Lawsuit: Evanger's Pet Food Contains Poison [UPDATE]
by Erin Shaak
Last Updated on June 21, 2022
November 7, 2019 – Settlement Reached
The lawsuit detailed on this page has settled, with the parties reaching a $545,500 deal that includes partial refunds and reimbursement for veterinarian bills. The settlement covers all U.S. consumers who bought Evanger’s Hunk of Beef, Evanger’s Braised Beef, or Against the Grain Pulled Beef with Gravy between December 1, 2015 and June 30, 2017.
According to the plaintiffs’ unopposed motion for preliminary settlement approval, the deal comes after more than two years of “hard-fought” litigation. In addition to the monetary component of the settlement, Evanger’s Dog and Cat Food Co., Nutripak, Against the Grain Pet Foods and Sher Services Company Incorporated will stop representing their products as “people food for pets” and cease using the term “human grade” unless they comply with independent standards and guidelines for referring to pet food as such. Further, the defendants have agreed to stop using images of people eating the pet food in their advertising and to submit to randomized third-party testing of their products for the next two years.
Consumers covered by the settlement will be able to file claims for veterinary expenses associated with symptoms of pentobarbital poisoning or for refunds on the recalled pet food products. Those with proof of purchase can elect to receive either 25 percent of their purchase value in cash or 50 percent of their purchase value in the form of a product certificate. Those without proof of purchase may file a claim for a product certificate for three cans of pet food.
It’s estimated that 24,000 consumers are eligible to file claims. Any money left over in the settlement fund will be donated cy pres to the North Shore Animal League America.
The plaintiffs’ motion detailing the proposed settlement can be read here.
A proposed class action lawsuit has been filed this week against Evanger’s Dog and Cat Food Co., Inc. and Nutripack, LLC, which claim to manufacture high-quality premium pet food. The suit was filed by two Washington residents who say they rushed their five dogs to the vet when they noticed the dogs had become sluggish and unresponsive after eating Evanger’s dog food. Tragically, four of them now require ongoing medical treatments and one of the dogs has died, according to the suit.
The dogs’ owners claim they bought Evanger’s Hunk of Beef Au Jus and Against the Grain’s Grain Free Pulled Beef with Gravy to feed their dogs, who became immediately ill after eating the food. FDA testing confirmed that the dog food contained a large amount of pentobarbital – a barbiturate used in the euthanizing of animals, the execution of humans, and “physician-assisted deaths,” according to the complaint.
The suit claims that the defendants mispresented the quality of the pet food – specifically Evanger’s brand name products and Against the Grain brand pet foods – and sold an adulterated product, a direct violation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.
Following the plaintiffs’ tragic incident, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) supposedly began working with the plaintiffs and the retailer that sold them the dog food. According to the suit, inspections of Evanger’s products and facilities produced sickening results.
While the company markets its pet food as being “100% natural, raw meats” and “human grade, USDA inspected,” the FDA found that the company’s meat supplier had noted on its label that the meat was “Inedible Hand Deboned Beef” that was “For Pet Food Use Only” and “Not Fit For Human Consumption,” the suit claims. The organization allegedly concluded that none of Evanger’s meat is human grade, and none of its suppliers are inspected by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), contrary to the products’ labels. The investigation also revealed “unsanitary conditions” at the defendants’ manufacturing facilities, the suit says.
According to the lawsuit, the FDA investigations led to several recalls of Evanger’s products:
- Certain Hunk of Beef lots – February 3, 2017
- Certain Pulled Beef lots – February 13, 2017
- All lots of Hunk of Beef, Pulled Beef, and Braised Beef products – March 3, 2017
Not long after the March recall, Party Animal – a company for whom Evanger’s manufacturers pet foods – was forced to recall its Cocolicious Beef & Turkey dog food and Cocolicius Chicken & Beef dog food, according to the lawsuit. The products allegedly contained pentobarbital and were manufactured in the same facilities as the Evanger’s products.
The complaint notes that consumers have become increasingly “aware and cautious” of the ingredients in pet food products. According to the suit, Evanger’s has capitalized on these fears and marketed its products toward consumers who are seeking “safe and healthy meals” for their pets and are willing to pay a premium price for high-quality products.
The suit alleges that Evanger’s website displayed a video of the company’s co-owner eating a portion of its Hunk of Beef product to prove that the product is made from quality, edible ingredients.
Despite these representations, Evanger’s products are anything but “people food for pets,” the suit argues. It claims the products are made up of animal parts from cows, horses, and pigs that have died by means other than slaughter, and may have been diseased or euthanized.
The suit further notes an alleged history of fines and litigation over the company’s sub-par facilities and unsafe products. On top of that, the company’s owners have been convicted of criminal activity and showed “a callous disregard for their employees’ safety by exposing them to dangerous situations over many years,” the complaint says.
Who Is Covered in the Suit?
The suit seeks to cover a proposed nationwide class of people who purchased one or more of the defendants’ pet food products from June 16, 2013 to the present, as well as a proposed subclass of Washington residents.
Camp Lejeune residents now have the opportunity to claim compensation for harm suffered from contaminated water.
Read more here: Camp Lejeune Lawsuit Claims
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