A Maryland veal calf dealer has agreed to shut down as part of a consent decree of permanent injunction, which he entered into after being charged with repeatedly violating federal law and U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulations by selling veal calves with illegal drug residues in their edible tissues.

The consent decree against William F. Nickle of North East, Md., was signed Feb. 19, 2010, by U.S. District Court Judge J. Frederick Motz in Baltimore.

Nickle may reopen his operation only if he gives the FDA 90 days notice and sets up systems that will bring him into compliance with the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, FDA regulations, and other terms of the decree.

Among those terms, Nickle must identify each of his animals by tag number, keep medical records for each animal for sale or slaughter, segregate medicated animals from those not medicated, and notify purchasers of his animals’ medication history. He also may not resume operations until he receives written approval from the FDA.

Nickle’s business sold about 1,200 calves a year. The federal government’s complaint was based, in part, on Nickle’s illegal administration of flunixin, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug. Illegal residues of the drug were found by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in calves Nickle sold for human consumption. In recent years, Nickle had received numerous oral and written warnings from both the FDA and the USDA.

The sale of animals for human food that may contain illegal levels of drugs is a concern because of the potential for adverse effects on human health. The FDA requirements for animal drugs include a specified time to withdraw an animal from treatment prior to slaughter so that a drug is depleted from edible tissue to levels safe for humans.

Source: U.S. Food and Drug Administration