FDA May Change Antibiotic Screening in Milk

January 22, 2010 08:50 AM

The Food and Drug Administration might be changing the drugs it screens for in raw milk from dairy farms, says Stephen Sundlof, Director of FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition.


Speaking at this week's Dairy Forum in Phoenix, Sundlof says a working group within FDA is a developing a risk profile of antibiotics commonly used on dairy farms. "We currently have a high focus on beta lactams (penicillins), … but we will probably increase testing of other drugs being used more frequently,” he says.


Dairy Today asked Sundlof if FDA is supportive of lowering the federal standard for somatic cell counts from 750,000 to 400,000/ml. His response: "I think the answer is yes. Our preference is to work within the process, and if SCCs need be lowered, we're certainly willing to work with industry."


Sundlof also says FDA is dramatically increasing its inspection of foreign food manufacturers. Historically, the agency had been doing less than 100 inspections per year. FDA hopes to ramp that up to 2,000 inspections annually, but that will still only cover 10% of plants world-wide. Key targets will be listeria in cheese from Mexico, synthetic milk from India, and melamine from China.

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