WASHINGTON (ABC7) — Retailers pulled at least 31 varieties of dog food off the shelves nationwide after a months-long investigation found the euthanasia drug, pentobarbital.
After releasing the results of lab tests that identified the drug, the FDA launched an investigation. And now, just days later, Smucker’s, the owner of almost all the brands in question, announcing a voluntary withdrawal. It includes products in the Gravy Train, Kibbles ‘N Bits, Skippy and Ol’ Roy lines of canned food.
Retailers, including the nation's largest, Walmart, removed it from all 4,700 stores.
For seven months, we investigated what's in dog food. Analytical labs conducted hundreds of tests across dozens of brands.
During a seven-month investigation, our @lisa_fletch tested dozens of canned dog food across dozens of brands, and discovered the drug used to euthanize pets in some of those samples. Thursday at 11 on ABC7 News, we’re naming names and telling you which brands contained the drug. pic.twitter.com/ibjLc2pqp6— ABC 7 News - WJLA (@ABC7News) February 8, 2018
"Consumers, they're tired of their pets dying. They're tired of being worried and this needs to change," said Susan Thixton, who’s been researching and writing about the pet food industry for years.
Thixton says based on current labeling standards, it's impossible for consumers to know what they're really feeding their pets.
“They have no information,” said Thixton. “A consumer has to become a private detective to learn what's really in their food."
Among our tests were 15 cans of Gravy Train, made by Big Heart Brands, owned by Smucker’s.
Nine cans, 60 percent of the sample, repeatedly tested positive for the euthanasia drug, pentobarbital.
And while the levels detected were not lethal, under federal law it is not permitted at any level, and never allowed to be used on animals intended for food.
"Where did it come from?” asked Dr Nicholas Dodman, veterinarian and former Director of the Tufts University Animal Behavior Program. “If they don't like the explanation that it's coming from animals that have been euthanized, what is their explanation as to how it gets in there?"
Smucker’s posted on its website that it does not use pets in its food.
The company would not answer any of the questions we provided to them, including how is pentobarbital getting into their supply chain?
In our tests, only Gravy Train came back positive for pentobarbital. Smuckers has not explained why it has expanded the number of brands being pulled from shelves, but it’s possible that the brands share a supplier.
We also asked Smucker’s about that today, but did not receive a response.
The following products should not be fed to pets, but returned to the place of purchase for a full refund.
The way to identify product is to look at the product name/description and UPC codes below: