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FDA looks into claim that dog food brand contains potentially deadly drug

The Food and Drug Administration and Gravy Train are investigating after a Washington D.C. news outlet study allegedly found that Gravy Train food contained a potentially deadly drug.
The Food and Drug Administration and Gravy Train are investigating after a Washington D.C. news outlet study allegedly found that Gravy Train food contained a potentially deadly drug. Pixabay

The Food and Drug Administration opened an investigation into popular dog food brand Gravy Train, after a report came out alleging it may contain a drug commonly used to euthanize animals, ABC7 reported.

ABC7 and Ellipse Analytics tested the product themselves, and found pentobarbital, a drug commonly used in euthanizations, in nine out of 15 cans of Gravy Train tested. They tested 62 samples across two dozen brands of wet dog food. Gravy Train "repeatedly came back positive" for pentobarbital, ABC7 found.

The drug levels found weren't lethal, but federal law prohibits any amount to be used in food, ABC7 reported.

Gravy Train issued a statement on its website and said it had received no consumer complaints about any pets getting sick or dying from its products.

There are many numbers and dates on the foods, drugs, cosmetics, and other products we use every day. Some help manufacturers track inventory, while others help retailers ensure quality. But when unsafe products must be removed from the market, th

"Since learning of this information, we have launched and are conducting a thorough investigation, including working closely with our suppliers and veterinarians, to determine the accuracy of the claims included in this news outlet’s investigation and the testing methodology used.

"We are confident in the safety of our products. Should additional actions be required, we will communicate that quickly to consumers and to our retail partners.

"We will continue to do whatever it takes to ensure the safety of your pets in the same way we would our own. Above all, we are a company that loves pets and understands the responsibility we have in providing high quality food for the pets you love.”

Smucker's, the maker of Gravy Train, declined an interview with ABC7 and only released a statement saying they had launched an investigation to determine if the study was accurate. The FDA suggested ABC7 speak to the Pet Food Institute and said they would "investigate the matter and take appropriate enforcement action."

A Fenton woman alleged that her dog died after she ate Gravy Train wet dog food and other treats made by the Big Heart Pet Brands, which is owned by Smucker's, KMOV reported. Her Miniature Schnauzer, Baby, dropped weight fast and started vomiting. When she reached out to Smucker's with concerns, they sent her a letter thanking her for contacting them and a coupon.

Baby died two months later.

Big Heart Pet Brands also makes Meow Mix, Milk Bone, Kibbles 'n Bits, 9 Lives, Natural Balance, Pup-Peroni, Gravy Train, Nature’s Recipe, Canine Carry Outs, Milo’s Kitchen, Alley Cat, Jerky Treats, Meaty Bone, Pounce and Snausages, ABC7 reported.

In February 2017, Evanger’s recalled some of its Hunk of Beef product after pentobarbital was found in it.

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