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Dairy Misusing Animal Drugs Gets Second Warning

Michigan’s Amting Dairy Farm — located at Marshall near the Intersection of Interstates 69 and 94 — has a mid-sized herd of dairy cows and is a fairly typical for the Wolverine State.

Also becoming fairly typical is how Amting fared in a recent inspection by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  Investigators found Amting holds “animals under conditions that are so inadequate that medicated animals bearing potentially harmful drug residues are likely to enter the (human) food supply.”

At issue is the misuse of the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug called flunixin, the antibiotic known as Oxytetracycline, and one of the more common sulfa-based medicines known as sulfamethazine. Sulfa drugs are among the pioneers in the history-making antibacterials.

A routine inspection of Amting Dairy Farm last Dec. 16 and 29 produced enough evidence for FDA to send the business a March 4 warning letter saying it is violating the Federal Food and Drug Act. FDA said it found the dairy had sold an adulterated animal for sale for slaughter as human food.

It is not the first time Amting has been warned against this.

Food that is adulterated or impure cannot be sold for human consumption.  And food can be deemed adulterated if it contains residues of animal drugs at levels greater than the tolerance levels set by federal law.

USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) tested tissue samples from a dairy cow Amting sold last Sept. 1 for slaughter as food FSIS.

According to FDA, results of those tests by FSIS showed the presence of sulfamethazine in the animal’s liver tissue of 0.268 parts per million (ppm).  FDA’s tolerance for sulfamethazine in uncooked edible tissue is 0.1 ppm

FDA said Amting is not using flunixin nor oxytetracycline as directed by approved labeling.  So-called “extra” label uses of the animal drugs are permitted, but only when done under the director of a licensed veterinarian.

Amting is accused of administering flunixin to a dairy cow without following the route of administration and withdrawal period indicated on the label.  Similar concerns involved it use of oxytetracycline.

Finally, FDA reminded Amting that it was warned before — on Aug 29, 2003.  It said this time it wants the dairy farm to respond with specific steps it will take to correct the violations and prevent any recurrence.

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