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FDA warning letters: Cheese misbranding, drug residues

A cheese manufacturer in Ohio and a dairy farm in Arizona were the recipients of the most recently posted food-related warning letters from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

goatmilkrecall-iphoneIn a letter dated Aug. 29, FDA’s Cincinnati District Office told the Middlefield Original Cheese Co-op in Middlefield, OH, that an inspection of its facility on May 16-19 found that, due to labeling issues, its products were misbranded.

“Specifically, the product labeling states ‘No BST Hormones Added.’ This product is made with goat milk rather than cow milk, as reflected in the ingredient statement in the product labeling,” the agency stated.

However, recombinant bovine somatotropin (rBST) is only approved for use in lactating dairy cows, FDA noted.

“Because rBST is not approved for use in goats, no goat milk cheeses should contain rBST. The claim in your product labeling is misleading because it fails to reveal that fact and therefore implies that your Northeast Family Goat Farms Goat Sharp White Cheddar product differs from other brands of goat milk cheese in that the latter may be made with milk from goats treated with rBST,” the letter stated.

Other items noted in the warning letter include ingredient issues and nutrient content claims on the product labeling that FDA stated do not meet requirements. For example, claims of “healthy” and “calcium-rich” must meet certain regulatory requirements regarding the level of saturated fat in the products, the agency pointed out.

dairy-cattleRio Loco Dairy Farms LLC in Buckeye, AZ, was informed through an Aug. 31 warning letter from FDA’s Los Angeles District Office that an investigation from May 26 to July 20 revealed violations of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.

The letter stated that on or about Dec. 29, 2015, a dairy cow sold for slaughter as food had ampicillin at 0.18 parts per million (ppm) in the kidney tissue. However, FDA has established a tolerance of 0.01 ppm for residues of penicillin in the uncooked edible tissue of cattle.

“The presence of this drug in edible tissue from this animal in this amount causes the food to be adulterated …” within the meaning of the Act, FDA wrote. Further, the dairy operation failed to maintain required treatment records.

Recipients of FDA warning letters have 15 working days from receipt to respond with details of the procedures they have taken, or will take, to correct the current violations and prevent them from recurring.

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