In January 2010, the U.S. Department of Agriculture released a notice to industry outlining changes to procedures for verifying compliance with European Union (EU) export requirements. The notice said USDA would require farm records to confirm that dairy products meet EU standards for somatic cell and standard plate counts. Silo or tanker test results would no longer be accepted.
IDFA and others challenged the agency's plans to implement the changes immediately, leading USDA to delay implementation. The Agricultural Marketing Service of USDA recently issued a draft certification program that aims to meet EU requirements while minimizing the impact on the U.S. dairy industry.
IDFA plans to submit comments and would like to hear what members think of the new draft. Members are encouraged to review the draft and send comments to Jon Gardner, IDFA vice president of regulatory and international affairs, by September 30.
A somatic cell count is a count of the white blood cells found in milk. The counts are used as a general gauge of the cow's well-being and stress level. Although the federal threshold in the United States is 750,000 cells per milliliter of milk, the strict standard set by the Pasteurized Milk Order to ensure milk safety, the national average based on the Dairy Herd Improvement Association (DHIA) and USDA Federal Milk Market records is around 300,000 cells. The EU threshold is set at 400,000 cells.
For more details, contact Gardner at firstname.lastname@example.org or John Kelly, IDFA manager for international affairs, email@example.com.
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