SALEM, Ohio – Four West Virginia farms are quarantined after importing Ohio hogs with a strain of tuberculosis.
The hogs went through sales in Hillsboro and Caldwell, Ohio, said Melanie Wilt, Ohio Department of Agriculture spokesperson.
Tracking. Food safety specialists from the West Virginia Department of Agriculture discovered the signs of tuberculosis at custom meat plants March 21.
All but a handful of the original 206 hogs have been located, according to the department.
Some carcasses were still in processing facilities and were condemned. Customers whose processed hogs had already left the facilities were notified and none of that meat was consumed, the department said in a news release.
Tim Reedy of Red House, W.Va., brought the animals into West Virginia from Ohio and has helped the agriculture department locate and collect live animals he’d sold. According to the department, those animals were killed and disposed of March 24.
Investigating. This was avian tuberculosis, Wilt said, and it is not a reportable disease under Ohio’s animal disease law. Hogs can be carriers of the bird disease but usually aren’t transmitters, she said.
Wilt could not confirm the date the hogs went through the sales or whether they were from a single animal dealer.
Although avian tuberculosis isn’t a reportable disease, Wilt said if the dealer knew the hogs had a disease and did not report it, action could be taken.
“Animal dealers have the responsibility to truthfully represent what they’re selling,” she said.
The Ohio Department of Agriculture is reviewing records and conducting a investigation, Wilt said.
Cooking practices. It’s possible other hogs in Ohio could also have avian tuberculosis, Wilt said. But because it isn’t reportable, they could go to slaughter and the public wouldn’t know about the disease, she said.
As long as consumers are following correct food preparation techniques and cooking their meat thoroughly, there is no reason for concern, she said.
Avian tuberculosis is not linked to avian influenza, which has killed more than 100 people in Indonesia, China, Thailand and Vietnam, according to the World Health Organization.
(Reporter Kristy Hebert welcomes feedback by phone at 800-837-3419, ext. 23 or by e-mail at email@example.com.)
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