Elevated copper in feeds: Valley View Milling sent FDA warning letter over alleged lack of plant safety controls

By Jane Byrne contact

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/zimmytws
© GettyImages/zimmytws

Related tags: Fda, hazard control, copper

Kansas, US based feed manufacturer, Valley View Milling, was sent a warning letter from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in May after an agency probe found evidence of ‘significant violations’ of feed regulations at its facility.

The FDA carried out an inspection of the company’s feed manufacturing facility in Seneca, Kansas, during December 2021.

That vetting exercise was conducted as a follow-up to complaints received by the Kansas Department of Agriculture (KDA) of copper poisoning from food for sheep resulting in the death or injury of several of the animals.

A sample analysis run by by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture Laboratory, on behalf of the KDA, on a medicated feed product for sheep produced by Valley View Milling found elevated levels of copper in the product, resulting in the feed manufacturer initiating a voluntary Class 1 recall of that feed product as well as two others for sheep.

Non-compliance

During its review of the Seneca facility, the FDA’s investigator said it found the producer to be non-compliant with several requirements under the US Current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP), Hazard Analysis, and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Food for Animals regulation.  

The agency’s letter ​alleged that while Valley View Milling has prerequisite programs to manage the hazard of excessive copper in feed products for sheep, and drug carryover in other feeds, for example, it had failed to implement them. 

The regulator’s probe revealed that on six occasions the feed maker produced food for sheep without following the correct procedures in relation to preventive controls.

Mycotoxin controls

The company's alleged limitations in assessing mycotoxin contamination risk in its feeds was also highlighted in the May 2022 letter sent by the FDA.

In its December 2021 response to the findings of the FDA’s inspection, Valley View Milling said that it was refining its system to better allow for the proper hazard analysis and risk-based preventive control of feeds and that it was in the process of retraining employees in such procedures.

The FDA noted though that it was unable to fully evaluate those corrective actions since the company did not provide supporting documentation to demonstrate whether those remedial efforts were completed or implemented. “We encourage you to provide documentation to show these changes have been made, once completed,”​ the regulator told the feed manufacturer.

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