Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Is Evanger's An FDA Scapegoat?

June 17, 2009

Something about the Evanger's story doesn't add up.

In April 2008, FDA announced that it would require Evanger's to obtain an Emergency Operating Permit in order to continue interstate sales of its canned pet food line. The agency cited ". . . significant deviations from prescribed documentation of processes, equipment, and recordkeeping . . ." as the reason for this requirement.

In August 2008, according to Evanger's, the company filed the necessary updates with FDA.

On December 2, 2008, FDA informed us by email that Evanger's "... is now operating in full compliance with applicable FDA regulations."

Yet last week, FDA announced that it had suspended Evanger's Emergency Operating Permit, citing deviations ". . . from the prescribed process, equipment, product shipment, and recordkeeping requirements . . ."

In both its April 2008 and June 2009 news releases, FDA cited a risk of botulism to justify both the need for an Emergency Permit and the suspension of that permit. But there have been no recalls; nor has FDA issued a formal warning against feeding Evanger's canned pet foods.

If the health risk is sufficiently high to warrant FDA's actions, why has the agency not taken steps – in conjunction with the state of Illinois – to prevent the sale of Evanger's canned foods within the company's home state? Conversely, if the health risk is low, why has FDA taken the unusual step of "going public"?

Perhaps the answer is contained in the following statement, made by Dr. Bernadette Dunham, Director of FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine:

"Today’s enforcement action sends a strong message to manufacturers of pet food that we will take whatever action necessary to keep unsafe products from reaching consumers.”

Is FDA coming down hard on Evanger's, a small, family run business, in order to "send a message" to the rest of the industry? If so, we – along with many others in the blogging community – owe Evanger's an apology.


  1. How bout we get FDA's side of the story before totally exhonerating Evangers? Seems to me this same thing happened last year, Evangers said it was paperwork problems and FDA, WHEN ASKED, said
    "The firm was operating the retorts improperly (not venting), failing to record critical process information including initial temperatures, temperature recording devices were recording temperatures higher than the mercury-in glass thermometers. The firm's retort supervisors had not attended the required training schools."

    So I would prefer to see both sides to this 2009 story, last years wasnt a simple paperwork problem as they led everyone to believe....well not everyone.

  2. Doesn't add up??

    Of course the story doesn't add up.

    After all we ARE dealing with FDA and a pet food company.

    Remember that Nutro continues to deny those almost 900 complaints on CA site, and FDA says Nutro's not being investigated.

    OK. I'll play along.

  3. Kindof gives you the warm fuzzies about using any commercial pet food doesn't it ...... nighmares on barf street

  4. Oh thank goodness! Thanks for the info, Phyllis!
    My dog has been nothing but happy on this food, I'm happy to see the light at the end of the tunnel!

  5. This article is beautiful.
    Thank you for an educated story.

  6. This little family run business that makes millions per year and can't hire a food safety
    consulting firm for over a year to bring them into total compliance with LAC regulations and
    FDA inspection regulations? Keep feeding your pets this food possibly all the way to the vet's
    if you desire to take such a risk.

  7. its not worth it to feed my dog something that may possibly be a risk to his health. i wouldnt take this risk feeding my child, myself or anyone else in my family... of course that includes the ones with 4 legs. whether or not its a paperwork issue or an example being made of a company not adhering to rules set forth by agencies whose job it is to see these guidelines are followed, however tedious and unimportant it may seem. the rules to be followed are set to protect us, and until all is deemed right on both sides, i will choose not to take the risk feeding this to my beloved fur baby. im sure each and every single entity involved in this industry can improve operations somewhere in this business. this includes all pet food manufacturers, as well as the FDA. [not just evangers] did evangers get singled out? maybe... but who is to say who's next,i hope this puts everyone back to the top of their game, so that by the time the FDA reaches them, they'll have already worked out potential issues, that may bring about consequences such as these. i hope this is solved quickly, as i know jobs and economy are worth alot right now, and needed more than ever... but not at the expense of our family pets and their health.

  8. As I understand it, an FDA-recognized 3rd party ("Process Authority") made the mistake, unfortunately on behalf of Evanger's:

    Quote from response:
    "Our “Process Authority” (F.D.A. recognized expert) communicated to the F.D.A. that he intended to file a single SCHEDULED PROCESS that would cover ALL loaf style foods that are manufactured at Evanger’s using the “MOST RIGOROUS” process (VEGETARIAN). The intention being, that applying this process to all of our loaf style products would add an additional layer of safety. At the same time, our Process Authority indicated that he would “CLEAN UP” our file by deleting older processes."

    To me, this says all other products don't need as long of a cook time as the Vegetarian does. So even if any product was cooked using the vegetarian method, that would essentially be the "worse-case scenario." So wouldn't that mean that if it did cook for too long that's an extra layer of safety? When I roast a turkey or chicken in the oven, I am not threatened by "too long of a cook time." I'd still eat it.

    I'm interested to hear the FDA's response. Cooking something for "too long" just doesn't seem as terrible as this sounds.

  9. just chiming in, I feed my dogs Evanger's and I never had a problem and I'm sure there are more of the same stories out there.


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