Hugh Byron, a retired dairy farmer, holds some of the medicine and a syringe that he says he formerly used to treat his cows on his farm in Hillsboro, Kentucky November 13, 2014. Picture taken November 13. REUTERS/John Sommers II
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It is one of the most potent antibiotics used by U.S. cattle and dairy farmers, the key component in the top-selling drug line of Zoetis, the world's largest animal health company.The U.S. Food and Drug Administration cautioned in 2012 that ceftiofur could pose a "high public health risk," in part because the drug belongs to a class of antibiotics considered critically important in human medicine.The stakes are especially high because the drug is part of a crucial class of antibiotics called cephalosporins.In the case of milk, if a cow takes penicillin, the farmer must discard all the milk produced for at least two days and as many as 15 days after the drug is last given.
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