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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Animal & Veterinary

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Regulatory Action Taken Against Dairy for Drug Residue Problems

FDA Veterinarian Newsletter March/April 2005 Volume XX, No II

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of California has filed a Consent Decree of Permanent Injunction against Alvin L. Souza, an individual doing business as Alvin Souza Dairy, Tulare, CA, that will require the defendant to implement systems to prevent illegal residues of drugs in animals sent to slaughter.

The Consent Decree, filed on April 13, 2005, requires the defendant to implement a means of identifying animals treated with animal drugs and not suitable for slaughter and segregating or quarantining them, keeping medication and treatment records, accounting for drug use, and following label directions when using drugs on the animals.

The Consent Decree was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California.

The U.S. Attorney’s office took the case to court after the defendant’s animals were found to have numerous illegal drug residues caused by the failure of Mr. Souza and the firm to maintain controls to prevent illegal residues in animals delivered for slaughter.

Although the dairy is not currently selling cattle for slaughter, the firm is engaged in custom heifer-raising operations and bull calf-raising operations. The firm could have more than 5,000 bull and heifer calves at any given time under its control. The business maintains a milking herd of approximately 1,500 animals, and produces approximately 11,000 gallons of milk daily for human consumption.

Leading up to the injunction, investigators reported 13 illegal tissue residues in edible tissues of seven animals sampled by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service between December 1997 and January 2004. Inspectors found illegal residues of antibiotics such as penicillin, gentamicin, neomycin, and sulfadimethoxine. Some of the drug residues were above tolerance levels. For other drugs, though, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not established a tolerance level, so any detectable residue of these drugs is a violation of the regulations. FDA’s San Francisco District conducted the investigation that led to this Consent Decree. CVM’s Division of Compliance and FDA’s Office of the Chief Counsel, and the United States Department of Justice’s Office of Consumer Litigation, were responsible for processing and filing the case.