On Thursday, Purina issued a voluntary recall of horse feed products manufactured in its Turlock plant.
The move from corporate parent Land O’ Lakes Purina Feed LLC came after the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) issued an advisory that certain sweet feed products for horses from the company may contain the drug zilpaterol. Low levels of the drug were found in some sweet feed products with a molasses base.
Zilpaterol is a used to promote weight gain in cattle, but is a banned substance for race horses. It is considered a performance enhancer like steroid in human athletes.
All the products in question were manufactured at the Purina Mills Inc. plant in Turlock on Paulson Road. The effected feed is sold under the Purina brand or Country Acres label.
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The CHRB has instructed its licensed feed vendors to remove Purina sweet feed products from CHRB facilities on a temporary basis. Purina has issued its own recommendation that race house owners discontinue to use of the product as well.
The CHRB found zilpaterol in 48 horses racing on California tracks earlier this year. They traced the positive results back to Purina Race Ready, Purina Strategy, Purina Omoline-200, Country Acres Horse Feed and Country Acres Sweet-12 products.
Products manufactured at Turlock will have the letters “TRL” in the date code found on the seam of the bag. Date codes are formatted as follows: Example 3MAR15TRL1 3=Year (2013) / MAR= Month / 15=Day of Month / TRL = Plant Code (Turlock) / 1 = Shift Code.
Purina said its race-horse feed products made at other Purina plants can be used without hesitation. The CHRB has reported no cases of illness in horses due to the contaminated feed.
The company is currently performing tests to ensure the Turlock plant is free of zilpaterol. Officials said the company does not use zilpaterol at the Turlock facility or at any Purina plant. They suspect it came from a single supplier to the Turlock facility and were produced in February.
Once the plant is cleared, the horse feed products will be made available again.