Utah Department of Agriculture and Food

Potentially Tainted Rabbit Feed Prompts Feed Investigation

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 25, 2016

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Jack Wilbur

801.243.2801

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SALT LAKE CITY (Oct. 25, 2016)– The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food (UDAF) is cautioning commercial and backyard rabbit producers to refrain from feeding their animals feed manufactured by Cache Commodities of Ogden, sold under the brand name “Commercial Rabbit”, until sampling and testing is complete. If tainted feed is found, contaminated lot numbers will be confirmed and published by the department.

More than 500 commercially grown rabbits in Utah which consumed the product have died since May. Consumers are strongly advised not to eat rabbits which may have consumed this feed product until testing is complete and reporting is made public. Producers with animals that have passed away are advised to bury or incinerate the rabbits to prevent predation by birds and other animals which could become exposed.

“Cache Commodities has contacted us and reported that they are in the process of recalling and replacing all Commercial Rabbit feed that has been distributed since May,” said Bracken Davis, Deputy Director, Plant Industry and Conservation, UDAF. “The company expects that all suspected tainted feed will be recalled immediately and replaced by Wed., Oct. 26.”

Consumers who raise backyard rabbits are advised to contact their veterinarian if their animals begin showing any signs of illness, or if they have had access to this feed.

The feed investigation was initiated after the discovery of vitamin-D in the product at levels much higher than what is normal or safe. High levels of vitamin-D cause organ failure and calcification of tissues in affected animals. More information on this particular feed product will follow after sampling and testing. The suspected tainted rabbit feed, which originates from feed suppliers throughout Utah, is currently being tested as part of this investigation. 

Necropsies of affected animals showed organ failure and tissue calcification caused by high levels of vitamin-D.

 “We advise anyone who raises rabbits as a hobby or for meat to double check the source of the feed given to their rabbits, hold any Commercial Rabbit feed until testing is complete, and check the health of their animals if they intend to consume them,” Dr. Barry Pittman, State Veterinarian, said. “If your animals have been fed high levels of vitamin-D, their carcasses may show signs of calcification and will not look like they normally do when prepared for consumption.”

Consumers who have purchased Commercial Rabbit brand feed are advised to contact their local feed distributor for replacement.

 

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