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Got Milk? Got Drugs? Got Both?: State Responds After Idaho Dairy Cattle Test Positive in Food Safety Tests

"When test results released last year by the United States
Department of Agriculture's Food Safety Inspection Service
showed extremely high levels of drugs and antibiotics in
cattle from dairies across the nation, including in Idaho,
the federal agency announced it would launch a series of
tests to address a potential problem.

"Yet records of the testing are inaccessible and records
of their strategy meeting don't exist.

"The presence of drug or antibiotic residues exceeding a
safe or tolerable level, set by the FDA, is illegal.

"USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service, violations of
drug residues occur three times as often in tissues from
dairy cows than in beef cows.

"In 2010, the FSIS reported blatant violations in the U.S.
food chain.

"A survey of dairy cows sent to slaughter for beef
discovered illegal amounts of drug residue in the
livers and kidneys of cows that otherwise would have
been turned into hamburger or T-bones. In other words,
hundreds of positive samples of drug residues were found
in tissues of animals destined for the nation's meat supply.

"The drugs ranged from the familiar (penicillin) to the
obscure (tilmicosin, an anti-microbial used for respiratory
disease). FSIS even detected gentamicin. Two federal
veterinarians confirmed that gentamicin can remain for up
to three years in a cow's organs.

"According to the FSIS, approximately 20,000 samples of
tissue from cattle, swine, sheep and goats are tested
each year. In 2010, more than 1,100 violations were
traced to dairy cows that had been sent to slaughter
and 40 of the violations were tracked to Idaho.
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