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Published November 22, 2009, 12:00 AM

FDA warns 2 Minnesota farms about drug misuse

MINNEAPOLIS – Federal officials have sent warning letters to two central Minnesota dairy farms for allegedly using high levels of antibiotics in cows.

By: Associated Press, INFORUM

MINNEAPOLIS – Federal officials have sent warning letters to two central Minnesota dairy farms for allegedly using high levels of antibiotics in cows.

The Star Tribune in Minneapolis reported that the farms were among 30 nationwide reprimanded so far this year for violating regulations.

J&L Dairy in Clarissa sent a cow to slaughter in March that was drugged with 129 times the amount of penicillin allowed. A cow from Evergreen Acres Dairy LLC in Paynesville had more than four times the allowed amount of an antibiotic. Further inspection found the farm had misused 10 other drugs.

Linda Korfe, who owns J&L Dairy with her husband, Jerry, said Saturday she hadn’t seen the warning and her husband was unavailable. But she said any drug misuse would be unintentional because they try to abide by regulations.

Keith Schaefer, the owner of Evergreen Acres Dairy, said he was shocked when the FDA notified him of the violation. The U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service had tested a cow he sent to slaughter on Sept. 16, 2008, and found high levels of the antibiotic neomycin.

In letters to both farms, the FDA wrote that “you hold animals under conditions that are so inadequate that medicated animals bearing potentially harmful drug residues are likely to enter the food supply.”

An FDA spokeswoman said the agency can’t comment on warning letters beyond what is publicly released.

Jeff Bender, director of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Animal Health and Food Safety, said antibiotics and other animal drugs have been used on dairy farms for decades, mostly to treat udder infections. Strict federal standards and testing processes were put in place to make sure the drugs didn’t remain in meat or milk of treated animals.

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