An Ohio dairy farm went way over the limit for using the antibiotics Sulfamethoxazole in conjunction with Trimethoprim in treating an ill animal, probably for a urinary tract infection.

Raber View Holstein, based outside Millersburg, then sold the bob veal calf for slaughter as food for human consumption.  

USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) took tissue samples from the animal.   Test results on those samples showed the presence of 0.829 parts per million (ppm) of Sulfamethoxazole in the muscle and 0.484 ppm of the sulfa drug in the liver.

FDA has a zero tolerance policy for Sulfamethoxazole in the edible tissues of animals slaughtered and sold for human consumption.  The presence of the drug means the meat is adulterated under federal law.

In a Sept. 8 warning letter, FDA told the bob calf operation that it was violating the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.

“Our investigation also found that you hold animals under conditions that are so inadequate that medicated animals bearing potentially harmful drug residues are likely to enter the food supply,” the warning letter says.  “For example, you failed to maintain treatment records for the animals you produce.  Food from animals held under such conditions is adulterated…”

FDA said Raber View Holstein did not use the animal combination in the manner prescribed on the labels for the two drugs.  So-called “extralabel” use of the animal drugs is prohibited unless done so on the lawful order of a licensed veterinarian with the context of a valid veterinarian/client/patient relationship.

“Our investigation found that you administered the human drug Sulfamethoxazole and Trimethoprim tablets to a bull calf without the withdrawal period as stated in the approved labeling or any written directions by a licensed veterinarian,” FDA’s warning letter charged.

It said that “extralabel” use of the drug “resulted in illegal drug residue.”

The Ohio dairy has until the end of September to respond to FDA’s warning.

  • Jess C. Rajan, Ph.D.

    It appears from the FDA’s Warning Letter dated September 8, 2010 that the animal was slaughtered on or about January 8, 2010 and the USDA/FSIS collected and tested the tissue samples for the presence of veterinary drug residues.
    Then, after about six months (in August 2010), the FDA conducted an investigation of the source of this animal — a dairy operation.
    It is unclear whether there was any (timely) recall of food products derived from this bob veal calf.

  • Drugs for sick animals should always be used according to the regulations. Farmers have a responsibility to produce healthy food, whether it is milk, eggs, beef meat or veal. Drug residues are, rightly, not tolerated ever. Period!