For the second time in less than a month, a US feed company has initiated a voluntary recall of horse feed. This time, three horses are known to be dead, with strong evidence pointing to contamination by livestock feed additives as the cause of death. The feed company has also announced that it has ceased production of horse feed.
The US Food and Drug Administration has not announced any official action in this case.
The situation involves Lakeland Animal Nutrition of Lakeland, Florida. At the same time that the horse press was issuing news of a recall of Bartlett Feeds in North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia, Lakeland had also issued a voluntary recall of its products manufactured for horses.
Today, more than a month after the voluntary recall began, Lakeland Animal Nutrition confirmed the results of tests conducted by the Florida Department of Agriculture, indicating that their feed had been contaminated with feed additives known to be deadly to horses.
The Jurga Report contacted the Florida Department of Agriculture and received this confirmation from press secretary Erin Gillespie:
"The State of New York Department of Agriculture and Markets Food Laboratory analyzed nine samples collected by our inspectors. Four of the samples were positive for monensin, and one sample was positive for monensin and lasalocid.
"We will evaluate these results while we complete our investigation, and should make a decision about any potential action taken against the feed company in about two weeks."
Monensin is the same feed additive used in cattle and poultry feed that was incriminated in the Bartlett recall on October 31.
Lakeland’s statement said that the recall began after the death of three horses at Masterpiece between October 16 and 20, 2014.
This television news report, while a few days old, shows some of the situation at Masterpiece Equestrian Center, where the three horses died:
In today's statement, Lakeland reviewed their initial steps: “We immediately began recalling the feed in question and then expanded the recall to three other feeds as a precautionary measure on October 22. There have been no further confirmed reports of any feed issues outside of Masterpiece Equestrian, and we believe the issue was isolated to feed that was distributed to that facility.”
The announcement continues: “Care of the animal and our customers’ trust are paramount to us, and we are committed to working with the Masterpiece Equestrian family to bring restoration in the midst of their tragic losses. Although we can never replace their horses or take away the pain of this tragedy, we are working with their representatives to expedite a resolution.”
According to Lakeland’s statement today, “a number of inaccurate reports” have been circulated about this tragic situation.
The products in question are:
1. Signature Status Pellet (Lot Number 14-251) – Manufacture Date: September 8
2. Signature Equilete Pellet (Lot Number 14-259) – Manufacture Date: September 16
3. Signature Status Pellet (Lot Number 14-280) – Manufacture Date: October 7
4. LAN 10 Pellet (Lot Number 14-281) – Manufacture Date: October 8
If you are in possession of any of these affected products, please return the product(s) to your dealer immediately for a full refund. The specific lot number can be found on the front center of the feed bag.
While Lakeland quotes test results from the Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services, that office has not issued a public safety alert.
An extensive article appeared today in the Lakeland Ledger newspaper’s online website, with more details on the situation at Masterpiece Equestrian Center.
Feed mill errors aside, horse owners and barn workers should be aware that poultry and livestock feed should never be fed to horses or even stored in the same location as horse feed. Not all livestock feed contains these additives, but it is a good rule to keep them apart at all times. It is particularly important to secure livestock feed from any danger of being eaten by a loose, hungry horse.
Whenever horses display evidence of illness, check to see if new feed has been introduced, or a new delivery received. In addition, watch for announcements of product recalls, even if they are not in your region, so you are familiar with how they work and what substances are likely to be harmful to horses.
To learn more:
Top photo by Clint Budd.