An Ohio TV station has kept the drug-residue issue on the front burner.

In a report last week, WBNS-TV of Columbus said over the past three years Ohio dairy farms were caught sending milk with excessive levels of antibiotics to processing plants 180 times. To see the report, click here.

The issue will attract even more attention with the expected announcement of a U.S. Food and Drug Administration testing program. The FDA had planned to roll out the program earlier this year, but postponed it to get more input from industry stakeholders, including dairy cooperatives, producer organizations, state regulatory officials and veterinarians.

“FDA is working on refining its protocols based on its stakeholder meetings that were held earlier this year,” Jaime Jonker, vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs for the National Milk Producers Federation, told Dairy Herd Management. “At some time, they will have a revised protocol that they will share with stakeholders.”  

Jonker said he did not know when that would occur.

At one point, FDA had considered focusing its attention on farms that have had drug-residue violations in cull cows. The idea was that those farms may be the most likely to have milk residues, as well. But it is uncertain whether that strategy will show up in the final plan.

WBNS-TV did visit a 300-cow dairy and quoted the owner as saying, "Milk safety is our greatest concern here." The station noted that most Ohio dairy farms follow the rules very carefully. Any milk found to have antibiotic residues is dumped, it reported. A representative of the Ohio Department of Agriculture said “there has not been an antibiotic found in a finished milk product in at least 15 years.”