Published On: Fri, Feb 16th, 2018

FDA Alerts Pet Owners About Potential Pentobarbital Contamination in Canned Dog Food

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is investigating potential contamination with the barbiturate pentobarbital in certain canned dog food products manufactured by The J.M. Smucker Company.

Fast Facts

  • The FDA is alerting pet owners about potential pentobarbital contamination in certain canned dog foods manufactured by The J.M. Smucker Company.
  • After learning about positive pentobarbital results in certain cans of Gravy Train dog food, J.M. Smucker initiated a withdrawal of various canned dog food products from its Gravy Train, Kibbles ‘N Bits, Ol’ Roy, and Skippy brands.
  • The FDA’s preliminary evaluation of the testing results of Gravy Train samples indicates that the low level of pentobarbital present in the withdrawn products is unlikely to pose a health risk to pets. However, pentobarbital should never be present in pet food and products containing any amount of pentobarbital are considered to be adulterated.
  • The FDA is monitoring for reports of any pet illnesses associated with pentobarbital contamination in these products. Consumers can report complaints about this and other pet food products electronically through the Safety Reporting Portal or by calling their local FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinators.

What is the Problem and What is Being Done About It?

The J.M. Smucker Company has initiated a withdrawal of certain canned dog food products from its Gravy Train, Kibbles ‘N Bits, Ol’ Roy, and Skippy brands due to the potential for pentobarbital contamination. The firm is withdrawing all lots of these products that were manufactured from 2016 through the present. The FDA is issuing this notice in order to make pet owners aware of the firm’s action.

The withdrawn products were distributed to retailers nationwide.

The list of withdrawn products the firm provided to the FDA include:

  • Gravy Train with T-Bone Flavor Chunks, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 7910052541
  • Gravy Train with Beef Strips, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 791052542
  • Gravy Train with Lamb & Rice Chunks, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 7910052543
  • Gravy Train with Chicken Chunks, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 7910034418
  • Gravy Train with Beef Chunks, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 7910034417
  • Gravy Train with Chicken Chunks, 22-ounce can, UPC 7910051645
  • Gravy Train with Beef Chunks, 22-ounce can, UPC 7910051647
  • Gravy Train Chunks in Gravy with Beef Chunks, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 7910034417
  • Kibbles ‘N Bits 12-can Variety Pack – Chef’s Choice American Grill Burger Dinner with Real Bacon & Cheese Bits in Gravy, Chef’s Choice Bistro Tender Cuts with Real Turkey Bacon & Vegetables in Gravy, 12 pack of 13.2-ounce cans, UPC 7910010377, 7910010378
  • Kibbles ‘N Bits 12-Can Variety Pack – Chef’s Choice Bistro Hearty Cuts with Real Beef, Chicken & Vegetables in Gravy, Chef’s Choice Homestyle Meatballs & Pasta Dinner with Real Beef in Tomato Sauce, 12 pack of 13.2-ounce cans, UPC 7910010382, 7910048367, 7910010378
  • Kibbles ‘N Bits 12-Can Variety Pack – Chef’s Choice Homestyle Tender Slices with Real Beef, Chicken & Vegetables in Gravy, Chef’s Choice American Grill Burger Dinner with Real Bacon & Cheese Bits in Gravy, Chef’s Choice Bistro Tender Cuts with Real Beef & Vegetables in Gravy, 12 pack of 13.2-ounce cans, UPC 7910010380, 7910010377, 7910010375
  • Kibbles ‘N Bits Chef’s Choice Bistro Tender Cuts with Real Beef & Vegetables in Gravy, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 7910010375
  • Kibbles ‘N Bits Chef’s Choice Bistro Tender Cuts with Real Turkey, Bacon & Vegetables in Gravy, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 7910010378
  • Kibbles ‘N Bits Chef’s Choice Homestyle Tender Slices with Real Beef, Chicken & Vegetables in Gravy, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 7910010380
  • Ol’ Roy Strips Turkey Bacon, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 8113117570
  • Skippy Premium Chunks in Gravy Chunky Stew, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 79100502469
  • Skippy Premium Chunks in Gravy with Beef, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 7910050250
  • Skippy Premium Strips in Gravy with Beef, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 7910050245

Pentobarbital is a barbiturate drug that is most commonly used in animals as a sedative, anesthetic, or for euthanasia. The FDA’s preliminary evaluation of the testing results of Gravy Train samples indicates that the low level of pentobarbital present in the withdrawn products is unlikely to pose a health risk to pets. However, any detection of pentobarbital in pet food is a violation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act—simply put, pentobarbital should not be in pet food . The FDA is investigating to learn the potential source and route of the contamination.

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What Happens to a Pet That Eats Pet Food Containing Pentobarbital?

Pets that eat pet food containing pentobarbital can experience drowsiness, dizziness, excitement, loss of balance, nausea, nystagmus (eyes moving back and forth in a jerky manner) and inability to stand. Consuming high levels of pentobarbital can cause coma and death. However, pentobarbital present in the withdrawn products is at a low level unlikely to pose a health risk to pets.

What Do Retailers Need To Do?

Retailers should remove the withdrawn pet food from their shelves and/or website and contact the manufacturer for further instructions. If retailers have records to identify consumers who have purchased the withdrawn product, the FDA encourages those retailers to contact the consumers to alert about the product withdrawal.

What Do Consumers Need To Do?

Consumers should not feed their pets the withdrawn lots of J.M. Smucker pet food. Consumers who purchased these products should safely dispose of the cans and/or contact the firm for information about returning the product.

Pet owners who think their pets may be ill from eating food contaminated with pentobarbital should contact their veterinarians.

Who Should be Contacted?

People who think their pets have become ill after consuming pet food contaminated with pentobarbital should contact their veterinarians.

The FDA encourages consumers to report complaints about this and other pet food products electronically through the Safety Reporting Portal or by calling their state’s FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinators.


The information in this release reflects the FDA’s best efforts to communicate what it has learned from the manufacturer and parties involved in the investigation. The agency will update this page as more information becomes available.

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