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Murphy Farm Hay and Feed Company Recalls Alfalfa Hay Due To Possible Health Risk

Murphy Farm Hay and Feed Company of Louisburg North Carolina voluntarily recalls some of its alfalfa hay due to potential Blister Beetle contamination. Horses are very susceptible to the toxin produced by this beetle. After an exposure to this toxin, death can occur anywhere between couple of hours to about 3 days. So, as soon as blister beetle poisoning is suspected, it is best to contact a veterinarian.

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  • Murphy Farm Hay and Feed in Louisburg, NC
  • Jones Farm Hay and Feed in Middlesex, NC.


  • Square-baled alfalfa hay, bound in reddish-orange twine.(No brand specified)

Recalled products:

  • The Hay from the contaminated lot is best described to be Square-baled alfalfa hay, bound in reddish-orange twine and weighing approximately 70 lbs.

Why recalled?

A sample of the potentially contaminated hay tested positive for cantharidin, a poisonous substance found in blister beetles.


  • The death of six horses is suspected due this potentially contaminated bales of hay.
  • The hay contaminated with the toxin may or may not contain visible blister beetles.
  • The product was offered for sale to consumers at two retail locations; Murphy Farm Hay and Feed in Louisburg, NC and Jones Farm Hay and Feed in Middlesex, NC.
  • This recall is initiated with the knowledge of the North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services and the United States Food and Drug Administration.
  • A single load of alfalfa hay originating in Kansas and delivered to Murphy Farm Hay and Feed on August 11, 2015 is most likely the source of the blister beetle contamination.

What to do?

  • Retailers are instructed to immediately stop selling the recalled product and notify customers who may have bought the product.
  • Customers who bought the product on or after August 11, 2015 at either of the above mentioned locations should discontinue using the hay immediately and return the unused portion back to the place of purchase.
  • If you have any questions about the recalled product, you are advised to contact Mr. Will Murphy with Murphy Farm Hay and Feed Company during business hours at 919-496-4646 from 7am-Noon EST, Monday through Sunday or 919-495-3875 outside of regular business hours.

About Cantharidin :

  • Cantharidin is an organic compound secreted by many species of blister beetles.
  • There may or may not be any visible blister beetles present on the contaminated hay, so diagnosing the contamination just by looking at the hay is impossible.
  • While cattle, goats and sheep may also be affected by cantharidin, horses are more susceptible to the toxin than ruminants. (Ruminants are mammals like cattle, sheep, goats, deer, giraffes, antelopes, and camels that are able to acquire nutrients from plant-based food by fermenting it in a specialized stomach prior to digestion, principally through microbial actions.)
  • Horse owners should monitor their animals closely and contact the veterinarian if they see signs like inflammation, colic, straining, elevated temperature, depression, blood in the urine, increased heart rate and respiration, dehydration, sweating and diarrhea.
  • Death can occur between as little as a few hours and up to about 3 days after a toxic exposure so it is vital to contact a veterinarian as soon as blister beetle poisoning is suspected.



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