FDA, Justice Department Take Action Against California Calf Hauler

Jul 01, 2011, 16:06 ET from U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Defendants cited for illegal drug residues in veal calves sold for human food

SILVER SPRING, Md., July 1, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has announced that the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California, Sacramento Division, entered a consent decree of permanent injunction against John C. Virtue, doing business as Virtue Calves, and Shannon L. Virtue for selling veal calves for use as food that contain illegal drug residues in violation of federal law.

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The decree prevents the Virtues and Virtue Calves from purchasing or selling any animals for use as food unless and until they take certain actions to assure that animals with illegal drug residues do not enter the food supply.  

The decree, filed by the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Consumer Protection Litigation and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of California, requires defendants to keep written records to identify which animals have been medicated and to segregate medicated and non-medicated animals.  

Previous FDA inspections of defendants' operations found recurring violations of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act that defendants failed to correct.

Ingesting food containing excessive levels of antibiotics and other drugs can cause severe adverse reactions among the general population even at very low levels and can harm consumers who are sensitive to antibiotics.  

"The FDA continues to take strong enforcement actions against companies that put consumers' health at risk," said the FDA's Associate Commissioner for Regulatory Affairs, Dara A. Corrigan. "The actions we took are necessary to ensure that these foods don't contain illegal residues of drugs."  

If defendants violate the decree, the FDA may order them to cease selling animals for use as food and to take other corrective actions, including payment of fines for each day defendants fail to comply and for each animal sold in violation of the decree.  

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SOURCE U.S. Food and Drug Administration