Pork infested with trichinosis on Carroll farm

April 07, 2006|By GINA DAVIS AND LAURA MCCANDLISH | GINA DAVIS AND LAURA MCCANDLISH,SUN REPORTERS

State agriculture officials warned consumers yesterday that trichinosis - a disease caused by a parasitic worm - had been discovered in tests conducted on a dead pig taken from a Carroll County farm during a recent raid.

"Any pork purchased from the Schisler farm should be discarded," said Anthony McCann, secretary of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. "If anyone chooses to eat pork acquired from this farm, it should be cooked to a consistent internal temperature of 170 degrees."

Officials - who stressed that the disease is not spread from person to person - said no part of the diseased pig was sold or consumed, but consumers who purchased pork products from the farm should avoid eating the meat or cook it thoroughly.

Symptoms associated with eating infected pork can occur within a few days and include nausea, diarrhea, fever, aching joints and muscle pain, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Last weekend, the state agriculture department imposed a swine quarantine on the 112-acre farm in New Windsor and banned the sale and slaughter of pigs there after authorities discovered decomposing carcasses, piles of bones and livestock feeding on rotting trash.

Investigators and three veterinarians took samples from carcasses and removed a malnourished pig that later died.

The quarantine prohibits the Schislers from moving pigs onto or off of the property for at least 30 days from April 1, according to agriculture officials. The owner also cannot sell swine products.

The Schislers could face criminal charges for violating a state law against illegal garbage feeding, which includes allowing animals to feed on carcasses and animal by-products, said Kate Wagner, a spokeswoman for the agriculture department.

Last weekend's search of the livestock farm - owned by Carroll Schisler, 59, and his son, Carroll Schisler Jr., 33 - was the second in less than a month.

The Schislers raise cows, goats, chickens and pigs and occasionally other animals, such as llamas or emus. Police discovered livestock carcasses during an initial search of the farm in early March.

Neither man could be reached for comment last night.

Customers purchase animals from the farm's livestock and request customized slaughter, agriculture officials said.

The operation is largely unregulated because the slaughter is of the owner's property and at the owner's request. The animal products cannot legally be sold.

It is unclear how many people purchased pork from the Schisler farm, McCann said last night.

As of yesterday afternoon, he said his office hadn't received any complaints from consumers.

"Pork products purchased from normal channels, such as a grocery store, are entirely safe and inspected," McCann said. "The way to assure safety and quality is to purchase meat through these normal channels."

gina.davis@baltsun.com laura.mccandlish@baltsun.com

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