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Dairy Overdosed Cows, Feds Say

SEATTLE (CN) - Rhody Dairy and its owner Jay De Jong overdosed cows with antibiotics and sold the cows' milk and meat throughout the West Coast, federal prosecutors say. The FDA believes the illegal practice can contribute to creating antibiotic-resistant strains of diseases in people who drink the milk or eat the meat.

FDA inspectors recorded violations on at least three visits to De Jong's dairy in Sumas, Wash., twice in 2010, according to the complaint.

De Jong has about 850 cows, 800 of them milk cows, at his dairy, "and sells Grade A milk and cows for slaughter and consumption."

Defendants are well aware that their practices violate the Act [21 U.S.C. § 331(u) and 21 U.S.C. § 360b(a)(4)(A)]," according to the complaint. "On numerous occasions" - as far back at 2004 - "FDA and USDA have warned defendants that their conduct violates the act and have emphasized the importance of complying with the law."

The FDA found excessive levels of several antibiotics in De Jong's cows, including tetracycline, flunixin, penicillin, and sulfadimethoxine, according to the complaint.

Prosecutors seek costs of the investigation and an injunction.

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