As consumers become more interested and involved in the farm to fork process, many agriculture producers find their work becoming more closely monitored and facing tougher quality assurance standards.
Milk is perhaps one of the most heavily regulated food products, to prevent the emergence of resistant bacteria and protect consumers who may have antibiotic allergies.
State regulatory agencies have the responsibility of inspection and sampling of milk via the FDA’s Grade A Pasteurized Milk Ordinance (PMO). The PMO requires that tankers which pickup bulk milk test for at least 4 to 6 specific beta-lactam drugs. Beta-lactam drugs include penicillin, ampicillin, amoxicillin, cloxacillin, cephapirin and ceftiofur, and are the most heavily used drugs on dairies. They are not, however, the only drug classes used on dairies with residue issues. Other drug classes are not often tested for.
The tests used for these routine screenings include the BetaStar, Charm, Delvotest and SNAP tests.
What’s in store for 2012?
FDA Random Sampling
In efforts to more accurately measure whether drug residues are a problem in the milk supply and to what extent, the FDA is initiating a milk sampling survey. This initiative will begin this year and will take two sets of samples. 900 bulk tank samples will be taken from farms that are on the violator list for tissue residues. Another 900 milk samples will be taken randomly from herds that are not on the violator list. Both sets of milk samples will be blind samples and will not be able to be linked back to the farm.
Dean Foods Cracks Down
As a reflection of the FDA’s new enforcement efforts, Dean Foods, starting January 1, may begin subjecting milk loads to tests for drugs outside of the beta-lactam class. Any milk that tests positive will be rejected, and the state regulatory agency will take further action.
Residue violations are often the product of treated cows accidentally being milked into the bulk tank or not waiting the proper withhold time before allowing a cow to go back into the bulk tank. There are 3 basic principles for avoiding residues; proper diagnosis, record keeping and following established protocols.
Remember to work with your ANIMART representative or veterinarian to ensure your farm has proper protocols in place for disease treatments.