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Animal Drug Misuse Found at Two Dairies

A  Texas dairy cow with high levels of Flunixin in its liver and a bob veal calf in California with gentamicin in its kidney tissues are the latest examples of animal drug misuse.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has sent official warning letters to both dairy operations.

A June 9 warning letter to Northside Farms, LLC in Hartley, TX concerned its dairy operation in Dalhart, TX, which was inspected by FDA last March 21-24.

“We found that you offered animals for sale for slaughter as food that was adulterated,” FDA said.

According to the letter, Northside sold a dairy cow for food that had been slaughtered on or about  Aug. 31, 2010 and was later subjected to testing by USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service.  

Tissue samples tested positive for Flunixin,  a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) and cyclo-oxygenase inhibitor.  Flunixin residue was found in the liver tissues at levels of 1.12 parts per million (PPM).

FDA’s established tolerance level for such residue is 0.125 pppm.

A second dairy cow sent to slaughter by the Texas dairy on or about Sept. 3, 2010 came back with Flunixin residue levels of 0.315 ppm.  FDA charged that medicated animals are likely to enter the food supply because of inadequate controls on the farm.

It also said Northside failed to keep adequate treatment records.

In a June 22 warning letter to the Da Silva Dairy in Escalon, CA, FDA said its investigation this past April found the dairy selling bob veal calves for slaughter as food that were considered adulterated, as defined by federal law.

After the slaughter of one of the calves, FSIS tissue samples showed the antibiotic known as gentamicin was present in the animals kidney tissues.  The FDA tolerance level for gentamicin is zero.

FDA alleged that the California dairy also misused several other animal drugs.  It was dosing dairy cow at levels above that recommended on the labels, FDA said.

So-called animal drug misuse is often found during FDA inspections of dairy farms in the U.S.

About 75,000 dairy farms were operating in the United States as of 2006, according to USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS).   

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