(CN) – A Florida animal-feed company was ordered Thursday to top selling products the Food and Drug Administration says were falsely labeled and adulterated.
U.S. District Judge Robin Rosenberg, of the federal court in Fort Pierce, Florida, issued the permanent injunction against the Syfrett Feed Company of Okeechobee, Florida, ordering it to stop manufacturing its medicated feed until an independent expert ensures the company complies with accepted practices.
The order comes three months after the Justice Department, at the request of the FDA, filed a complaint against Syfrett Feed and its officers for multiple violations of the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.
According to the complaint, 16 horses had to be euthanized in 2014 after eating the company’s horse pellet food.
“Animal feed manufacturers that fail to comply with labeling and good manufacturing requirements for medicated animal feeds jeopardize the health of animals,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Chad Readler in a written statement. “The Department of Justice and FDA will continue to work together to ensure that animal feed manufacturers produce safe medicated animal feed products.”
A representative of Syfrett Feed did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The company is represented by Stewart Fried of Olsson Frank Weeda Terman Matz in Washington, D.C.
Syfrett Feed, based in South Florida, manufactures an average of 69,000 tons of feed a year for cows, pigs, poultry and other animals. According to the complaint, 70 percent of its feeds are medicated.
Adding drugs to animal feed is a widespread practice intended to prevent or treat diseases in animals, including those eaten by people. The Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act covers medicated feed to ensure safety for the animals and humans ingesting animal products.
The government’s complaint alleged Syfrett Feed did not list the active drug used in certain feeds, omitted dosage instructions and neglected warning labels.
In April 2014, after hearing about horses falling ill, Syfrett Feed recalled its horse pellet food, but did not notify the FDA, which later gave the company several warnings.
During a subsequent inspection, company vice president Montes De Oca admitted she did not respond to the agency’s letters, the complaint said.
In addition to ceasing manufacturing until an inspection has been performed and confirms the company’s compliance with the Act, Syfrett Feed was ordered to allow unannounced inspections and lab testing of its products once its operations resume.
The company must also reimburse the FDA for its expenses, Judge Rosenberg said.
“We are glad this case is resolved and look forward to FDA’s inspection and having this matter behind us,” said John Dillard, attorney for Syfrett Feed and the individual defendants. “We remain committed to providing high quality and safe feeds for our customers.”