A warning letter for the misuse of the widely used animal antibiotic Neomycin was sent on May 9 to Minnesota’s Saemrow Dairy in Waterville by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Invented more than 60 years ago, Neomycin comes in various forms — creams, lotions, and ointments — and is also administered orally.

In the warning letter, FDA said the Minnesota Department of Agriculture investigated the dairy operation on behalf of the federal agency last Jan. 6. The state’s investigation found the dairy offered animals for sale for slaughter as food that were considered adulterated under federal law.

A dairy cow consigned for slaughter as food by Saemrow last Sept. 17 was subjected to tissue sampling and analysis by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS).  Results showed the slaughtered dairy cow had Neomycin levels of 9.87 parts per million (PPM) in its kidney tissue.

The tolerance level for Neomycin in kidney tissues of cattle, set by federal regulations, is 7.2 PPM.

“The investigation also found that you hold animals under conditions that fail to prevent medicated animals bearing potentially harmful drug residues from entering the food supply,” the warning letter says.  “For example, you failed to maintain treatment records.”

FDA said food from animals held under such conditions are considered adulterated.

 “As a producer of animals offered for use as food, you are responsible for ensuring that your overall operation and the food you distribute are in compliance with the law,” FDA wrote the dairy.

FDA said the dairy should take prompt action to correct the violation and take steps to make sure it does not recur. The warning letter says failure to act within 15 working days by the dairy could lead to additional actions, including seizure and/or injunction.

The warning letter was signed by Gerald J. Berg, the FDA Minneapolis district director.