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District court orders Sebeka dairy farm and owners to stop distributing adulterated meat in interstate commerce

A federal court enjoined Todd and Patty Meech Dairy Farm and its co-owners from introducing adulterated meat into interstate commerce pending required remedial action, the Department of Justice announced Monday.

The U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota entered a consent decree of permanent injunction against the Meech Dairy Farm, located in Sebeka and its co-owners Todd Meech and Patty Meech. The consent decree settles a complaint filed by the Department alleging violations of the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, and it requires the defendants to implement specific steps to ensure consumer safety before they can resume introducing specific food — animals and their edible tissue, into interstate commerce. In particular, the decree requires defendants to establish and implement a quarantine or segregation system that ensures ready distinction between medicated and unmedicated animals and that prevents defendants from selling or delivering for food slaughter any animals with illegal new animal drug residues in their edible tissues.

The Department filed a complaint in the District of Minnesota on Feb. 23, at the request of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). According to the complaint, the Meech Dairy Farm has approximately 500 cattle, including approximately 400 dairy cows, and sells cows for slaughter for use as food. The complaint alleged that defendants failed to abide by laws designed to protect consumers from consuming food that contained new animal drugs above legal limits. According to the complaint, lab testing by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) detected above-tolerance drug residue in the liver of one of defendant's cows sold for slaughter. The complaint alleged that a FDA inspection confirmed that the defendants did not record information regarding administered dosage, administration route, withdrawal time for meat, or the usable date for meat.

High levels of new animal drugs in animals' edible tissues poses a significant public health risk. For example, consumers of edible animal tissues who are susceptible to antibiotics may experience severe allergic reactions as a result of ingesting food containing antibiotic levels above established tolerances.