Tuesday, March 30, 2010

FDA Takes Action Against New York Dairy Farmer

A press release from the FDA:

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.

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  1. as a public health student who's a locavore and monitors this sort of thing, can you tell me how big this guy's farm is (or what the name is), roughly how many cattle he is, and why this story breaks the news w/all the heinous stuff that goes on in the fast food biz, let alone the CAFO biz.

    did this guy simply forget to tip his local official?

  2. Yes, there are a lot of heinous things that go unreported.

    According to Rochester's YNN, the farm in question has 700 cows, which, if I'm not mistaken, makes it a "medium sized CAFO"
    For more on the matter, see http://rochester.ynn.com/content/499994/dairy-farmer-cited-for-antibiotic-use-speaks-out/?ap=1&MP
    Also, EPA definitions of CAFOs: http://www.epa.gov/npdes/pubs/sector_table.pdf

    Also, it is worth noting that the warning letter from 2006 censors the name of the purchaser, but the farmer's name and address are posted all over the internet.

    The warning letter can be found here: http://www.fda.gov/ICECI/EnforcementActions/WarningLetters/2006/ucm076204.htm

  3. interesting point on the purchaser.

    thanks for the info and perspective.