The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has filed an injunction in collaboration with the Department of Justice and the United States District Court for the District of Vermont against Lawson Farm of Irasburg, Vermont, its owner, Robert Lawson, and its manager, George R. Lawson. This drastic action was taken after evidence of illegal drug remnants were found in cows slated for human consumption in blatant violation of federal laws. This is not the first time that the farm has been found to have illegally treated animals. In 2005, the company was cited for similar violations.

The owner and manager of the farm are now prevented, by deferral mandate, from buying or selling any animals for human consumption. The company was found to be treating animals with antibiotics, like penicillin, that are illegal to use in animals for human food. Evidence of the antibiotics and other chemicals was found in slaughtered animals upon inspection. Having high concentrations of certain antibiotics in animals can lead to adverse reactions in humans who may have allergies and also may act as antibiotics after the animal products are eaten.

"The FDA continues to take strong enforcement actions against companies that put consumers' health at risk," said Melinda K. Plaisier, the FDA's acting associate commissioner for regulatory affairs, said in a press statement. "The actions we took are necessary to ensure that foods do not contain illegal residues of drugs and are safe for consumers."

The company had also not kept good records of which animals received antibiotic treatments and what dosages they had been given, and had been found to be using the antibiotics without a prescription from a veterinarian, as required by federal law.

The company received a warning letter from the FDA in 2005 stating similar concerns and advisement on what to do to rectify the situation. That letter mentioned many of the above concerns, in addition to taking issue with the conditions in which the animals were housed. The Justice Department released a statement that in June saying that it had filed suit in the U.S. District Court for Vermont against Lawson Farm, Robert Lawson, George R. Lawson, and Lonnie A. Griffin.

"When farms fail to maintain appropriate controls concerning the medication of food-producing animals, they jeopardize the public health," said Stuart F. Delery, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department's Civil Division, in the statement. "We are committed to making sure food producers have put in place the procedures and documentation necessary to help ensure that consumers receive safe foods for their family table."