The warning letters published last week by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) dealt with cows, seafood, sprouts and juice. Five dairies and a feedlot were cited for illegal drug residues. A Colon, MI, dairy owned by Merlin R. and Mary J. Yoder was warned about selling a cow in November 2014 for slaughter as food. FDA stated that tests conducted by the Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) identified the presence of gentamicin in the animal’s kidney tissue and 1.38 ppm tilmicosin in the liver. FDA WarningFDA has established a tolerance of 1.2 ppm for residues of tilmicosin in the liver tissues of cattle, but there is no acceptable level of residue associated with the use of this drug in female dairy cattle 20 months of age or older, and FDA has not established a tolerance for residues of gentamicin in the edible tissues of cattle, the letter stated. Dominguez Farms of Mesquite, NM, sold a dairy cow in January 2015, and 0.192 ppm of sulfadimethoxine was found in its liver tissue, that letter stated. FDA has established a tolerance of 0.1 ppm sulfadimethoxine in the uncooked edible tissues of cattle. Masselink Dairy Farm of Middleville, MI, sold a dairy cow in June 2014, and 8.42 ppm desfuroylceftiofur, a marker residue for ceftiofur, was found in its kidney tissue, the agency’s letter noted. FDA has established a tolerance of 0.4 ppm for residues of ceftiofur in the kidney tissue of cattle. R and D Adams of Randolph, NY, sold a dairy cow in June 2014, and 0.195 ppm of flunixin residue was found in its liver, according to FDA. The agency has established a tolerance of 0.125 ppm for residues of flunixin in the liver (target tissue) of cattle. Cabaniss Dairy of Stephens, GA, sold two dairy cows in September 2014 which were found to have 9.71 ppm and 4.12 ppm desfuroylceftiofur, respectively, in their kidney tissue, the warning letter stated. “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,” FDA wrote to each dairy. Livestock Investors Inc., a feedlot in Summerfield, TX, sold a cow in October 2014 which had 0.054 ppm of penicillin in its kidney tissue. FDA has established a tolerance of 0.05 ppm for residues of penicillin in the uncooked edible tissues of cattle. For each of the six operations sent warning letters, FDA stated that the presence of the drugs in the animal tissues caused the food to be adulterated. Seafood processing facility Seamus LLC, located in Manassas, VA, was cited for “serious violations” of the seafood Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) regulation. FDA stated that the company failed to have a HACCP plan for its frozen vacuum-packaged, cooked, ready-to-eat eel kabayaki products to control the food safety hazards of pathogen growth and toxin formation, including Clostridium botulinum growth and toxin formation and undeclared allergens. While inspecting KJ3 Inc. of Tacoma, WA, a sprouting facility doing business as Rainier Sprouts, FDA found “insanitary conditions and practices that render your mung bean and soybean sprouts adulterated.” Conditions that the agency stated the company has failed to adequately address included condensate observed dripping from the ceiling directly above a hand wash sink, rodent excreta pellets observed throughout the operation, and residues and gouges observed on conveyor equipment. And Vital Juice Company of Seattle, WA, was warned about “serious violations” of the juice HACCP regulation, causing many of the company’s 100-percent juices to be adulterated, FDA stated. The company’s HACCP plan referenced critical limits that had not been validated to achieve a 5-log reduction of the pertinent microorganisms, FDA’s letter noted. The plan for “Fresh Squeezed and Cold-Pressed Fruit and Vegetable Juices” failed to identify the blending/filling step as a critical control point and to list the pH of 4.6 at this step as a critical limit to control Clostridium botulinum. According to FDA, Vital Juice also failed to “monitor for protection of food, food packaging material, and food contact surfaces from adulteration with contaminants, or the proper labeling, storage and use of toxic compounds” and to “maintain sanitation standard operating procedure records to document monitoring the eight key areas of sanitation between October 1, 2014, and November 5, 2014.” In each letter, FDA requested that the companies provide written responses detailing steps taken to bring the facilities into compliance with food-safety laws and regulations, to correct violations cited in the letters, and to prevent their recurrence. Recipients of these warning letters have 15 working days from receipt to outline specific steps they have taken to come into compliance with the law.