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Banned Milk Replacers Still Used at PA Dairy Farm

Two Pennsylvania dairy farms were found selling bob veal calves for slaughter with higher than allowed levels of specific animal antibiotics in their edible tissues.

In Feb. 15 warning letters to the Lloyd B. Zimmerman and Sons dairy farm at Danville, and the Jesse R. Petre dairy farm at Greencastle, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said both operations were offering animals for sale that were adulterated under federal law.

Both Pennsylvania dairy farms are in trouble for using neomycin, an amino glycoside antibiotic discovered in 1949 and used in many topical medications.  

But for Zimmerman, violations included the continued use of milk replacers manufactured with a combination of neomycin and oxytetracycline, known as neo-terramycin or NT.  Oxytetracycline is a broad-spectrum tetracycline antibiotic.

FDA banned the use of neo-terramycin (NT) in 2:1 dosage more than a year ago.

Dr. Tom Earleywine, nutritional services director for Shoreview, MN-based Land of Lakes Animal Milk Products Co., at the time of the ban said most dairy farmers using the milk replaces were doing to prevent scours.   

Research showed no consistent significant reduction in scours by producers who used the medicated milk producer, according to Earleywine.

An October investigation of the Zimmerman dairy farm found Vigormilk 22NNT Medicated Milk Replacer containing neomycin and oxytetracyclin was being used in pre-ruminating calves as recently as last May.  FDA said there is no acceptable level for use of the antibiotics in the milk replacer.

Zimmerman sold a bob veal calf on or about last May 5 that USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service subjected to post slaughter testing of its edible tissues.  FDA said those tests found 15.14 parts per million (ppm) of neomycin in the tissues, more than double the residue levels allowed if milk replacers are not being used.

FDA said the Danville dairy farm had two additional bob veal calves on or about last Oct. 6.  One was found with 10.2 ppm of neomycin, and the other with residues of gentamicin, a related aminoglycoside antibiotic.

While there have been reports of E. coli O157:H7 resistance to gentamicin, FDA has set a tolerance level for the antibiotic in the edible tissues of animals.

At the Petre dairy farm, FDA said a veal calf was sold for slaughter last January that FSIS found with residues of neomycin (7.73 ppm) and flunixin (0.11 ppm) in kidney and liver tissues, respectively. Flunixin is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, with a tolerance level of 0.125 ppm.

FDA said both dairy farms failed to keep good treatment records for animals under care.  Both were asked to respond FDA’s Philadelphia district office within 15 working days.

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