United States Files Consent Decree of Permanent Injunction Against Vermont Dairy Farm to Stop Distribution of Adulterated Food and Unlawful Administration of Veterinary Drugs
The Department of Justice filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of Vermont seeking a permanent injunction against the Correia Farm Limited Partnership d/b/a Wynsum Holsteins, a dairy farm located in West Addison, Vermont, and its co-owners Anthony and Barbara Correia and their son and limited partner Stephen Correia, to prevent violations of the federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FDCA).
According to the complaint, which was filed by the Department of Justice’s Consumer Protection Branch and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Vermont on behalf of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the farm and individual defendants violated the FDCA by unlawfully administering new animal drugs for uses not approved by the FDA and unlawfully selling livestock for slaughter and human consumption despite the presence of unsafe drug residues in the animals’ edible tissues. The complaint states that previous inspections of the farm by the FDA and lab tests performed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture found recurring FDCA violations of the same nature, which the defendants failed to correct despite FDA warnings.
“When farms fail to implement and maintain appropriate controls for the administration of antibiotics and other drugs to food-producing animals, they jeopardize public health,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “The Department of Justice will continue to work with the FDA to try to make sure that consumers are getting safe food.”
In conjunction with the filing of the complaint, the defendants have agreed to settle the litigation and be bound by a consent decree of permanent injunction that prohibits them from violating the FDCA. The consent decree subjects the defendants to heightened FDA oversight and requires them to cease all operations until the defendants implement a number of new record-keeping and operational protocols designed to ensure consumer safety. In order for the defendants to resume food production, the FDA first must determine that their manufacturing practices have come into compliance with the law. The proposed decree is currently awaiting judicial approval.
This matter was handled by Trial Attorney Megan Englehart of the Civil Division’s Consumer Protection Branch and Assistant U.S. Attorney Ben Weathers-Lowin of the District of Vermont, with assistance from Yen Hoang of the FDA’s Office of the Chief Counsel.
A complaint is merely a set of allegations that, if the case were to proceed to trial, the government would need to prove by a preponderance of the evidence.