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Drug Residue Testing in Milk Tanks to Begin This Month

Jan 07, 2011

IDFA continues to pursue answers for members regarding recent plans by the Food and Drug Administration's Center for Veterinary Medicine to test milk samples for animal drug residues. The agency is trying to determine if there is a correlation between illegal drug residues found in tissue samples of meat from culled dairy cows and the milk supply from these farms.

At this time, IDFA confirms that the sampling assignment, likely to begin in mid-January, will be completed by the end of September 2011. The samples will be collected at the individual farmer's bulk milk tank or direct load tanker. The sampling will be conducted by FDA consumer safety officers, and FDA will ask state regulatory agencies for assistance during the sampling.

Although FDA initially wanted to test milk samples that were being received at processing plants, IDFA and the National Milk Producers Federation asserted last month in a joint letter to CVM Director Bernadette Dunham that taking milk samples directly from the farmer's bulk milk tank is the safest and most economical testing method.

Testing Plan to Cover 26 Different Drug Residues

FDA has commissioned CVM to test milk samples from 900 farmers who have been previously identified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety Inspection Service's "Residue Violator Alert List" and "Same Source Supplier - Residue Violator List" as having had illegal drug residues in meat samples taken from culled dairy cows. The proposed testing plan covers 26 different drug residues, many of which are not currently covered under the Grade "A" Pasteurized Milk Ordinance (PMO).

The testing is a Compliance Program sampling assignment, which falls under FDA and CVM authority granted by the Food Drug and Cosmetics Act (FD&C), not the National Conference of Interstate Milk Shipments (NCIMS) and the Grade "A" Pasteurized Milk Ordinance (PMO). IDFA has requested information from FDA's Milk Safety Team about what actions, if any, a state regulatory official would need to take under the PMO if he is notified of positive drug residue in a farmer's bulk milk tank.

IDFA has been working closely with CVM and FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) to address member concerns regarding the targeted sampling and testing program.

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