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Official: Two Menards stores didn't remove suspect wood

MILWAUKEE -- An order to remove firewood that could be carrying the emerald ash borer from shelves at Menards home improvement stores hadn't been carried out more than a week later at two southern Wisconsin stores, a state spokesman says, but the...

MILWAUKEE -- An order to remove firewood that could be carrying the emerald ash borer from shelves at Menards home improvement stores hadn't been carried out more than a week later at two southern Wisconsin stores, a state spokesman says, but the company denies the allegation.

Agriculture officials in Minnesota, Wisconsin and North Dakota said last week that thousands of bundles of the firewood came from trees cut in Illinois -- which is under a federal quarantine to keep any infested trees or wood from leaving Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and southeastern Ontario.

The quarantine is part of efforts to contain the emerald ash borers, an insect that has killed more than 20 million trees in other states. Officials said consumers who had purchased the wood should burn it immediately, before any larvae transform into beetles.

The recall order of April 13 gave Menards 24 hours to remove the firewood that had been supplied by the Springfield, Ill.-based Taylors Wood Products Inc., according to the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

But government inspectors found the wood for sale at two southern Wisconsin stores more than a week later, said Mick Skwarok, spokesman for the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.

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Menards' response: "We were in complete cooperation with the (federal) recall order and have obtained a new firewood vendor."

The company said it pulled 23,014 bundles from its shelves in response to a recall that has now gone nationwide.

Taylors Wood Products has been given a federal "notice of violation" and cound face fines, said inspection service spokeswoman Sharon Lucik.

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Information from: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, http://www.jsonline.com

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