Antibiotic drug residues were too high in bob veal calves sold for slaughter recently by dairy farms in Wisconsin and Illinois.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) discovered the animal drug misuse during inspections of Veeser Farms at Casco, WI and Hunter Haven Farms Inc. at Pearl City, IL.

In an inspection from last Jan. 27 to  Feb. 16, FDA learned Veeser Farms sold a bob veal calf on or about Oct. 6, 2010 for slaughter, which was subjected to post-mortem testing by USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service.

Analysis of tissue samples showed the presence of 24.35 parts per million (ppm) of neomycin residue in the kidney. The FDA tolerance level  is 7.2 ppm for neomycin residues in kidney tissue.

With residue levels three times higher than allowed, the bob veal calf was considered to be adulterated, as defined by federal regulations.

A July 8 warning letter to the Wisconsin dairy said its use of neomycin sulfate was “extralabel” and outside the “lawful order of a licensed veterinarian.”

In a May 11-24 inspection, FDA found Hunter Haven Farms Inc. sold a bob veal calf on or about last Jan. 26 for slaughter as food.  Afterward, the animals’ tissues were tested by FSIS.

It found the presence of penicillin in the uncooked edible tissue at 0.33 ppm, when the tolerance level is 0.05 ppm.  

“Your exrtralabel use of penicillin resulted in an illegal drug residue, in violation of 21 C.F.R., Part 530, therefore you caused the drug to be unsafe…,” the June 29 warning letter says.

Both dairies were asked to respond to regional compliance officers with information on how violations will be corrected to prevent any recurrence.