17 Horses Euthanized Due to Contaminated Horse Feed: DOJ Suit stock photo

17 Horses Euthanized Due to Contaminated Horse Feed: Suit

Filed on behalf of FDA

The United States Department of Justice filed an enforcement action Wednesday against a Florida feed manufacturer after 17 horses were euthanized after allegedly eating contaminated horse feed.

A civil complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida names Syfrett Feed Company Inc. of Okeechobee; owner and President Charles Syfrett I; Vice President Melissa Montes De Oca, and its operations manager.

The defendants allegedly adulterated and misbranded medicated animal feed being sold. Doing so is a violation of the federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA).

Syfrett Feed issued a recall of its non-medicated horse pellet food in April 2014 when customers complained their horses became sick. According to the complaint, 15 horses were euthanized after eating the company’s horse feed. In September 2014, two more horses were euthanized after eating the pelleted horse feed.

The company failed to notify the FDA regarding its recall until May 2015, the suit notes. The company ultimately discontinued manufacturing horse feed.

The company’s medicated animal feeds allegedly failed to list the name of the active drug ingredients on the label. Additionally, it failed to include adequate instructions on the labels of the medicated feeds.

The complaint states the feed was not manufactured with current good manufacturing practices for medicated feeds.

The FDA conducted inspections of Syfrett Feed’s facility in January 2014, June 2015 and June 2016.

In 2014, following the inspection, FDA sent a Warning Letter to owner Syfrett I regarding the specific violations. In September 2015, FDA wrote to Syfrett I, stating that Syfrett Feed had not taken adequate measures to correct the violations. Syfrett Feed nor the ownership responded.

“Animal owners and caretakers must be able to have confidence that the feed they purchase is safe and properly labeled,” said Steven M. Solomon, D.V.M., M.P.H., director of the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine.

“It is the responsibility of feed manufacturers to have proper procedures in place and follow good manufacturing practices to ensure the safety of their products and the animals that consume them.”

Syfrett Feed manufactures animal feed for exotics, sheep, goats, pigs, and cattle.