Cow had 8,000% the legal limit of drug in edible tissue

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A beef cow-calf operation is on notice from the Food and Drug Administration because of the presence of three drugs in edible tissue samples collected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Testing showed residue of one drug at more than 8,000 percent the amount allowed by law.

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Officials from the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) inspected the Newcastle, NE, farm owned by Janine and Jerald Stewart, where the company produces animals offered for use as food. According to a June 28 warning letter recently made public by the FDA, an inspection of the farm on June 6, 8, and 9 revealed that, “the company holds animals under conditions that are so inadequate that medicated animals bearing potentially harmful drug residues are likely to enter the food supply.”

Furthermore, the inspection reported that the company offered an animal, for slaughter, for sale as food, that contained a new animal drug that is unsafe, according to the warning letter.

“A food is deemed to be adulterated if it has been held under insanitary conditions whereby it may have been rendered injurious to health”, in accordance with Act 21, as cited by the warning letter.

Most notably, USDA/FSIS analysis of tissue samples collected from a cow delivered and slaughtered on March 1 showed the following serious violations:

  •  USDA/FSIS analysis of tissue samples collected from this animal identified the presence of 23.0 ppm of Oxytetracycline in the kidney. FDA has established a tolerance of 12 ppm for residues of  Oxytetracycline in the edible tissues of cattle.
  • USDA/FSIS analysis of tissue samples collected from this animal identified the presence of 10.395 ppm of Desfuroylceftiofur in the kidney. FDA has established a tolerance of 0.4 ppm for residues of Desfuroylceftiofur in the edible tissues of cattle.
  • USDA/FSIS analysis of tissue samples collected from this animal identified the presence of 10.2 ppm of Flunixin in the liver. FDA has established a tolerance of 0.125 ppm for residues of Flunixin in the edible tissues of cattle.

The FDA allows companies 15 working days to respond to warning letters. If companies fail to properly correct violations, legal action can result in seizure of products and injunctions stopping operations. FDA has not yet posted a closeout letter on the case.

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