Two Stores Recall Alfalfa Hay Due to Blister Beetle Contamination

Two Stores Recall Alfalfa Hay Due to Blister Beetle Contamination
Image: NCCC
September 16, 2015

North Carolina officials have issued a stop-sale order for livestock feed contaminated with a deadly insect.

This week, in conjunction with the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, two feed stories voluntarily recalled a shipment of alfalfa hay due to the discovery of blister beetles. These insects can be deadly to horses. The shipment in question was delivered from Kansas and distributed by Murphy Farm Hay and Feed in Louisburg, NC and Jones Farm Hay and Feed in Middlesex, NC.

"Department feed inspectors are conducting tracebacks to determine whether any other feed stores received alfalfa hay from the same source in Kansas," Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler said in a written statement. "While the investigation into this case is ongoing, we wanted to alert animal owners, especially those in the equine community, to this situation."

Five horse deaths have been recorded in recent weeks in relation to this tainted shipment.

Blister beetles contain a poison called cantharidin. Horses are most susceptible to this substance, but it can have an effect on cattle, goats, and sheep. Contaminated feed may not feature visible beetles, making detection difficult.

Animal owners who bought alfalfa hay from the two stores in question are encouraged to stop using it immediately and return it to the location where purchased.

Consumers with questions can contact Murphy Farm at (919) 496-4646 and Jones Farm at (919) 427-4963.