High animal drug residues have been found in the edible tissues of bob veal calves sold for slaughter by a Vermont dairy.

Tissue samples taken after slaughter by the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service  identified desfuroylceftiofur in the muscle tissue at 2.68 parts per million (ppm), desfuroylceftiofur in the kidney tissue at 13.53 ppm, and flunixin in the liver tissue at 13.2 ppm.

A second bob veal calf returned an analysis of tissue samples collected from this animal identified the presence of desfuroylceftiofur in the kidney at 9.47 ppm, and the presence of flunixin in the liver tissue at 2.31 ppm.

The established tolerance for desfuroylceftiofur in the edible tissue of cattle is  0.4 ppm in the kidney and 1 ppm in the muscle.  There is no federally established tolerance for residues of flunixin in veal calves.

In a warning letter to the dairy, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said the presence of these drugs at these levels in the edible tissues of the animals causes the food to be considered adulterated, as defined by law.

“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 complete treatment records and you lack an adequate inventory system for determining the quantities of drugs used to medicate your animals.  Food from animals held under such conditions is adulterated.”

The letter also said the Vermont dairy operation misused the animal drugs Excenel RTU NADA 140-890 (ceftiofur hydrochloride) and Banamine NADA 101-479 (flunixin meglumine).


“Specifically, our investigation revealed that you did not use ceftiofur hydrochloride and flunixin meglumine as directed in their approved labeling,” the FDA stated.  So-called extralabel use of animal drugs is allowed only under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian in a valid vet/client/patient relationship.

The FDA said an April 18 response from the dairy was inadequate because it did not include documents, procedures, logs or other inventory records to prove that  steps have been taken to conduct treatments and provide drug inventories in accordance with the law.

The FDA’s New England district urged the dairy to get into compliance within 15 working days.  The warning letter was made public on July 12.