There have been problems with contaminated pet food as far back as more than a decade ago, when WND reported on the presence of melamine, which killed thousands of dogs.
Other contaminants also have been found over the years, in both pet food and products made for human consumption.
But the latest, found in dog food, is a stunner. It’s pentobarbital, a chemical that is used to kill dogs.
The discovery was made by WJLA-TV in Washington, D.C, which reported the grief of Nikki Mael and her family, who lost their dog, Talula, over the holidays.
They had some testing done and discovered Talula was poisoned, but not by anything common such as arsenic.
It was the euthanasia drug.
WJLA said it is a toxin that not only could be lethal, it violates federal law.
The station decided to find out more about the extent of the problem, partnering with Ellipse Analytics, a lab that specializes in testing food for contaminants.
Lab founder Kevin Hicks said, “I think you have a duty to understand what you’re selling to human beings and pets, and I think that the obligation is on you to understand what is, and is not, in your product.”
WLJA said it “tested 62 samples of wet dog food, across more than two-dozen brands for the euthanasia drug pentobarbital. 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.”
The station said the levels were nonlethal, but under federal law, there is no acceptable level.
Gravy Train, the report said, is made by Big Heart Pet Foods and owned by Smucker’s. The company has a manufacturing plant in Kansas, though the pet food industry is widely dispersed and makes products everywhere from Kansas to China.
Big Heart Brands includes Kibbles’n Bits, which was a second brand name involved in a recall over the issue this week.
Dr. Nicholas Dodman of the Center for Canine Behavior Studies noted the killer drug can be found in animals that have been euthanized.
“So, these animals could be dogs, they could be cats, they could be horses – but how is it getting into the pet food? If they say it doesn’t come from dogs, cats and horses, where does it come from? It doesn’t come from outer space,” he said.
The level is irrelevant, he pointed out, because of the total ban on its presence.
“Where did it come from? 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?” asked Dodman.
There was no response from the FDA or Smucker’s to that very question, WJLA said.
One obvious answer is that somehow the carcasses of animals that have been killed with pentobarbital are being picked up by renderers who process them, and the drug may be blended into pet food.
By definition, such components are banned from pet foods, yet the FDA admits such material from animals “which have died otherwise than by slaughter … will be considered fit for animal consumption.”
At WebMD for pets, a report said Smucker’s announced it had pulled shipments of Gravy Train, Kibbles ‘N Bits, Ol’ Roy and Skippy canned wet dog food.
The site listed 27 brands and flavors of euthanasia-loaded 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 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 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 13.2 oz. Turkey Bacon Strips (UPC: 8113117570)
It’s not an official recall, and federal officials say there is an investigation under way.
The WLJA report said: “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.'”
WND long has reported on contamination dangers in products, and just last year found of the last 100 U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recalls, 61 were from manufacturers in China, while 39 were from all other countries in the world, including the U.S.
Besides pet food, there also were ladders that collapse, toys that give kids lead poisoning, baby clothes that cause choking, electronics that explode, bikes that cause falls, battery chargers that catch fire, furniture that topples over on children, table saws that lacerate users, electric blowers that fire parts at unsuspecting users, knives that break and amputate fingers, baby strollers that collapse, chainsaws that kill, computer batteries that explode, power adapters that burn and bar stools that topple.
WND has been tracking these horrors for more than a decade, leading the official Chinese news agency, Xinhua, to direct a fusillade of attacks on the U.S.-based news agency over the years.
Here’s one notable example: On Sept. 14, 2007, WND reported Xinhua blamed WND for over-hyping the safety issues about food and consumer goods exported by China – specifically citing a story months earlier that sparked a wildfire of coverage by other media.
“For example, in May, the conservative news organ WorldNetDaily.com asked, ‘Is China Trying to Poison Americans and Their Pets?'” the Xinhua story states in trying to make the case for racism in the U.S. media. It was the only example of negative news coverage mentioned.
It wasn’t the first time the official Chinese media have launched an attack specifically at WND. In 2002, the Chinese newspaper Renmin Ribao accused the U.S. news media of painting a sinister picture of the threat posed by China, mentioning the “most famous WorldNetDaily” by name as the major culprit in a report later distributed by the BBC.