Posted: Jul 22, 2010 2:56 PM by Melissa Canone
The National Weather Services has predicted that a tropical storm currently organizing near the Bahamas is expected to make landfall in Southwest Louisiana or Southeast Texas on Sunday, July 25. Tropical storm force winds and 3-4' above normal tides are predicted for Southwest Louisiana.
Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M., advises Louisiana coastal cattle producers to protect their livestock from exposure to oil from the Deepwater Horizon BP oil disaster that could be pushed further inland by tropical weather systems.
Current information indicates that 479 miles of coastal Louisiana shoreline have been contaminated with most of the affected shoreline in the wetland areas of southeast Louisiana. There is concern that tropical weather systems will begin moving oil onshore and into areas where cattle graze.
According to the latest information from USDA Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS), if livestock are suspected to have come into direct contact with oil on inland pastures, they will not be allowed to go to slaughter as a precautionary measure at this time. The animals cannot be shipped to plants for slaughter if the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) has credible information that cattle have grazed on oil-contaminated pasture or come into direct contact with oil. FSIS will be conducting a risk assessment for consuming meat from animals exposed to crude oil in order to develop a final recommendation and will work with LDAF to issue a statement upon completion.
Be advised that producer losses due to oil contamination are considered to be caused by a man-made disaster and may not be covered by traditional agricultural indemnity programs, although other forms of compensation may be available through the Oil Pollution Act Claims process. The LDAF suggests that producers take measures to minimize the risk of exposure of their animals to oil due to tropical weather and/or man-made events.
Any changes in the current situation will be announced as they develop.