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The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act

Dairy Pipeline: January 1996

by Tom L. Bailey
Dairy Production Medicine
Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine
Virginia Tech

The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act requires that all new animal drugs be approved by the FDA. It is illegal to use a drug in an animal in a way other than label directions. The use of an approved animal drug based on labeled directions (type of animal, medical conditions, route of administration, withdrawal, milk discard time, etc.) ensures that food from those treated animals will not contain illegal drug residues. Live animals are considered unprocessed food and FDA will enforce the food provision of the ACT. Therefore, persons involved in raising, handling, transporting, and marketing food producing animals are to establish systems to ensure that animal drugs are used properly and to prevent illegal drug residues.

Mastitis treatments are the number one cause of contaminated milk and meat residues from our cull dairy cows. Take precautions when administering these medications to your animals. The 5-point guidance below can help you avoid illegal residues and enforcement action by the FDA. (1) Properly identify and keep track of medicated animals. (2) Keep a system of medication/treatment records that identifies the animal(s) treated, the date(s) of treatment, the drug(s) administrated, who administrated the drug(s), the amount administered, and the withdrawal time for milk and slaughter. (3) Properly store, label, and account for all animal drug products and medicated feeds. (4) Obtain and use veterinary prescription drugs only under a valid veterinarian-client-patient relationship. (5) Educate all individuals who medicate animals on the procedures used to accomplish points 1 through 4 above. Establish 1 or 2 persons only on each operation to administer medications. Remember, we are NOT dairy farmers, we are food producers. Let's ensure the quality of our product and the safety of the food we produce.

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