FSAI report highlights problem of antibiotic residues in milk

Antibiotic residues in milk remain a problem for the dairy sector, according to a new report from the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI).

It follows confirmation that one liquid milk producer, who had been found to have supplied antibiotic contaminated milk on at least six occasions in 2013, had not received a follow-up advisory visit by Department of Agriculture veterinary staff.

Such a follow up is a requirement of the current food safety regulations and the incidents were deemed by the FSAI to be a serious breach of the communication structures put in place between the Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine, liquid milk processors and farmers.

These issues came to light during a national FSAI audit of liquid milk processing plants carried out in 2013/’14. In addition, the herd owner was visited by the milk purchaser but was not delisted as an approved supplier.

The FSAI has confirmed that where milk tests positive for antibiotic residues, it is not allowed to enter the human food chain. The authority has also been informed that penalties were applied to the farmer highlighted in its liquid milk audit report.

Commenting on this matter a Department of Agriculture spokesperson said that the primary responsibility for ensuring compliance with the observation of withdrawal periods rests with individual producer.

“Supplies from producers are subject to regular checks by processors. When a positive result is identified, additional self monitoring checks and controls are applied by processors in respect of milk supplied, which include that no  milk is accepted until a negative result.

“These additional checks are carried out for up to six months after recommencement of supply. The controls applied by the processor are subject to regular oversight by the Department of Agriculture. On occasions where multiple positives are identified in respect of a source during follow up testing, these herds are subject to follow up on-farm inspection by the Department.”