The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

January 4, 2013

Nicollet hog breeder sues USDA over disease testing



 Compart’s is claiming the inconclusive results were based on poor testing and a misinterpretation of observations of the results by staff at the National Veterinary Services Laboratories.

Employees at Compart’s drew additional blood samples from the hogs that had the inconclusive results to the University of Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory. Two other types of tests were done that the business said are “more advanced and accurate” than the virus isolation test. The results from both tests from all 10 hogs were negative for PRRS.

The results were given to the National Veterinary Services Laboratories, but the agency wouldn’t change its findings.

 Veterinarians also inspected the Compart’s isolation area and the 10 hogs on Aug. 15, 2011, and also concluded the animals had no PRRS symptoms. The laboratory still didn’t change its results.

New blood samples were sent to the laboratories Aug. 16, 2011. Tests on those samples showed the animals were negative for PRRS, but those results weren’t released until Oct. 13, 2011, the complaint said.

 By that time the August shipment had been rejected. Compart’s also had been added to the Chinese government’s list of businesses barred from exporting swine to China for two years. The lawsuit also claims the inconclusive samples were retested, but the National Veterinary Services Laboratories has refused to provide those results to Compart’s.

Staff at the laboratories should have done a better job of analyzing the results or continued testing until the results were either positive or negative, according to the complaint.

As a result of the poor testing procedures, Compart’s lost $238,096 for the August 2011 shipment and nearly $3.2 million more as a result of being placed on the Chinese export blacklist for two years.

Compart’s is suing the USDA through the Federal Tort Claims Act. The act requires entities that are filing lawsuits against the government to first file a claim with the agency involved. The Compart’s lawsuit said the business filed a claim with the USDA in March. The business received notice Dec. 3 that the claim had been denied, the complaint said.

Jim Compart, one of the business’ owners, said the family can’t comment about the lawsuit at this point.

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