Evanger's Dog & Cat Food issued a voluntary recall on Feb. 3 after a batch of one of its products was found to be contaminated with a deadly sedative.
Some cans of the company's Hunks of Beef made between June 6 and June 13 were tainted with pentobarbital, a chemical often used to anesthetize or euthanize animals, according to the New York Times.
A statement issued by the company through the Food and Drug Administration says that although only one batch was affected, Evanger's is recalling all products made within that week "out of an abundance of caution."
The company notes that side effects of ingesting the chemical can include "drowsiness, dizziness, excitement, loss of balance, or nausea, or in extreme cases, [and] possibly death."
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There have been five reports of dogs becoming ill, with one of the animals later dying.
The cans of food made within that week were distributed to Washington, California, Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, Maryland, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida.
According to The New York Times, a higher dose of pentobarbital produces a "cardiovascular effect" in animals, stopping their hearts. The drug is also used on humans to induce comas in brain-damaged patients. It is one of three drugs commonly used in a lethal injection cocktail.
"Because we source from suppliers of meat products that are USDA-approved, and no other products have had any reported problems, we are not extending the recall to other supplier lots," said the company in its statement. "This is the first recall for Evanger’s in its 82 years of manufacturing."
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According to Consumerist, the company is still investigating how exactly the chemical ended up in the meat in the first place. The chemical is not intended to be used for livestock intended to be consumed. Nonetheless, the company believes that its beef supplier appears to be the likely source.
"We feel that we have been let down by our supplier, and in reference to the possible presence of pentobarbital, we have let down our customers," the company wrote on an updated statement on its website. "Despite having a relationship for forty years with the supplier of this specific beef, who also services many other pet food companies, we have terminated our relationship with them and will no longer purchase their beef for use in our Hunk of Beef product."
The company plans to fully fund the veterinary costs of all animals who become ill after ingesting the product, and it has made a donation to a local shelter in honor of the pug who passed away.