Recently a woman took to social media to air her claims that Evanger’s Hunk of Beef cans were responsible for causing illness in four of her pugs. The following is a letter I received after reaching out to Evanger’s about these claims:
Nikki Mael of Washougal WA reported that her four pugs ate Hunk of Beef on New Years Eve, became violently ill and were rushed to Emergency Care. KATU news aired her story. You may be getting calls from concerned customers about this. At this time, we have no reason to believe any other cans are affected.
Holly Sher and Brett Sher (Evanger’s owners) learned about this at 3 AM on Monday and started action immediately. As compassionate dog lovers, Evanger’s fully-funded the YouCaring page to take care of the vet bills, and with the donation, asked the owner to get in touch with Evanger’s, and to provide the lot number she fed her pets to begin an internal investigation.
We initially learned about this through Instagram. We immediately contacted the pug owner asking to contact us directly so that we could work together to investigate this matter. The pug owner did not reply. Other members of Instagram asked the pug owner to contact Evanger’s directly as well, yet in vain as she still has not made contact. Evanger’s has contacted the customer through Instagram, her FundMe Page with Evanger’s contribution, and the News Outlet, but has yet to be contacted by the customer directly.
Through a third party on Instagram who forwarded the information to us, we just received the lot number on the cans fed. The Lot Number is 1816E06HB13, and was purchased at a local Washougal, WA pet store. It was manufactured back in June 2016. We traced this batch and found that the entire lot went to one distributor in the Pacific Northwest only, and no other cans from this lot would be anywhere else in the country.
We have dispatched FedEx to pick up cans of the same lot number from the place where the customer purchased this food and it will be send directly to a third-party laboratory for testing. We have offered to have the remaining unopened cans that the pug owner fed sent in for testing, but at this time have not heard back from the customer. The lab confirmed that pathogen and toxin testing will take 13 days for the cultures to show any results. Evanger’s plans to share the results as soon as it becomes available. Although every single batch is reviewed by a graduate from the FDA Better Processing School before it leaves Evanger’s facility, we have pulled the cooking records for review and have found that this particular batch was, as expected, cooked in compliance with Evanger’s FDA Scheduled File Process.
As you know Hunk of Beef is our #1 seller. Pets consume over one million cans of Hunk of Beef per year. We cook to order so most of our distributors keep a 4 weeks supply on hand, and are working off of October/November production. Evanger’s has not had one single call about issues with Hunk of Beef or any canned foods at all. We believe this is an isolated incident to this specific can, if it has to do with the food at all, but believe that other factors are involved that we are not aware of at this time due to no contact from the customer. We feed this same product to our own family dog, Lilly, as do almost all of our office, manufacturing, and sales personnel.
In 81 years we have never had a recall; voluntary or mandatory, and we anticipate at the conclusion of our investigation the test results will come back negative for any pathogens or toxins. Nevertheless, we cannot imagine how terrible this must be for the owner, Nikki Mael, and are compassionate towards her situation. Evanger’s, of course, stands behind their products 100%. Any customers who want to err on the side of caution and return their product for a refund may do so, but please note that this is NOT a recall. We take safety very seriously at Evanger’s and are doing everything possible to determine what happened. We will keep you updated as this unfolds.
Nevertheless, we cannot imagine how terrible this must be for the owner, Nikki Mael, and are compassionate towards her situation. Evanger’s, of course, stands behind their products 100%. Any customers who want to err on the side of caution and return their product for a refund may do so, but please note that this is NOT a recall. We take safety very seriously at Evanger’s and are doing everything possible to determine what happened. We will keep you updated as this unfolds.
Having dealt directly with Evanger’s for years and having witnessed similar situations before, I’d like to add my two cents about this matter so that our customers understand the nature of these claims.
Until proven otherwise this appears to be a scam. Evanger’s has gone above and beyond their responsibility in light of the pet owner’s lack of response to normal and reasonable questions. In order to facilitate Evanger’s investigation this pet owner should be more than willing to answer a few simple questions if justice or reparations is needed. If in the end they find an evil motive to tarnish the Evanger’s brand, I hope this lady pays for this bit of shenanigans. I applaud Holly from Evanger’s and I am annoyed by the potential manipulation of a really good company to possibly cover up someone else’s mistakes. One single incident like this can ruin a company’s reputation — especially one without the marketing power to move on and rebrand. We see digital media used for these nefarious purposes all the time. Burton’s Total Pet has also been on the receiving end of this awful practice. People have a tendency to believe what they read, no matter where they read it. The Internet contains honest news from reputable news sources, but it also contains lies and misinformation. Facts matter. One person’s social media feed does not equal truth. Check your news sources. And as a result of Evanger’s proactive investigation we will know the truth in a couple of weeks.