Every week it seems there are one or two dairy farms retiring animals that turn out to have too much of some drug in their system at a level that is not allowed in human food.
But it’s been awhile since one little bob veal calf turned up with as much in its system as an animal sold by the Myron J. Diller Farm near Carlisle, PA. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) subjected the Diller Farm to an investigation last Aug. 25-26.
It found Diller Farm offered for sale an animal for slaughter as human food that was adulterated because of animal drugs in its system. The bob veal calf was slaughtered and USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service took tissue samples from it.
FSIS found the bob veal calf was one juiced little animal. Here’s a summary in parts per million (ppm) of what it had in its system, compared to tolerance levels established by FDA:
DRUG LEVELS TISSUE TOLERANCE
Neomycin 16.36-ppm Kidney 7.2 ppm
Sulfadimethoxin 1.511 ppm Liver 0.1 ppm
Sulfadimethoxin 1.21 ppm Muscle 0.1 ppm
These tolerances do not apply to the use of Neomycin 200 (neomycin sulfate ANADA 200-379) and Albon Bolus (sulfadimethoxine NADA 031-715) in veal calves (pre-ruminating calves), according to FDA.
It said that means the presence of these drugs in the tissues from this animal caused the food to be adulterated under the law.
Neomycin and Sulfadimethoxin are antibiotics, and their presence in human food could make them less effective in treating infections from pathogens, including those spread by foodborne iullnesses.
FDA’s investigation found that Diller Farm held “animals under conditions that are so inadequate that medicated animals bearing potentially harmful drug residues are likely to enter the food supply.”
In a Dec. 1 warning letter to Diller, FDA said the farm failed to maintain any treatment records for its animals.
“We also found that you adulterated the new animal drugs Neomycin 200 (neomycin sulfate ANADA 200-379) and Albon Bolus (sulfadimethoxine NADA 031-715),” the warning letter says. “Specifically, our investigation revealed that you did not use Neomycin 200, and Albon Bolus as directed by their approved labeling. Use of these drugs in this manner is an extralabel use.”
So-called “extralabel” use of the animal drugs is permitted only by a lawful order of a licensed veterinarian within the context of a valid veterinarian/client/patient relationship, according to FDA.
FDA said Neomycin 200, and Albon Bolus were administered to the bob veal calf outside the supervision of any licensed vet, which violates the law and makes the meat adulterated.
“In addition, you adulterated the animal feed (milk replacer) within the meaning of section 501(a)(6), 21 U.S.C. § 351(a)(6) when you added neomycin to milk replacer and you failed to use the medicated feed in conformance with its approved labeling,” the warning letter added.
This also caused the medicated feed to be unsafe. Diller was given 15 working days to respond to the warning letter.