Milk Testing Argued over by the Dairy Industry and the Food and Drug Administration

Milk Testing Argued over by the Dairy Industry and the Food and Drug Administration

02/23/2011

Every year, hundreds of older dairy cows that are bound for the slaughterhouse are found by federal inspectors to contain illegal levels of antibiotics. Worried that the antibiotics might contaminate the milk Americans drink, the Food and Drug Administration expressed their intention to begin a series of tests on the milk from farms.

The target of the testing are the farms that had repeatedly sold cows found to be tainted by the drug residue.

However, the plan of the FDA met strong protests fro the dairy industry. They said that such measure could potentially force farmers to unnecessarily dump several million gallons of milk while waiting for the results of the test. Both state regulators and dairy industry officials have said that the testing program was ill-conceived, and could also lead to expensive recalls.

The FDA has postponed the testing for now. Even so, the two parties are engaged right now in a debate on how much danger the antibiotics pose.

According to John Wilson, senior vice president of the Dairy Farmers of America, “What has been served up, up to this point, by Food and Drug has been potentially very damaging to innocent dairy farmers.” He also believes that the milk that America consumes daily was safe and there is little reason to believe that the slaughterhouse findings would be the same in milk supply tests.

On the part of food safety advocates, they said that the preliminary findings of the FDA have raised questions about possible excessive use of antibiotics in livestock. Caroline Smith DeWaal, a food safety director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, “Consumers certainly don’t want to be taking small amounts of drugs every time they drink milk.”

WRITTEN BY:

blakeh@wellsdrew.com