N.C. Officials Stop Sale of Potentially Contaminated Alfalfa

Five horses that ate the alfalfa hay, which contained blister beetles, have died.

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North Carolina state officials issued a stop-sale order Monday (Sept. 14) on alfalfa hay received from Kansas and being sold at Murphy Farm Hay and Feed in Louisburg and Jones Farm Hay and Feed in Middlesex for blister beetle contamination, which can be deadly for horses.

Store owners voluntarily recalled the alfalfa hay when they learned about the possible contamination and are cooperating with feed inspectors from the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to notify any animal owners who might have purchased the alfalfa hay. The hay was delivered from Kansas and sold at the stores during recent weeks.

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

Thus far, five horse deaths have been attributed to blister beetle poisoning. All five were fed the alfalfa hay that originated in Kansas and was either sold by Murphy Farm Hay and Feed or distributed by Murphy to Jones Farm Hay and Feed. Kansas agriculture officials have not reported a spike in blister beetle toxicity

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