Vidyya Medical News Service
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Volume 6 Issue 94 Published - 14:00 UTC 08:00 EST 3-Apr-2004 Next Update - 14:00 UTC 08:00 EST 4-Apr-2004
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FDA responds to the use of illegal hormone implants in veal calves

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced public safety measures to respond to the unapproved use at several establishments of growth-promoting hormone implants in non-ruminating veal calves presented for slaughter.

"The illegal use of hormones to promote growth in animals has no place in American farming," said Lester M. Crawford, D.V.M., Ph.D., Acting FDA Commissioner. "FDA is committed to the immediate cessation of this illegal activity, ensuring the safety of the U.S. food supply. It is important for the American consumer to know that the veal supply is safe."

FDA is issuing a guidance to the veal industry designed to maintain the safety of the food supply.

Inspectors from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety Inspection Service (USDA/FSIS) discovered suspected hormone implants in veal calves from three separate lots that arrived at two slaughter plants in Wisconsin. FDA and USDA/FSIS immediately began an investigation to determine the extent to which the growth-promoting hormone implants are being used illegally in the non-ruminating veal calf industry.

FDA defines veal calves to include any pre-ruminating calf, regardless of breed, intended to be, or having been, processed for veal. There are no FDA-approved growth-promoting hormone implants for veal calves, and the extra-label use of non-therapeutic new animal drugs such as these growth-promoting hormonal implants is illegal. As part of its investigation, FDA intends to take enforcement actions to ensure that this activity does not continue.

Under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, food from these veal calves that contain these unapproved drugs is adulterated.

Under the guidance being issued to the veal industry, calves that have been implanted with a hormone can be presented for slaughter 63 days after implantation if the implants were used in strict accordance with the label conditions established for adult cattle. If the conditions set out in the guidance document are followed, the food from these veal calves will not pose a risk to human health. This policy only applies to veal calves presented for slaughter prior to June 06, 2004.

FDA stresses that this policy is based on the premise that there will be no additional illegal use of these implants in veal calves.

Stephen F. Sundlof, D.V.M., Ph.D., the Director of FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine said that consumers should not be concerned if they have recently eaten veal.


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