An Indiana dairy farm signed a “Livestock Owner Certificate” promising buyers that animals it sold would be free of illegal levels of drug residues.  

Now, however, USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service has found that at least one cow the dairy sold for slaughter came with penicillin residues at higher levels than are allowed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

In a Sept. 29 warning letter, FDA said those facts add up to a violation of federal law by Newberry Farms LLC.   It said the Indiana dairy provided its buyer with a “false guaranty.”

FDA agents visited the dairy, located near Rensselaer, IN, in July.  The investigation focused on a cow that was sold Feb. 4 and slaughtered the next day.   FSIS took kidney tissue samples that returned penicillin levels of 0.1 parts per million (PPM).  The tolerance level is 0.05 PPM.

“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.

FDA said the dairy was failing to maintain complete treatment records for the animals under its control.   “Food from animals held under such conditions is adulterated within the meaning of (the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act).”

FDA asked Newberry Farms partner Joel Van Ravenswaay to respond within 15 working days with information on how the dairy farm plans to correct the violations.