In rather shocking news, it was reported yesterday by the Chicago Tribune that the owners of Wheeling, Ill.-based Evanger’s Dog and Cat Food Company are facing charges of felony theft and money laundering for allegedly stealing more than $1.7 million worth of gas and electricity to run the company and its manufacturing plant.
The Tribune reports that Joel Sher and his wife, Holly, altered their gas meter to prevent it from recording how much gas they used for their high-end pet food company and also built a separate underground pipe to divert the flow of gas before it reached the meter at their company. To cover their tracks, the couple allegedly inserted a two-way valve so the gas flow could be re-directed when gas company officials did inspections.
Evanger’s offers both canned and dry dog and cat foods as well as a line of kosher pet products. The company is also known for being featured on an episode of a Food Network television show starring Rachael Ray.
This also isn’t the first time the Evangers pet food company has made news. This past June the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (U.S. FDA) announced it was suspending Evanger’s Dog & Cat Food Co.’s emergency permit to ship pet food as a result of the company’s manufacturing procedures potentially allowing the bacterium that causes botulism to survive in some of its products.
Botulism is a powerful toxin that affects the nervous system and can be fatal. The disease has been documented in dogs and cats, with signs of botulism including progressive muscle paralysis, disturbed vision, difficulty in chewing and swallowing, progressive weakness to the body, and potentially even death, usually due to paralysis of the heart or the muscles used in breathing.
Also, in April 2008, Evanger’s was issued an “Order of Need for Emergency Permit” after the FDA determined that the company had failed to meet the regulatory requirements to process a product that does not present a health risk.
In June 2008, FDA did issue Evanger’s a temporary Emergency Permit, but following inspections conducted between March 2009 and April 2009 the FDA determined that Evanger’s was not operating in compliance with the mandatory requirements and conditions of the Temporary Emergency Permit.
The FDA claimed that Evanger’s “deviated from the prescribed process, equipment, product shipment, and recordkeeping requirements in the production of the company’s thermally processed low acid canned food (LACF) products” and that under-processed pet food could be the result.
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