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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Animal & Veterinary

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STRICT PRISON SENTENCE GIVEN TO OWNER OF ILLEGAL DAIRY OPERATION

FDA Veterinarian Newsletter September/October 2001 Volume XVI, No V

On July 9, 2001, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California sentenced Arie C. Van Leeuwen to six months in jail and one year of supervised release for his repeated probation violations. Van Leeuwen, a Modesto, California, dairy owner, had been found guilty by the same court in April 2000 of violating a 1995 court injunction against his sale of livestock and of a felony count of introducing adulterated food into interstate commerce.

This injunction was ordered after he was found to have sold cattle containing illegal levels of antibiotic residues that might pose a significant public health risk. Such antibiotic residues are a public health risk because they may cause allergic reactions and changes in human intestinal microflora, which can trigger detrimental effects such as diarrhea, vitamin deficiencies, and complications with drug therapies. These changes can also contribute to the development and proliferation of antibiotic-resistant strains of disease-causing bacteria in humans who eat or handle meat bearing antibiotic residues.

Despite this court injunction, Van Leeuwen repeatedly sold livestock under fictitious names until he was charged and sentenced in April 2000 to a four-year term of probation including 12 months of home confinement, financial penalties, and prohibitions from the sale or transportation of cattle for slaughter.

Nevertheless, Van Leeuwen continually violated the terms of this sentence through early 2001 leading his probation officer to file a petition with the Court. Four charges were cited:

  1. the failure to obey all laws;
  2. the failure to submit mandated monthly report forms;
  3. the failure to comply with home confinement conditions; and
  4. the transportation of animals to cattle auction.

Taking into consideration Van Leeuwen's previous conduct, the Court sentenced him to six months in prison followed by a year of supervised release that includes mandatory attendance in dairy management classes.