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Canned dog food made by J.M. Smucker may be contaminated with barbiturate

Pet-food-safety_456pxSome canned dog food products made by The J.M. Smucker Co. may be contaminated with the barbiturate pentobarbital, according to a U.S. Food and Drug Administration investigation.

After learning about positive pentobarbital results in some cans of Gravy Train dog food, J.M. Smucker withdrew some canned dog food products from its Gravy Train, Kibbles ‘N Bits, Ol’ Roy, and Skippy brands.

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evaluation of the testing results of Gravy Train samples shows that the low level of pentobarbital present in the withdrawn products is unlikely to pose a health risk to pets.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

The FDA wants to know about any pet illnesses associated with pentobarbital contamination in these products. Consumers can report complaints about this and other pet food products through the Safety Reporting Portal or by calling their local FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinators.

Barbiturates in dog food can come from rendered dogs, cats, cattle, or horses who have been euthanized by the drugs, according to the article Consumer Affairs article “The Long, Bizarre History of Euthanasia Drugs in Pet Food.”

Smucker is withdrawing all lots of these products that were made from 2016 through the present. The withdrawn products were distributed to retailers nationwide.

“Out of an abundance of caution, the company initiated a voluntary product withdrawal and has taken action to remove specific shipments that were impacted from its supply chain as well as provided actionable information to its consumers and retail partners,” Smucker said in a statement. “The company has identified the root cause to be a single supplier and a single, minor ingredient, used at one manufacturing facility.

“We take this very seriously and are extremely disappointed that pentobarbital was introduced to our supply chain,” said Barry Dunaway, President, Pet Food and Pet Snacks. “We will continue to work closely with our suppliers and veterinarians to ensure the ingredients used in our products meet or exceed regulatory safety standards and our high-quality standards.”

The withdrawn products include:

  • Gravy Train with T-Bone Flavor Chunks, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 7910052541
  • Gravy Train with Beef Strips, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 791052542
  • Gravy Train with Lamb & Rice Chunks, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 7910052543
  • Gravy Train with Chicken Chunks, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 7910034418
  • Gravy Train with Beef Chunks, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 7910034417
  • Gravy Train with Chicken Chunks, 22-ounce can, UPC 7910051645
  • Gravy Train with Beef Chunks, 22-ounce can, UPC 7910051647
  • Gravy Train Chunks in Gravy with Beef Chunks, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 7910034417
  • Kibbles ‘N Bits 12-can Variety Pack – 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 pack of 13.2-ounce cans, UPC 7910010377, 7910010378
  • Kibbles ‘N Bits 12-Can Variety Pack – 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 pack of 13.2-ounce cans, UPC 7910010382, 7910048367, 7910010378
  • Kibbles ‘N Bits 12-Can Variety Pack – 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, 12 pack of 13.2-ounce cans, UPC 7910010380, 7910010377, 7910010375
  • Kibbles ‘N Bits Chef’s Choice Bistro Tender Cuts with Real Beef & Vegetables in Gravy, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 7910010375
  • Kibbles ‘N Bits Chef’s Choice Bistro Tender Cuts with Real Turkey, Bacon & Vegetables in Gravy, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 7910010378
  • Kibbles ‘N Bits Chef’s Choice Homestyle Tender Slices with Real Beef, Chicken & Vegetables in Gravy, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 7910010380
  • Ol’ Roy Strips Turkey Bacon, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 8113117570
  • Skippy Premium Chunks in Gravy Chunky Stew, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 79100502469
  • Skippy Premium Chunks in Gravy with Beef, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 7910050250
  • Skippy Premium Strips in Gravy with Beef, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 7910050245

The FDA has received reports of other products also should be withdrawn. It’s requested clarification from Smucker on the status of these products.

Pentobarbital is a barbiturate drug that often used in animals as a sedative, anesthetic, or for euthanasia. The FDA is investigating what the potential source of the contamination is and how it got in dog food.

Pets that eat pet food containing pentobarbital can experience drowsiness, dizziness, excitement, loss of balance, nausea, eyes moving back and forth in a jerky manner, and inability to stand. Consuming high levels of pentobarbital can cause coma and death.

Retailers should remove the withdrawn pet food from their shelves and/or website and contact the manufacturer for further instructions. If retailers have records to identify consumers who have purchased the withdrawn product, the FDA encourages those retailers to contact the consumers to alert about the product withdrawal.

Consumers shouldn’t feed their pets the withdrawn lots of Smucke pet food. Those who purchased these products should safely dispose of the cans and/or contact the firm for information about returning the product. Consumers can call the company at 800-828-9980, Monday through Friday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. EST, or email at http://www.bigheartpet.com/Contact/ContactUs.aspx with any questions, concerns, or for a refund or replacement product.

Pet owners who think their pets may be ill from eating food contaminated with pentobarbital should contact their veterinarians.

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