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March 26, 2010

FDA: Dairy farmer sold cows with illegal drug residues

What do we do with used up dairy cows?  We eat them. But they aren't supposed to become meat if they're full of antibiotics.  FDA News Release:

FDA Takes Action Against New York Dairy Farmer
Proprietor sold animals with illegal drug residues in violation of federal law

A New York State dairy farmer cited by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for selling cows that had illegal residues of antibiotics was ordered by the U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York this week to stop offering the animals for slaughter until he complies with federal law.

Federal Judge Richard J. Arcara entered a consent decree of permanent injunction on March 25 against Jerald P. Schumacher, the sole proprietor of a farm in Wyoming, N.Y., which sells its dairy cattle to an auction yard in Pavilion, N.Y., to be slaughtered for human consumption.

The FDA complaint said Schumacher has sold cows for slaughter for at least 10 years with residues of the antibiotics penicillin and sulfadimethoxine in the animals’ edible tissue. The agency also said he illegally gave the cows higher-than-allowed dosages.

"The sale of animals for animal-derived human food products that contain illegal levels of animal drugs poses a significant public health risk," said Bernadette Dunham, D.V.M., Ph.D, director of FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine. "FDA will continue to take action against producers who violate federal laws intended to protect the health of the public and of livestock."

The farm was most recently inspected between Oct. 6 and Oct. 21, 2009, and Schumacher was given a written report detailing the violations. After FDA issued a warning letter in 2006 requiring him to abide by the law, violations continued.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture, which has the responsibility for detecting drug residues in beef sold for human consumption, cited Schumacher six times in the past 10 years.

Schumacher also violated the law by failing to keep adequate records of which cows were medicated, according to the complaint.

Post by Donna M. Byrne, Professor of Law, William Mitchell College of Law

March 26, 2010 in food safety | Permalink

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