SALT LAKE CITY – Warning. If you feed your rabbits this local food, stop right now.
The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food is also strongly urging owners not to eat the rabbits if they have had this food.
Officials said “Commercial Rabbit” made by Cache Commodities of Ogden may be tainted and could be linked to the deaths of more than 500 rabbits since May.
Authorities are testing for contamination and will announce when it is safe to use the feed again.
Utah Dept. of Agriculture officials said producers should bury or incinerate rabbits that died so other predatory animals do not get exposed.
Health officials said rabbit owners should contact their veterinarian if rabbits start showing signs of illness or have had access to this food.
The investigation started when vitamin D levels in the food were found to be much higher than normal and unsafe.
High levels of vitamin D can lead to organ failure.
The suspected tainted rabbit feed, which comes from suppliers throughout Utah, is being tested as part of this investigation.
“We advise anyone who raises rabbits as a hobby or for meat to double-check the source of the feed given to their rabbits, hold any Commercial Rabbit feed until testing is complete, and check the health of their animals if they intend to consume them,” State Veterinarian Dr. Barry Pittman said. “If your animals have been fed high levels of vitamin D, their carcasses may show signs of calcification and will not look like they normally do when prepared for consumption.”
Consumers who have purchased Commercial Rabbit brand feed are advised to contact their local feed distributor for replacement.