Salmonella Found in Bird Feed
The killer of finches and other songbirds in North Carolina has been identified.
Tests conducted by the N.C. Department of Agriculture Consumer Services Food and Drug Protection Division found salmonella bacteria present in Wild Birds Unlimited Wildlife Blend produced by Kentucky-based Burkmann Feeds.
Burkmann is recalling 20-pound bags with the manufacturing date code 81132200291608124 sold exclusively at Wild Birds Unlimited franchises throughout the state. Other Burkmann feeds are being tested.
But Bill Kastern, biologist and Wild Birds Unlimited franchisee in Aberdeen, said his house blend comes from a supplier in Pennsylvania and maintains that local bird deaths are probably from avian salmonella attributed to the unusually large number of finches wintering in the Sandhills. Avian salmonella infects other animals but rarely humans
Joe Reardon, food and drug protection director of the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, concurs.
"You may have two things going on at one time in your area," he said.
Reardon said peanut products from a Georgia plant where salmonella was found may be contained in Burkmann seed. An investigation is under way. This strain poses a risk to humans and animals.
Anyone coming in contact with contaminated bird seed should wash their hands thoroughly. Once contaminated seed is disposed of feeders, poles and bird baths should be washed with a 10 percent bleach solution and rinsed.
Either way, people who feed wildlife are cautioned to maintain sanitation and keep household pets away from feeders, bird droppings and dead birds.
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