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Dairies Warned for Animal Drug Use

Two Ohio dairy farms received warning letters in recent weeks from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration ‘s (FDA) Cincinnati office about sales of bull calves for slaughter as food that were adulterated. FDA released the letters this week on its “Warning Letters” website.

The Van Raay Dairy Farm at South Charleston, OH received its warning in a July 14th letter.  FDA says the dairy sold ten calves, including a specific bull calf, for slaughter as food last June 30th.

FDA said food is adulterated if its “bears or contains” a new animal drug that is unsafe.  

The letter said the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety & Inspection Service (FSIS) tested tissue samples from the bull calf and found levels of neomycin higher than permitted by law.

“Our investigation also found that you hold animals under conditions that are so inadequate that medicated animals bearing potentially harmful drug residues are likely to enter the food supply,” wrote Teresa C. Thompson, FDA’s District Director in Cincinnati. She said the dairy farm fails to maintain treatment records and fails to identify treated animals.

The five-year old Raay Dairy Farm, located east of Columbus in Clark County, in 2007 applied for permits to build new and expand existing structures to house 2,800 cattle, up from 690 dry and milking cows.

About 140 miles to the north and east, the Schlegel Dairy Farms Inc. received its warning in a Sept 11th letter, also sent by FDA’s Cincinnati office.

FDA said the second Shreve, OH dairy farm sold a bull veal calf for slaughter as food that was adulterated.  FSIS tissue sample tests found levels of sulfamethoxazole in edible tissue that “causes the food to be adulterated…”

The dairy was also warned about the animal drugs being used “in an extra-label manner by a layperson on your farm outside the orders, instructions, or supervision of a licensed veterinarian…”

Warning Letters from FDA come with the advice to respond within 15 days.  Under a new policy implemented Sept. 1st, FDA plans to begin listing “close out” dates so the public can see when issues raised by a Warning Letter are resolved. Issues with the Ohio dairies have yet to be “closed out.”

FDA released nine “Warning Letters” Tuesday, but the other seven involved the drug side of its enforcement business.

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