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Clostridium botulinum not detected, pet food maker says

FDA action that stripped Evanger's ability to ship pet food based on paperwork flap, company says

June 17, 2009
By Jennifer Fiala

Evanger's Dog & Cat Food Co. Inc. is appealing the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) June 12 suspension of its permit to ship canned pet food after safety inspections revealed that the company was not operating in compliance with the regulatory agency's requirements.

In a statement, Evanger's Vice President Joel Sher says there have been no recalls or allegations of unsafe food manufactured at the company. In short, Clostridium botulinum has not been detected in Evanger's products, he contends. 

FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine, in cooperation with the agency's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, issued Evanger's suspension after inspections revealed that the Illinois-based company "deviated from the prescribed process, equipment, product shipment, and recordkeeping requirements in the production of the company's thermally processed low acid canned food products."

Such "deviations" could result in under-processed foods, which can allow the survival and growth of Clostridium botulinum, an agency news release says. 

In light of that statement, company officials appear to be doing damage control, stating repeatedly that Evanger's products are free of Clostridium botulinum. Exactly what warranted FDA's action appears to be based on a misunderstanding regarding certain filings that deal with the company's processing protocols — paperwork that Evanger's is in the process of correcting, Sher's statement says. 

In its news release, FDA notes that the company must "document that corrective actions and processing procedures have been implemented to ensure that the finished product will not present a health hazard." 

According to the company, Evanger's conducts internal tests on all of its production batches, which can detect bacteria like Clostridium botulinum

"There has never been any detection of any bacteria in any of our products," Sher reiterates in his statement. "As part of the FDA inspection, every can in our warehouse was inspected by the FDA for signs of bacterial contamination. The result: NO contamination was found.

"There are no recalls or safety issues associated with this situation," he adds. "All Evanger’s products that are currently on store shelves are safe as they always have been. ... As we have indicated, the FDA action does not call into question the safety of any of Evanger’s products."

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Information and opinions expressed in letters to the editor are those of the author and are independent of the VIN News Service. Letters may be edited for style. We do not verify their content for accuracy.


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