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Drug Residues High at Two Dairies

Michigan’s De Jong Dairy in Hickory Corners and New York’s Valmont Dairy at Lowville are the latest to cross the U.S. Food and Drug Administration over drug residues in animals recently sold for slaughter as human food.

De Jong received a July 6 warning letter and Valmont received a July 12 warning letter from FDA, which advised the dairies of their violations of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.

De Jong sold a cow for slaughter as human food last Sept. 1, which was subjected to tissue sampling by USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS).  The liver tissue from the animal was found with a residue of the animal drug Sulfamethazine at a level of 0.117 parts per million.  

The FDA tolerance level for the residue is 0.1 ppm.

Valmont sold a bob calf for slaughter as food around last Aug. 5, which also was subjected to tissue sampling by FSIS.  The USDA testing showed 0.483 ppm in the liver tissue and 0.669 pmm in the muscle tissue.   

No level is tolerated in the edible tissues from calves.

Both dairies were accused of holding animals under conditions that are “so inadequate that medicated animals bearing potentially harmful drug residues are likely to enter the food supply.”   Both failed to maintain complete treatment records for their animals.

De Jong had signed a “Livestock Owner Certificate,” promising that none of the animals it sold would have illegal levels of drug residues.

Valmont was also using the antibiotic called trimethoprim, popular for treatment of both humans and animals, in a manner not included on the label.   Any off label use of the drug–the one Valmont was using is called Tribrissen—is allowed only by a licensed veterinarian within the context of a valid client/patient relationship.

De Jong and Valmont were each given a response period of 15 working days.

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