Welcome to our nightmare: the possibility of contamination in horse feed. That's the bad news. The good news is that so far there are no reports of any adverse effects on horses.
People have been asking about an alleged recall of Purina products for horses, and I am posting their notice, in its entirety, for all to read (please see note at end). This has been going on for some time but emails circulating through the horse community have picked up steam in the past week, so people have questions:
Land O'Lakes Purina Feed LLC has implemented a voluntary product retrieval of certain feeds manufactured between November 3, 2007 and February 8, 2008 at our Statesville, N.C., feed plant; between January 1, 2008 and February 8, 2008 at our Harrisburg, Penn., feed plant; and between January 1, 2008 and March 10, 2008 at our Guilderland, N.Y. plant.
This voluntary retrieval was initiated due to the possible presence of aflatoxin contamination above acceptable levels.
To date, we have received no confirmed aflatoxin-related animal health complaints involving any of the retrieved products. Nevertheless, we have taken such precautionary action as our utmost priority continues to be our customers and the well-being of their animals.
All dealers who purchased any of the retrieved products directly from Land O'Lakes Purina Feed LLC have been notified. These dealers are located in the following states: Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia and West Virginia.
Our investigation and product testing identified one ingredient of concern, which originated from a single supplier. We have discontinued purchasing from this supplier. Other feed companies that purchased from this supplier are facing a similar situation.
For more information about specific products included in the retrieval, contact the Statesville, N.C., Feed Plant at 704-924-5100 or the Harrisburg, Penn., Feed Plant at 717-737-4581.
I think the most important piece of information in this, besides the fact that no animal health reports have been issued, is that other manufacturers bought the ingredient thought to be contaminated. That means that owners should be alert no matter what brand of feed they have purchased since the winter.
Check with your local feed dealer about any possible problem with feed you may have purchased, but it sounds like there was a quick action that prompted the possibly contaminated feed being removed from the retail supply side before it could be sold. Let's hope!
To learn more about aflatoxins, which are byproducts of mold contamination, check this page from Cornell University's Animal Science Department.