It has been more difficult than necessary for "Pet Tao" to provide information about how Evanger's plays a role in their sourcing. You would think that a company would be proud of how their foods are made and all the information would be out for the consumer to get quick answers on. It's been a bit of a back and forth with "Pet Tao" even though they market themselves as being transparent and holistic. But asking them questions has only brought to light that Evanger's is responsible for a bulk of the "Pet Tao" sourcing. Evanger's has a horrible ethical relationship with pet owners, stores, and suppliers at this point. It's a mess.
The purpose here is to figure out WHO ELSE besides Party Animal that Evanger's manufactures. This is IMPORTANT INFORMATION. You should be asking all of these questions to the companies who make your pet "food". Where is it being made? Is it a white labeled product? Is someone else doing the sourcing?
For back conversations with "Pet Tao", please click HERE and HERE.
KOHL: It looks like you guys white label with Wisconsin Freeze Dried.
SAMANTHA (PET TAO): YES
KOHL: So Pet Tao comes up with the packaging and marketing and then Wisconsin Freeze Dried takes care of the rest?
SAMANTHA (PET TAO): YES, we do all the packaging, labeling, and moisture, rancidity, microbiology et al. All of our products are custom formulated none are Evangers formula with the exception of defunct select cat foods.
KOHL: Is that the case with Evanger's as well?
SAMANTHA (PET TAO): YES, they co-pack our foods currently.
KOHL: I see nothing in that link that talks about you sourcing the raw materials or anything of that nature. Is that left for Evanger's to do and then you pack it with your label?
SAMANTHA (PET TAO): Not entirely! It depends on the availability of raw materials. For instance, we supply our own custom premix derived from our AAFCO testing and formulated by Trow Nutrition. We do not source ALL the raw materials as that defies the bulk price point discounts of the manufacturer. We do not source the meat ingredients. Because of our diet formulations we cannot cost effectively source the meats in frozen or fresh form. They would have to be powdered and we chose not to do that.
KOHL: Also just to confirm with Evanger's, do you guys test the ingredient once per year for guaranteed analysis?
SAMANTHA (PET TAO): We are responsible for product testing, not Evangers because we do not use their canine formulas. GA is an average not an absolute so the products are tested per calendar year depending on production by us. GA is for labeling only and doesn’t indicate much since it is an average over time. There is latitude in the GA but it does ensure minimal consumer confidence. We perform the GA and other tests including Ca and P not necessarily every 12 months but per calendar year. Products not labeled “for supplemental feeding only” have been through AAFCO testing and GA testing. I'm not seeing any further tests being conducted on the products other than that so I could love to confirm that as well. Pentobarbitol tests done during the recall at Texas A and M. salmonella, botulism and listeria on as needed basis on select at risk products.
KOHL: All of these questions are completely in line with what Pet Tao is marketing, which is wanting 100% confidence in your manufacturer. It doesn't appear that you're actually manufacturing anything at PetTao but sourcing that out.
SAMANTHA (PET TAO): When we first started, we produced all of our foods in our own facility. It was not feasible with all of our fresh meats and vegetables, no powders.
KOHL: Many companies do that and it technically doesn't mean anything bad...but I think you can understand from the terminology used on your blog how that can be confusing. Would love confirmation.
SAMANTHA (PET TAO): I think our statement at the end of the article may be confusing. We meant if you truly want 100% confidence in your manufacturer, the only way to have that is make the food yourself at home.
That's why we link to our course about Eastern Food Therapy after that statement. We teach people how to cook at home and how to follow the Eastern principles we base our formulas on. We also have all of our recipes on the blog because we want people to have the option to make our food at home if they don't want to buy the cans.
"Pet Tao" is not the only company out there that sources out their manufacturing like this. "Pet Tao" is not the only company that allows a 3rd party to do all of their meat sourcing.
It's questionable to me how "Pet Tao" can talk about themselves being ethical and transparent, yet none of this information about sourcing and manufacturing is in their literature or marketing.
The question is simple. Who are the suppliers for Evanger’s pet food?
On their website, Evanger’s claims “Evanger’s utilizes USDA inspected meats to make highly palatable and nutritious foods that will satisfy even the most finicky eater. With no soy, corn, wheat, artificial ingredients, preservatives, harmful additives or by-products, Evanger’s canned meals make an excellent mixer to our dry foods.”
So when pentobarbital made it’s way into Evanger’s foods, Evanger’s blamed their supplier. They claim that, “A USDA-APHIS inspected supplier who we had done business with for over 40 years, and whose plant we had visited numerous times over the years.”
But Evanger’s doesn’t currently reveal who their suppliers are. Some companies are transparent to the point of sharing who they buy their raw materials from. Other companies do not reveal this information.
Brett Sher from Evanger’s posted the following on our Facebook page. (the comment has since disappeared)
How can a consumer truly trust a company that doesn’t reveal to them who the suppliers are for raw materials, especially after the supplier is alleged to adulterate raw materials?
As the pet food industry evolves, issues surrounding sourcing of ingredients, the actual quality of those ingredients, how foods are processed, and the overall transparency of companies are becoming common themes of discussion among concerned pet parents.
Law doesn’t require companies, like Evanger’s, to disclose to consumers where they source raw ingredients. Some companies disclose where they source ingredients from and some even disclose the farms where the animal meats are sourced from. Stores are reporting that they’re pulling all Evanger’s products from store shelves along with the various brands Evanger's white labels for, like "Party Animal". We will see if Evanger’s sees it fit to be fully honest regarding where they source their raw meats from. It's hard to see from a public relations standpoint how Evanger's can continue forward when it's unclear when and where this issue will arise again.