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UPDATE: On November 1, 2011, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan enjoined Scenic View Dairy, L.L.C., and its owner, Michael D. Geerlings of Hamilton, Michigan, from selling cows for slaughter until the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) certifies that Scenic View Dairy is in compliance with federal law and the requirements of the court’s injunction. Even after achieving compliance, Scenic View Dairy must maintain record-keeping systems and take other measures to ensure that the farm does not continue to sell cows with illegal drug residues for human consumption. FDA may order Scenic View Dairy to, among other things, cease the sale of cows if it fails to comply with the court’s order and federal law, violations which could also result in civil or criminal penalties. A link to the Department of Justice’s press release is below.

http://www.justice.gov/usao/miw/press/2011_1107_ScenicViewDairy.pdf

FDA PRESS RELEASE

For Immediate Release: Aug. 31, 2010
Media Inquiries: FDA Office of Media Affairs, 301-796-4540, fdaoma@fda.hhs.gov

Consumer Inquiries: 888-INFO-FDA

FDA seeks court order against Michigan dairy
Government alleges cattle sold for human consumption contained illegal drug residues

The U.S. Department of Justice, on behalf of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, has filed a complaint for permanent injunction against Scenic View Dairy of Hamilton, Mich., its president, and three of its managers alleging that they sold dairy cows for human consumption that contained illegal drug residues in edible tissues.

The complaint, filed Aug. 31, 2010, in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan, also alleges that the defendants, despite numerous warnings, sold for slaughter dairy cows that were treated with drugs contrary to the drugs’ FDA-approved labeling and without a valid veterinary prescription authorizing such use.

The complaint alleges that violations occurred from 2002 through 2010 at Scenic View Dairy’s three farms, located in Fennville, Freeport, and Gowen, Mich. Company president Michael D. Geerlings, Fennville farm manager Mark A. Lucas, Freeport farm manager Michael J. Van Dam, and Gowen farm manager Jeremy A. Portell were all named in the complaint.

Between 2001 and 2010, the FDA notified the defendants of its inspectional findings on at least eight occasions, and USDA sent Scenic View at least 11 letters regarding illegal tissue residues. The complaint alleges that the defendants continue to violate the law despite these warnings.

The complaint is based, in part, upon illegal neomycin, penicillin, and sulfadimethoxine drug residues that the USDA found in the edible tissue of dairy cows that defendants had offered for sale for human consumption.

Neomycin, penicillin, and sulfadimethoxine are antibiotics. The sale of animals for human food that contain illegal levels of drugs can lead to the development of bacteria that resist antibiotics and can cause reactions in people with drug allergies. FDA regulations for animal drugs include a specified time to withdraw an animal from treatment prior to slaughter so that a drug is depleted from edible tissue to levels safe for humans.

Scenic View Dairy buys cows primarily from New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Vermont and sells to slaughterhouses in other states, including Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

For more information:

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