Source: Western United Dairymen Weekly Update
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) has decided to delay implementation of a limited, supplementary compliance sampling program to test for antibiotic residues in milk from farms that have already had tissue residue violations in market-bound meat from dairy cows.
FDA decided to delay implementation of the program to allow more time to gather comments and input from all industry stakeholders.
Dr. Annette Whiteford, State Veterinarian for the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), made the announcement Jan. 21 while appearing before Western United Dairymen’s (WUD) board of directors. WUD is working closely with CDFA to provide comments to FDA about the proposed sampling program.
“We are pleased that FDA is listening to our concerns and gathering more information before moving forward with this program,” WUD President Jamie Bledsoe said. “California dairy producers are firmly committed to the appropriate use of antibiotics to prevent residues from occurring in milk or dairy beef sent to market.”
Dr. Whiteford noted that the FDA actions indicated the agency had decided, “Let’s determine first how big the problem is with antibiotic residues and then how that might translate into showing up in milk.”
Once the magnitude of the problem is determined, FDA will be prepared to move forward with a regulatory compliance program, she said. “FDA is clearly concerned about the number of positive residue test results,” said Dr. Whiteford. “They will continue to bring attention to residue violations.”
WUD participated last week in a conference call with FDA, facilitated by Dr. Whiteford, to gather information on the proposed program and provide industry comments. The focus of interest is dairy producers who have been found to have had a tissue residue violation in one or more dairy cull cows in the past three years.
The agency has indicated it will target a subset of 900 dairy producers from a pool of about 1,800 that had been previously identified.
Producers have expressed concern that testing has the potential to disrupt the flow of milk to market and cause serious repercussions for local economies as well as dairy exports.