The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

October 31, 2012

Ashtabula County Fair prize-winning steer tests positive for illegal drug

By SHELLEY TERRY - sterry@starbeacon.com
Star Beacon

JEFFERSON — A prize-winning steer at the 2012 Ashtabula County Fair tested positive for an illegal substance, Ohio Department of Agriculture officials said.

It’s an 1,225-pound black angus steer, which won best of show, according to fair records and the Farm and Dairy newspaper.

The steer sold at the Market Livestock Sale to Lisko Amusements of Lowellville, Ohio, for $2.40 a pound, according to the sale records.

ODA Communications Director Erica Pitchford Hawkins said the drug incident is under investigation and should be completed soon.

“We are collecting statements,” she said. “The department (of Agriculture) has a no tolerance policy.”

A urine sample was taken from the steer directly after it was named champion, and sent to the ODA, she said. It’s standard procedure to take urine samples from champion animals.

Hawkins said the drug was a steroid or growth hormone, and the meat was determined to be safe to eat.

The Ashtabula County Fair Board confirmed Tuesday the ODA is investigating a steer that tested positive for an illegal drug.

Lisko is the company that has provided the amusement rides at the fair for the past several years. When contacted by phone Tuesday, a spokeswoman said Lisko buys a steer in Ashtabula County every year, but they had no comment on this year’s purchase.

Many fair board members learned of the investigation from the Farm and Dairy newspaper, sources said.

The ODA will make a recommendation of any disciplinary action after reviewing the results of the investigation.