The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has decided to postpone a testing program that would have tested the milk from farms that have repeatedly sold cows for slaughter with drug residues. The FDA developed this testing program because it is concerned that antibiotics would end up in the food supply.
The testing program as it was could have forced farmers to dump millions of gallons of milk while they waited for results, reports the New York Times. It is reported that the testing program wasn’t planned properly and might lead to food recalls that may be avoided with a better testing plan.
The FDA believes that the nation’s milk supply is safe. But is concerned that the same poor management practices which led to the meat residues may also result in drug residues in milk, reports the New York Times.
The F.D.A. said that it would confer with the industry before deciding how to proceed, reports the New York Times.
For more information read: FDA compliance program to target 900 dairy producers and FDA delays implementation of antibiotic tissue testing program.
National Milk Producers Federation issued the following statement in regards to the New York Times article.
The dairy industry is committed to providing safe and wholesome milk to consumers. The nation's 55,000 dairy farmers have a strong track record of compliance with state and federal regulations, and support education and enforcement efforts to further strengthen that record.
It's important to clarify that the dairy industry is cooperating with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). We are pleased that the agency recently agreed to take additional time to collect input and review the proposed scope and methodology of the testing plan.
FDA has repeatedly expressed its confidence in the safety of the U.S. milk supply, stating, "Efforts such as this sampling assignment will ensure that any problem that may exist remains minor and is quickly mitigated by education and enforcement, as appropriate. FDA is targeting the few members (tissue residue violators) of an otherwise compliant industry in order to ensure that the public can have the utmost confidence in the dairy products they consume."
The U.S. milk industry has an exemplary record concerning management of antibiotics. Under a comprehensive program administered by the state regulatory authorities and overseen by FDA, the U.S. dairy industry conducts nearly 4 million tests each year to ensure that antibiotics are kept out of the milk supply. For example in 2009, only .028 percent tested positive, and in those very rare cases, the milk is not sold to the public.