GREGG COUNTY, Texas (KETK) — The Gregg County AgriLIfe Extension Agency is warning people who hunt feral hogs to pay extra attention if you plan on eating them, after a green substance was found embedded in the fat of a few hogs in Texas.

“A lot of people shoot hogs. A lot of people eat hogs. That’s fine, I know that, but I also know they need to be careful,” said Randy Reeves with The Gregg County AgriLife Extension.

Meat that is contaminated is believed to contain larvae of Spirometra mansonoides — commonly known as the bobcat tapeworm. It can infect humans at this larval stage.

Most folks KXAN sister station KETK spoke with say they choose not to eat the meat of a feral hog anyway, mainly because of the animals’ diet. “They’ll eat just about anything. Hogs are opportunists,” Reeves said.

Should the contamination spread, it could mean business lost for people like Cullen Parker. He and his family have owned PaP’s Fishing & Hunting Guide in Henderson for nearly a decade.

“I would say 30 percent of hunters actually take the time to skin the hog, process the meat,” Parker said.

Texas Parks and Wildlife say there are more than 1.5 million feral hogs in Texas. It’s not known how widespread the tapeworm is.

“People just need to be aware and please be careful. If you plan on eating your kill, cook it all the way through. Like a well done steak,” Reeves said. “Otherwise, you’re putting yourself a risk,” Reeves said.