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Dairy farmer barred from selling cows for slaughter

A Wyoming County dairy farmer cited by authorities for selling cows that contained illegal residues of antibiotics has been ordered to stop offering the animals for slaughter until he complies with federal law.

U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara entered a consent decree of permanent injunction Thursday against Jerald P. Schumacher, the owner of a dairy farm that sells its cows to an auction yard in Pavilion to be slaughtered for human consumption.

Schumacher sold cows for slaughter for at least 10 years with residues of the antibiotics penicillin and sulfadimethoxine in the animals' tissue, according to a complaint by the Food and Drug Administration.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture cited Schumacher six times in the past 10 years for having cows sold for slaughter with drug residues in the beef, according to a report from the FDA. The FDA issued a warning letter in 2006 about such violations, the agency said, and the farm was most recently inspected between Oct. 6 and 29. Schumacher then was given a written report of the alleged violations, the FDA said.

Schumacher also violated the law by failing to keep adequate records of which cows were medicated, according to the complaint.

"The sale of animals for animal-derived human food products that contain illegal levels of animal drugs poses a significant public health risk," Bernadette Dunham, director of the FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine, said in a statement.

Schumacher did not return a call Friday night seeking comment.

Food animals in the United States -- such as chickens, pigs and cattle -- are fed antibiotics to prevent disease and promote growth. But many experts say overuse and misuse of the drugs poses a danger to the animals and humans by encouraging the development of bacterial infections resistant to antibiotics.

e-mail: citydesk@buffnews.com

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