Florida agriculture authorities are investigating whether a commercial cattle feed might be responsible for a series of cattle deaths statewide.

Meanwhile, stores in Northeast Florida and Southeast Georgia that previously sold the cattle feed have voluntarily removed the product from their shelves.

The specific cause hasn’t been determined, state Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried said in a news release Friday.

There have been no reports of human health being affected. Nor are any expected at this time, Fried said.

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services received multiple reports last week regarding acute deaths in cattle, department officials said.

Northeast Florida is home to numerous cattle ranches. It was unknown Saturday whether any cattle on the region’s ranches might have been affected.

Fried said investigators are looking at Producer’s Pride 20% All Natural Cattle Cube with a lot number of 8DEC22MUL2. It is manufactured by Purina Animal Nutrition and distributed to 40 Tractor Supply Company stores in Florida and Georgia at the following locations.

Tractor Supply Company voluntarily has removed the feed from the shelves of all 40 stores. In addition, Purina Animal Nutrition has initiated a voluntary market withdrawal of the product, Fried said.

In Northeast Florida, the feed had been sold at Tractor Supply stores in Jacksonville, Palatka, Starke, St. Augustine, Macclenny, Gainesville and Palm Coast. It also has been sold at a Tractor Supply store in Kingsland, Ga., near the Florida-Georgia state line, according to Florida agriculture officials.

Customers who bought the product should discard it or return it to their local Tractor Supply store to exchange the product for a like item or refund, according to Purina Animal Nutrition.

The cattle deaths are being investigated by both the Division of Agricultural Environmental Services and the Division of Animal Industry along with some local law enforcement agencies and veterinarians, Fried said.

Statewide, there are an estimated one million cows, bulls and heifers that produce approximately 800,000 calves annually. The total value of cattle in Florida is estimated in excess of $1 billion and the Florida beef industry has an economic impact of $900 million annually, according to the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

Teresa Stepzinski: (904) 359-4075

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