CSPI demands FDA releases data on drug residues in raw milk

By Mark ASTLEY contact

- Last updated on GMT

CSPI demands FDA releases data on drug residues in raw milk

Related tags: Milk

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has rubbished suggestions by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) it is hiding data collected on animal drug residues in raw milk.

CSPI this week filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the FDA for data from the 2012 Center for Veterinary Medicines (CVM) Raw Milk Drug Residue Survey, which sought to established whether veterinary drugs were making their way in the US milk supply.

During the study, around 900 raw milk samples were collected between January 2012 and January 2013 from dairy farms with a recent cull dairy cow tissue violation.

These samples, plus another 900 collected from randomly selected dairy farms, were then tested for the 30 different antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory drugs.

Nearly two years since the last sample was taken, CSPI is anxious to see the results.

In a statement accompanying the FOIA request, David Plunkett, senior food safety attorney, CSPI, said the FDA "doesn’t get to hide information from the public by simply failing to write up a reported on what it thinks the data shows.”

“Consumers have a right to know what’s in their milk, and if there are dangerous drugs in it, they need to know what FDA is doing about that,”​ said Plunkett. “Why are those dairies that either can’t or won’t follow the rules allowed to continue to market milk?”

Commenting on the CSPI request, a FDA spokesperson told DairyReporter.com the agency is "actively working to finalize and release its Raw Milk Drug Residue Sampling Report.”

“Collecting, testing and analysing approximately 1,900 samples was a resource-intensive process,"​ said spokesperson, Megan Bensette. "It has always been the agency’s intention to report the findings of this effort in a transparent and comprehensive manner."

"The agency is unable to provide a specific release date at this time, but we are working actively to finalize and publish our report." 

According to CPSI, animal drug residues are found more frequently in dairy farm cows at slaughter houses. 

A CSPI review of 2011 drug testing reports found that cows from dairy farms accounted for 67% of all reported drug residue violations in slaughter facilities.

Data collated by the National Milk Drug Residue Database between October 1 and September 30 suggests, however, that the issue of drug residue in US milk is minimal.

The FDA-commissioned National Milk Drug Residue Database 2013, published in May 2014, said that of 3,761,500 samples analyzed by producer, processors, and at milk receiving facilities across the US, just 731 (0.019%) tested positive for animal drug residue.

None of the 40,435 pasteurized milk and milk product samples tested positive​. 

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