On Friday, Iowa milk will begin to be screened for aflatoxin, according to state Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey. The precautionary testing will continue indefinitely.
“We were well aware that aflatoxin could be an issue this year due to the historic drought conditions,” Northey said in a press release. “Now that farmers are starting to harvest silage, and corn in some cases, it is appropriate to begin this screening process to make sure our milk supply remains safe.”
Under the order, milk processors will be required to screen all Grade A and Grade B farm bulk milk pickup tankers.
According to Radio Iowa, this is the first statewide screening since 1988.
“We have no indication whatsoever that there has been any milk found (with aflatoxin).... this was a safe guard, almost an abundance of caution,” Steve Moline of the Ag Department said in a report available here.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has established guidelines for aflatoxin levels, a type of mold prevalent in drought-stressed corn, in animal feed. But due to extreme drought conditions plaguing the state, Iowa officials asked for corn with higher levels of aflatoxin to be allowed if mixed with other corn. The agency has granted the state exemption in the past.