A euthanasia drug used to kill dogs, cats, and horses has been found in pet food-again. Pentobarbital was discovered in cans of Gravy Train after testing by a Washington DC news agency.  Of the 15 cans of Gravy Train tested, nine came back positive for pentobarbital.   Gravy Train is made by Big Heart Brands.  Additionally, they manufacture Meow Mix, Milk Bone, Kibbles’n Bits, and 9 Lives among numerous other treats and foods.  Recdently the pet food brand Evanger’s announced a recall of their pet foods for the same reason.  And this isn’t the first time pentobarbital has been found.  In May of last year Party Animal recalled food after it tested positive.

How does this happen?

In 2002 the FDA issued a report stating pentobarbital was found in pet food, but that adverse effects on pets were unlikely.  At that time, they determined that “the pentobarbital residues are entering pet foods from euthanized, rendered cattle or even horses.”  More recently, a November 2017 report stated “There appear to be associations between rendered or hydrolyzed ingredients and the presence of pentobarbital in dog food. The ingredients Meat and Bone Meal (MBM), Beef and Bone Meal (BBM), Animal Fat (AF), and Animal Digest (AD) are rendered or hydrolyzed from animal sources that could include euthanized animals.”

“It comes from euthanasia of animals using that euthanasia drug,” said Dr. Nicholas Dodman, chief scientific officer for The Center for Canine Behavior Studies. “So, these animals could be dogs, they could be cats, they could be horses – but how is it getting into the pet food?”  Unfortunately most pet food companies use feed grade ingredients to make their food.  This means it’s not fit for humans to eat.  It’s “feed grade” not “food grade”.  This means almost anything can end up in your pet’s bowl.

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