Veal drug tests called key to milk safety

May 4, 2011 at 6:54 PM   |   0 comments

WASHINGTON, May 4 (UPI) -- A dairy industry-backed move to limit drug testing of milk threatens Americans' health, critics say.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest Wednesday urged the Food and Drug Administration to reject a proposal by the National Conference on Interstate Milk Shipments to exclude tests of veal as a basis for investigating improperly administered drugs at dairy farms.

On Tuesday, the conference, which includes state regulators and industry representatives but no consumer voices, approved a proposal from the National Milk Producers Federation to delete the words "and veal" from a list of techniques the FDA may use to detect drug residues in the milk supply.

The center says the change could expose the public to dangerous drugs or antibiotic-resistant bacteria in milk and dairy products.

Illegal drug residues in veal tissues can indicate misuse of drugs elsewhere on dairy farms, the group says.

The Agriculture Department's Residue Violator Alert List reported 17 different drugs in 735 positive tissue samples from veal calves last year, including the antibiotic gentamicin, which is banned for cattle.

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