Strain issues warning to coastal cattle farmers, Ag Commissioner says oil may be pushed inland by tropical systems

Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M., advises coastal cattle producers to protect their livestock from exposure to oil from the British Petroleum oil disaster that could be pushed further inland by tropical weather systems.

Current information indicates that 260 miles of coastal Louisiana shoreline have been contaminated with most of the affected shoreline in the wetland areas of southeast Louisiana. There is concern that tropical weather systems will begin moving oil onshore and into areas where cattle graze.

According to the latest information from USDA Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS), if oil contaminates inland pastures, livestock will not be allowed to go to slaughter. The animals can not be shipped to plants for slaughter if the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) has credible information that cattle have grazed on oil-contaminated pasture.

FSIS will be conducting a risk assessment for consuming meat from animals exposed to crude oil. Target date for completion of this risk assessment report is mid-July 2010.

Be advised that producer losses due to oil contamination are considered to be caused by a man-made disaster and may not be covered by traditional indemnity programs.

The LDAF suggests that producers take measures to minimize the risk of exposure of their animals to oil due to tropical weather and/or man-made events.

Any changes in the current situation will be announced as they develop.

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