J.M. Smucker is “withdrawing” all lots of certain Gravy Train, Kibbles ’N Bits, Skippy and Ol’ Roy canned dog food products manufactured since 2016 because they might contain pentobarbital, a sedative used in pet euthanasia.
An FDA alert was posted Friday.
“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evaluation of the testing results of Gravy Train samples indicates that the low level of pentobarbital present in the withdrawn products is unlikely to pose a health risk to pets,” reads Friday’s FDA alert. “However, pentobarbital should never be present in pet food and products containing any amount of pentobarbital are considered to be adulterated.”
Smucker is calling it a “withdrawal,” not a “recall.” Either way, it still means these products are coming off store shelves and should not be used if already bought.
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The Gravy Train flavors involved are: Gravy Train with T-Bone Flavor Chunks, 13.2-ounce cans; Gravy Train with Beef Strips, 13.2-ounce cans; Gravy Train with Lamb & Rice Chunks, 13.2-ounce cans; Gravy Train with Chicken Chunks, 13.2-ounce and 22-ounce cans; Gravy Train with Beef Chunks, 13.2-ounce and 22-ounce cans; Gravy Train Chunks in Gravy with Beef Chunks, 13.2-ounce cans.
The Kibbles ’N Bits Variety Packs recalled are: 12-cans Chef’s Choice American Grill Burger Dinner with Real Bacon & Cheese Bits in Gravy, Chef’s Choice Bistro Tender Cuts with Real Turkey Bacon & Vegetables in Gravy; 12-cans Chef’s Choice Bistro Hearty Cuts with Real Beef, Chicken & Vegetables in Gravy, Chef’s Choice Homestyle Meatballs & Pasta Dinner with Real Beef in Tomato Sauce; 12-cans Chef’s Choice Homestyle Tender Slices with Real Beef, Chicken & Vegetables in Gravy, Chef’s Choice American Grill Burger Dinner with Real Bacon & Cheese Bits in Gravy, Chef’s Choice Bistro Tender Cuts with Real Beef & Vegetables in Gravy.
Regular Kibbles ’N Bits 13.2-ounce cans pulled Chef’s Choice Bistro Tender Cuts with Real Beef & Vegetables in Gravy; Chef’s Choice Bistro Tender Cuts with Real Turkey, Bacon & Vegetables in Gravy; and Chef’s Choice Homestyle Tender Slices with Real Beef, Chicken & Vegetables in Gravy.
Skippy varieties pulled are 13.2-ounce cans of Premium Chunks in Gravy Chunky Stew; Premium Chunks in Gravy with Beef; and Premium Strips in Gravy with Beef.
The only variety of Ol’ Roy, Walmart’s house brand, pulled is Turkey Bacon in 13.2-ounce cans.
The FDA said people with cans of these brands should toss them or contact J.M. Smucker about returning the product. Consumers can call the company at 1-800-828-9980 or click here to contact the company online.
“Any detection of pentobarbital in pet food is a violation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act — simply put, pentobarbital should not be in pet food,” the alert reads.
A study released Feb. 9 by the Clean Label Project, testing various pet food brands bought off shelves and through Amazon.com, found pentobarbital in one brand — Gravy Train. All three Gravy Train types tested had pentobarbital. The FDA began investigating, as did J.M. Smucker
“One possible way [the drug got into the food] is through the use of contaminated ingredients,” Clean Label Project Executive Director Jaclyn Bowen explained in an email to the Miami Herald. “Rendering plants take slaughterhouse animal tissues and convert them into stable, usable materials like purified fats such as lard or tallow. This rendered material is then sourced by some pet food manufacturers and sold to consumers as wet and dry pet foods. It is possible that animals exposed to pentobarbital were included in the rendering process.”
But Bowen also said, “I would be especially concerned about other brands within the umbrella of Big Heart Pet and Smuckers because what that could ultimately point to is a systemic lack of robust quality control and quality assurance. Brands either care and test for this stuff and mandate the testing within their supplier contracts or they don’t.”
J.M. Smucker, which acquired Gravy Train maker Big Heart Pet in 2015, wouldn’t answer when asked directly by the Miami Herald via email Tuesday if Gravy Train products had pentobarbital. Instead, there was a company statement:
“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.”