The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued a warning letter to JBS USA concerning its Souderton, Pennsylvania, rendering facility. The FDA urges JBS, which does business as MOPAC, to take corrective actions to stop continued production and sale of beef tallow contaminated with pentobarbital, used by veterinarians to euthanize animals, including companion animals, horses and cattle.
FDA issued the letter after multiple investigations at the JBS Souderton facility. According to the FDA, pet foods containing even a trace amount of pentobarbital are considered adulterated. It is against federal law to release “adulterated” products into the stream of commerce.
FDA alleges that MOPAC continued to sell adulterated products after receiving formal notification of pentobarbital contamination from a customer on Feb. 13, 2018, and after formal notification of positive pentobarbital samples from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture on or about April 5, 2018.
According to FDA, MOPAC said that as of May 2018 it had made several changes to try to correct the problems, including requiring suppliers to sign guarantees that they do not pick up euthanized animals to extensive tank cleaning to random testing of tallow. But the agency collected a sample on August 2018 from a tank that was positive with trace levels of pentobarbital, indicating the company’s efforts were not sufficient. Samples taken at customers’ facilities also indicated levels of pentobarbital, FDA said.
MOPAC was given 15 days from receipt of the April 23 letter to respond with a list of steps the company has taken to correct the issues.
The company said it is cooperating with FDA.