Thirty Farms in Violation of FDA Antibiotic Mandate

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By Rachel Stockton

A total of thirty dairy farms throughout the nation have been given warning letters by the FDA regarding the misuse of antibiotics this year.

Antibiotics have been used on dairy farms for many years to fight udder infections.  The Food and Drug Administration put a cap on how much penicillin is allowable in an effort to keep the drug out of the milk and/or edible tissue of the cow.  Infected beef products could be devastating for people who are allergic to penicillin.  Medical experts are also concerned that penicillin in the food supply could cause resistance to bacteria in humans.

Two of the latest violations occurred in Minnesota.  The USDA, along with state agencies randomly drug tests cattle that are taken to slaughter.  If they see a cow that is sick, they pull them out to test them for drug residue.  If a cow has more antibiotics than is allowable, the FDA is promptly notified.

A cow from one of the Minnesota farm was said to have 129 times the allowable limit of penicillin; it was discovered that the other farm had misused a total of ten drugs.

Two New York farms were also sent letters from the FDA, which charged them both with providing unsanitary conditions and dispensing antibiotics to mitigate infections caused by the environment.   Additionally, the federal agency found their record keeping inadequate.  And finally, one of the farms had given drugs to their animals without the supervision of a veterinarian. 

According to the FDA, 70% of antibiotics in the US are given to farm animals.  Many times they are given to enhance growth and/or for some other off label use. 

Farms notified by the FDA have two weeks to respond with a “plan” to remedy the situation.  Animals with high levels of drug residue are held back from sale until the toxins dissipate.

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