Class action suit filed against dog food manufacturer after 7 On Your Side investigation

Class action suit filed against dog food manufacturer after 7 On Your Side investigation. (ABC7)

More action today as a result of an ABC7 investigation that exposed the euthanasia drug, pentobarbital, in the national brand pet food, Gravy Train.

The class action lawsuit was filed in a US District Court in California against "Big Heart Brands," owned by Smucker’s and the maker of Gravy Train.

Big Heart Brands is also the maker of 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.

The suit alleges the company "knowingly, recklessly and/or negligently is selling contaminated dog food containing pentobarbital, a substance largely used to euthanize animals."

As pointed out in our initial investigation, pentobarbital would never be used on animals intended for food, as that would be illegal.

So where is it coming from?

“It comes from euthanasia of animals using that euthanasia drug. If they say it doesn't come from dogs, cats and horses where does it come from? It doesn't come from outer space,” says Dr. Nicholas Dodman, Chief Scientific Officer for the Center for Canine Behavior Studies and Former Director of the Animal Behavior Program and Tufts University.

Also today, on the Gravy Train website, a new posting for consumers.

The company says no euthanized animals or pets are in their food per AAFCO standards.

Sounds official, but AAFCO is an industry association that is neither governmental, nor regulatory.

AAFCO has definitions for ingredients that consumers are not privy to, unless you buy its official book at a cost of $100 per year.

For example, in the AAFCO book under “Official Names and Definitions of Feed Ingredients,” meat and bone meal is defined as "the rendered product from mammal tissues." The question is what mammals and from where did they come?

AAFCO defines “adulterated ingredients” via standards in the Federal Food Drug and Cosmetics Act – which is in part, “an animal which has died otherwise than by slaughter.” But that Act is goes willfully unenforced by the FDA, by the agency’s own admission in its Compliance Policy.

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