Murphy Farm Hay and Feed Company of Louisburg, NC, has recalled some alfalfa hay due to potential blister beetle contamination. The product was offered for sale to consumers at the following two retail locations: Murphy Farm Hay and Feed in Louisburg, NC, and Jones Farm Hay and Feed in Middlesex, NC. A sample of the potentially contaminated hay tested positive for cantharidin, a poisonous substance found in blister beetles, and is suspected in the deaths of six horses. While cattle, goats and sheep may also be affected by cantharidin, horses are more susceptible to the toxin than ruminants. Officials from the North Caroline Department of Agriculture have determined that a single load of alfalfa hay, originating in Kansas and delivered to Murphy Farm Hay and Feed on Aug. 11, 2015, is most likely the source of the blister beetle contamination. Hay from the contaminated lot is best described as square-baled alfalfa hay bound in reddish-orange twine and weighing approximately 70 lbs. Retailers have been contacted and instructed to immediately withdraw the recalled product from sale and to notify customers who may have purchased the product about the recall. Customers who purchased alfalfa hay bound with reddish-orange twine and bought on or after Aug. 11, 2015, at either NC location are encouraged to discontinue use immediately and return any unused portion to the location where purchased. Horse owners should monitor their animals closely and contact their veterinarian if any of the following signs are observed: inflammation, colic, straining, elevated temperature, depression, blood in the urine, increased heart rate and respiration, dehydration, sweating and diarrhea. Death can occur between as little as a few hours and up to about 3 days after a toxic exposure, so it is imperative to contact a veterinarian as soon as blister beetle poisoning is suspected. Please note that hay contaminated with the toxin may or may not contain visible beetles. For more information on the product recall, contact Will Murphy with Murphy Farm Hay and Feed Company during business hours at (919) 496-4646 from 7 a.m. to noon ET, Monday through Sunday, or (919) 495-3875 outside of regular business hours. This recall is being conducted with the knowledge of the North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
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