“Lab results from tests indicate that…”

The J.M. Smucker company is finally coming clean about what is and what is not in their flagship dog food brands Gravy Train, Kibbles ‘N Bits, Skippy and Ol’ Roy. The pet food giant admitted that small amounts of the euthanasia drug pentobarbital has been found in their products. However, they deny that the presence of the drug comes from using euthanized dogs as an ingredient.

We’re not so sure about that last part though, and neither are some experts…

Check it out from the Miami Herald:

There’s no dog in our dog food, says the J.M. Smucker company, but it admitted that some canned Gravy Train and Kibbles ‘N Bits varieties contained a sedative used to put dogs down.

As Smucker informs the public via its brand websites, “We have confirmed extremely low levels of pentobarbital in select shipments” of Gravy Train, Kibbles ‘N Bits, Skippy and Ol’ Roy canned wet dog food, the company also says it has the answer to how the drug got into the food.

Testing at an outside lab, Smucker said, indicates that animal fat was the source of the pentobarbital.

“Lab results from tests of the ingredient in which pentobarbital was found confirmed the animal fat was sourced from cow, chicken, and pig, which are common sources in pet food,” a Smucker spokesperson said Sunday morning in an e-mail to the Miami Herald. “The DNA test ruled out the presence of six other animals: cat, dog, horse, lamb, goat, and turkey.”

In the wake of testing by Washington, D.C. station WJLA that revealed the pentobarbital in Gravy Train, various entities posed the possibility that it could have gotten into the food from dogs who had been put down.

“If you say ‘where does it come from?’ it comes from euthanasia of animals using that euthanasia drug,” Dr. Nicholas Dodman, former director of Tufts University’s Animal Behavior program, told WJLA. “So these animals could be dogs, they could be cats, they could be horses. But how is it getting into the pet food?”

One possible way, Clean Label Project Executive Director Jaclyn Bowen explained in a Feb. 13 email to the Miami Herald, is “Rendering plants take slaughterhouse animal tissues and convert them into stable, usable materials like purified fats such as lard or tallow. This rendered material is then sourced by some pet food manufacturers and sold to consumers as wet and dry pet foods. It is possible that animals exposed to pentobarbital were included in the rendering process.”

Smucker says on its Gravy Train and Kibbles ‘N Bits websites it’s no longer using that animal fat supplier, but “due to potential litigation, we will not be releasing the name of either the old or new supplier.”

Big Heart Pet, which Smucker acquired in 2015, makes Gravy Train and the other brands.

While we understand that accidents happen and any human endeavor, by definition, will have its fair share of mistakes, this is inexcusable. There is no way on God’s green earth that I’m going to feed my dog something that potentially contains a drug used to euthanize animals. And the idea that the pentobarbital was introduced into the supply chain via animals that had been killed using it is pretty horrifying.

What’s your take on this situation?

Does your pet eat Kibbles ‘N Bits or Gravy Train?