In every year between 2000 and 2006, and now again in 2009, a Vermont livestock operation has violated federal law by selling cattle for slaughter that had drugs in their edible tissues at higher than allowed tolerance rates.

Now that operation–Quesnel Livestock–has received a Nov. 23 “Warning Letter” from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that orders the Middlebury, CT company to correct its violations or face possible seizures of it property and/or an injunction to close down the business.

In the “Warning Letter” released by FDA on Dec. 8th, Co-owner Bernard Quesnel was told the firm “has employed poor husbandry practices by failing to take reasonable precautions to prevent the marketing and sale of animals containing illegal residues in instate commerce.”

FDA inspectors were on site at Quesnel Livestock on Sept. 22 and 29, Oct. 7 and Nov. 4, 2009 and were able to determine that a cow sold in April by the firm had been slaughtered for human food. That sale was a violation of Section 402 (a) (2) (C) (ii) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act because tissues collected from the animal show the presence of the drugs Penicillin and Flunixin at tolerance levels higher than the law allows.

In a brief recap, New England FDA Director John R. Marzilli showed seven other similar violations by Quesnel dating back to the year 2000.

“You have failed to implement and maintain a system to identify the animals you purchase with records to establish traceability to the source of the animal,” FDA wrote the livestock operation.  FDA says Quesnel Livestock also failed to determine from the source of the animal whether it had been medicated nor which drugs were involved.

FDA told the livestock firm that if an animal is medicated, it should be withheld from slaughter for a period of time until potentially hazardous drugs have time to depleted themselves or offer the animal for sale as medicated, meaning it would not be used for human food.

The Vermont livestock company has 15 working days to respond to FDA latest letter.