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FDA Finds Animal Drug Abuse in NY State

Dairy farms and veal operations seem to be showing up as targets of the U.S. Food & Drug Administration’s “Warning Letters.”   The common theme is adulterated food brought about by misuse of animal medications.

Potsdam, New York-based Adon Farms, Canton, NY-based Lloyd T. Smith & Sons, and Francis J. Szarek of Westmoreland, NY were among those receiving “Warning Letters” released this week.

Adon and Smith & Sons are dairy farms.  Szarek runs a veal operation.

The Adon dairy was inspected on April 2 and 9, 2009 and the “Warning Letter” just released was mailed on Aug. 5, 2009.  FDA says the dairy offered an animal for slaughter as food that was adulterated in that it was held under insanitary conditions that may have rendered it injurious to health.

Tests by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety & Inspection Service (FSIS) showed uncooked edible tissues of the animal exceeded the tolerance for residues of penicillin.

FDA’s investigation found the dairy holds animals under conditions that are “so inadequate that medicated animals bearing potentially harmful drug residiues are likely to enter the food supply.”  FDA was critical of the dairy for its poor record-keeping and for not following label instructions on animal drugs; its “extra label” uses were not under the supervision of a veterinarian.

The Smith & Sons dairy was inspected on June 16, 19, and 24, 2009, and a “Warning Letter” was issued on Sept. 9, 2009.

FDA found Smith & Sons dairy sold a dairy cow for slaughter that FSIS tests showed had penicillin levels almost three times higher than tolerance levels allow. “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,” FDA wrote the dairy.

Smith & Son failed to maintain complete records, did not use a penicillin drug as directed on its labeling, and “extra label” uses were being made without the supervision of a veterinarian.

The Szarek veal operation was inspected on April 8 and 10, 2009, and its “Warning Letter” also went out on Sept. 9, 2009.   FSIS testing showed 0.134 parts per million of flunixin in the liver tissue of a veal calf sold for slaughter.   FDA has not established any tolerance level for residues of flunixin and the presence of the drug in edible tissue means the food is adulterated.

The veal operation is holding animals under inadequate conditions that are likely to allow harmful drug residues to enter the food supply, FDA says. Like the dairies, it was charged with using animal drugs for “extra label” purposes without the benefit of a veterinarian and without keeping adequate records.

The farms all had 15 working days to respond to FDA, but none of those responses are yet available.

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