY pet food people!!! This crap should not even be allowed.
been feeding my dogs ol’roy dry, and 4 months ago my 3 year old bluetick was dead in his pen. i am still feedig my 2 year old hound the same brand, but now wonder if the dry dog food is also suspect
Who in the name of GOD thinks its all right to put chemicals like that into pet food? people have pets. Who is running these company’s do they even care. They are going to LOSE money. GET IT FIXED.
This is just a Theory, but I am wondering if they included euthanized animals in the Food Processing of their product and the euthanizing Drug became part of that Food Product.
That’s exactly what’s happening. Euthanized pets and horses that aren’t cremated are ending up in rendering plants where they are then used as a protein source in our pets’ food. Although the process is illegal, it’s been reported to continue to happen. Pentobarbital in pet food is proof that it’s still happening.
The cans say made with pride in the USA but doesn’t say where the contents are sourced from . China Maybe that would explain a lot.